And then there were two. Tonight in San Antonio, we will crown a national champion in a game that features two red-hot teams. Michigan has won 14 straight (11-3 against the spread), while Villanova went 9-0 in March — winning all nine games by double digits. Nova will attempt to become the ninth program in college basketball history to win at least three titles, while Michigan will try to buck the trend of ugly Big Ten national championship performances.
Since seeding began in 1985, 11 Big Ten teams have played for a national championship, with only three coming away victorious. Shockingly, of those 11 teams, only the 2000 Michigan State championship team covered the spread (1-10 ATS overall). Since that Sparty title, the Big ten has lost six consecutive national championships straight up and ATS.
Michigan itself is actually responsible for four of those 11 national championship appearances. The Wolverines failed to cover the spread in any of the four games, including each of the three they were listed as an underdog. They did win a title in 1989, but didn’t cover as the favorite in an 80-79 victory over Seton Hall.
Meanwhile, Villanova will look to join an exclusive club of national champions that finished the tournament 6-0 ATS. Only five teams have accomplished that feat over the past 20 years:
- 2006 Florida
- 2009 North Carolina
- 2014 Connecticut
- 2015 Duke
- 2016 Villanova
Yes, Villanova could win its second national championship in the past three years with a perfect 12-0 ATS record. A potential legendary run in the betting world. (I also can’t verify it with 100% certainty, but I believe the 1985 Villanova championship team also went 6-0 ATS).
A Villanova cover tonight would also mark the fourth time in the last five years that a national champion finished 6-0 ATS in the tournament. That’s remarkable, considering it only happened twice between 1997-2013.
In our final betting guide of the season, we will analyze the matchups on both ends of the floor in great detail. And as always, we will also take a look at key trends, interesting nuggets and any sharp action. At the conclusion, our experts will offer their favorite bets for Monday’s national championship.
Don’t forget to check back here up until tip for insight into last-minute sharp action, significant line moves and any other betting market info.
Let’s get to it!
All info as of late Sunday evening.
#3 Michigan vs. #1 Villanova -6.5 | O/U: 145
San Antonio, TX | 9:20 p.m. ET on CBS
By Jordan Majewski
When Michigan has the Ball
Michigan’s offense is predicated on forward Moe Wagner’s ability to do basically anything and everything in pick-and-roll. That’s critical, as Villanova’s most glaring defensive weakness is containing PnR, particularly with forwards Omari Spellman and Eric Paschall. Per Synergy, Villanova’s defense collectively grades out in just the 46th percentile nationally against “rollers” in pick-and-roll sets, which ultimately means Wagner could have a productive day in Michigan’s half-court offense.