Final Four Instant Betting Reaction: Major Clash of Styles in Virginia vs. Auburn
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Bryce Brown
Virginia vs. Auburn will pit the nation’s slowest team against one that loves to run and shoot 3’s. If you love clashes of style, this game is for you.
Our college basketball betting experts are already diving into the Final Four matchup and give their early analysis and betting picks below.
Be sure to stay tuned to our college basketball page for complete coverage of the Final Four throughout the week.
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#1 Virginia vs. #5 Auburn Final Four Betting Odds
- Spread: Virginia -5.5
- Over/Under: 130
- Date: April 6
- Time: 6:09 p.m. ET
- Location: Minneapolis, Minn.
- TV: CBS
Virginia vs. Auburn Instant Betting Reaction
Can Auburn’s Offense Stay This Hot?
Virginia’s pack-line defense (No. 5 in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency) is geared towards limiting dribble penetration into the lane, but it’s been susceptible from behind the arc, yielding the 104th-highest 3-point scoring rate. Purdue exposed that in the Elite Eight, shooting almost 44% from distance.
That’s not a once-off, either. Auburn boasts a pair of explosive guards — similar to Carsen Edwards — in Jared Harper and Bryce Brown. The backcourt duo combined for 50 points in their win over Kentucky on Sunday.
They lead Bruce Pearl’s perimeter attack, as the Tigers present the sixth-highest 3-point scoring rate (43.8%) in the country. This teams loves to run and shoot from anywhere.
Auburn has been more efficient with gang rebounding during the NCAA Tournament — it’s hung with both North Carolina and Kentucky on the glass to prove it.
Look for a similar result in the Final Four, speeding Virginia up and creating open 3-point looks in the process. — Eli Hershkovich
ATS Pick: Auburn
Pick to Advance: Auburn
UVA Offense Has Struggled Against Athletic Teams
While the Cavaliers own the second best-adjusted offensive efficiency rating, they’ve had problems finding open shots in key moments throughout the tournament. Virginia boasts the eighth best overall 3P percentage but is only shooting 29.9% (32 of 107) in those four games.
When the Cavaliers initiate their offense against man-to-man defenses, they do so off a baseline double stack. Junior Kyle Guy (15.2 ppg) looks for this 3P shot but has struggled to get to the basket against quicker and more athletic guards. Both Guy and backcourt mate Ty Jerome (13.3 ppg) combined for 49 of Virginia’s 80 points. Auburn’s dynamic guard duo of Jared Harper and Bryce Brown will limit Guy and Jerome’s ability to score.
The key to Virginia’s offense against Auburn will be forward De’Andre Hunter. The 6-foot-7 sophomore is a versatile scorer, averaging 14.9 points while shooting 42.4% from 3P. He will have a favorable matchup against Auburn, who will again be without 6-foot-8 Chuma Okeke after he tore his ACL. Hunter can drive to the basket against bigger defenders and post up smaller defenders.
Fellow big men Jack Salt (3.9 ppg) and Mamadi Diakite (7.5 ppg) are only effective on rebound putbacks and rolling to the basket off screens. The Cavaliers will also need bench production from Alabama transfer Braxton Key (5.8 ppg) who has played eight total points in the last two games but has the ability to provide instant offense. — Mike Randle
Over/Under Lean: Under 130
Pick to Advance: Auburn