Wilson: My Live Betting Strategy for the Final Four

Wilson: My Live Betting Strategy for the Final Four article feature image

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Chris Beard

  • Live betting is a great way to get good numbers when betting college basketball and many other sports if you can detect patterns in scoring.
  • Collin Wilson shares some of his general strategies for live betting and explains how he's attacking the Final Four games this weekend.

It’s a term I frequently throw around — “I’m passing pregame, but I’m going to bet it live.”

No matter if its Patriots -7.5 when they led the Super Bowl, Rafa Nadal -2000 with a 1-0 set lead or Virginia +5.5 if the Cavaliers trail in the second half, there is always a live betting option that can secure key numbers. This can be a huge advantage for gamblers that can predict the momentum shift correctly in any sport, or pick up on patterns of certain teams.

There can be downfalls to live betting — from having a coach that cannot make adjustments, a player injury and the extra juice some books charge. Bet limits generally sit around a dime, and once you get money down on one side, your book may lock you out from betting the other side.

Most sports books do not enjoy exposure, but creating a middle by having money on both sides can be thrilling.  This is the exact approach I will take with the Final Four, and with a bit of research, we can predict when and where to strike.

Auburn-Virginia Live Betting Strategy

Point Spread: Virginia -5.5, -250 moneyline

The price I’m looking to buy Virginia is even money or anything plus points. Auburn has the ability to catch fire from deep by unloading 3-pointers on most possessions. A flurry of Tigers baskets may be enough to generate a decent moneyline price on the Cavaliers.

You won’t get Virginia at even money if it trails 7-2 in the first two minutes — books aren’t going to offer up that kind of price so quick — so be patient. If the right number never comes, you don’t have to live bet the game.

But the buying price on Virginia will come somewhat early if tournament history is an indicator. The Cavs trailed three of their four opponents through the first 10 minutes of play, including Purdue by 7 and Gardner Webb by 10. In the one game Virginia held a lead after 10 minutes, a slow paced 10-7 game was underway against Oregon.

In contrast, Auburn led North Carolina and almost doubled Kansas’ points after the first 10 minutes. If there is a weakness for Auburn as it relates to the spread, it is the final moments of the game where fatigue from so much running and shooting, or coaching, may be a factor.

Through four tournament games, Auburn holds a -12 points differential in the last 10 minutes.

The live betting script is clear — look for Auburn to win the first 10 minutes and Virginia to win the last 10 minutes.

Live Betting the UVA-Auburn Total

Total: Full Game 131, First Half 60.5

Oddsmakers are expecting a 31-29 type first half and 68-63 type finish in U.S. Bank Stadium, based on the point spread and over/under. There is no denying an adjustment is needed with the sight lines from a players shot to a basket with a backdrop of NFL stadium seating.

As mentioned on the latest Action Colleges podcast, overs have hit in 7 of the last 8 Final Four games, indicating oddsmakers have made their own adjustments. This still does not negate the fact the first few possessions of the game will be tricky for long distance shooters.

Virginia has a striking contrast in offensive efficiency in the first half of play. Through their first four tournament games, the Cavaliers have a point differential of +30 in the second 10 minutes of the first half versus the first 10 minutes. Like Auburn, this is also a team capable of getting hot from 3 for stretches.

KenPom has this total lined at 134 and I agree this number goes over the total, but I will be looking to live bet the over after the with about 11 minutes left in the first half to get a better number.

Michigan State-Texas Tech Spread

Point Spread: Michigan State -2.5

This should be a coin flip game, and as I mentioned on the Action Colleges podcast, I will be looking for +3 or better on both sides. The question is when will that come for each team? Using tournament history, it is easy to see why Chris Beard is the hottest coach in the nation.

While first halves have been lukewarm for the Red Raiders, the Texas Tech defense in the first 10 minutes of the second half has been outstanding. Through their first four tournament games, the Red Raiders hold a scoring differential of +43 in the first 10 minutes after halftime.

Chris Beard has been a wizard with halftime adjustments, putting games away before the final minutes. As for a live betting script, I would attempt to get Texas Tech at +5 or better in the first half.

Michigan State has issues with depth and any foul trouble will magnify those problems. Tom Izzo and the Spartans will need plenty of cushion at halftime against a rising star coach with one of the best defenses in the nation.

Texas Tech vs. Michigan State Total

Total: Full Game 132.5, First Half 61.5

The advanced stats show Michigan State is generally pretty steady in scoring pace through each tournament game.

It is a completely different story on the Texas Tech side, which has a defense capable of long, dominant stretches. Texas Tech held Michigan and Buffalo under 10 points for two respective 10-minute stretches earlier in the tournament.

From a live betting standpoint, the total should dip after the first 10 minutes before a steady increase towards the end of the first half. That could get you a total around 120 to hit the over.

If you are looking to get on both sides, consider an under pregame and a full game over at the 10 minute mark of both the first and second half.

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