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Virginia vs. Texas Tech Betting Picks: Our Staff’s 6 Favorite Plays for 2019 National Championship Game


Photo credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Virginia

  • Looking to bet the national championship game between Virginia and Texas Tech? Our experts have some thoughts.
  • Whether it's the total or a side, hopefully you'll find a play that piques your interest.

In a game of this magnitude, you’ll often get differing opinions. Is that how our staff is feeling for Virginia vs. Texas Tech in the national championship game?

Our college basketball experts are giving it one last go in the 2018-19 season and making arguments for their favorite plays in the national championship game. Let’s dive in.

Ken Barkley: Virginia -1

Texas Tech keeps getting more and more credit in the market and keeps blasting right on through those barriers. I’m actually ecstatic as a Virginia futures holder that Chris Beard won’t have much time to prepare, because his defensive game plans scare me to death.

I thought the Red Raiders number had overcorrected too much against Michigan State and it’s gone even further here. They are now dead even with a team that was historically great for much of the year. I have to believe we’ve gone too far, but I’ve been wrong on this team before.

Your best strategy is to probably live bet Texas Tech at the half, looking to take Virginia with 10 minutes left in the game because Beard’s halftime adjustments have been other-worldly. You’d have secured a juicy middle basically every game of the tournament by doing this.

Eli Hershkovich: Virginia-Texas Tech Under 118.5

The Red Raiders have the lowest Adjusted Defensive Efficiency in the history of KenPom era (2002-2019) while the Cavaliers have generated the fifth-rated defense in the country this season.

This national title game is positioned for a similar result to the 2011 UConn-Butler final, which saw a combined 94 points, as each of these teams are generating a below-average possession length to go along with their stellar defenses.

UVA averages the fewest possessions per game across Division I and loves to use the entire shot clock. Beyond the double bonus playing a crucial role or an overtime session, expect a final score within the 50s for each side.

Stuckey: Virginia Moneyline (-120)

We all know these teams extremely well by this point. Both are elite defensively and it wouldn’t surprise me to see either win. But from a pure numbers standpoint, I have to play Virginia.

This is a market overreaction to another fortunate Virginia win and another impressive Texas Tech cover and win. The line is right because it looks like people are betting Tech, but the lookahead line was Virginia -3.5 headed into the Final Four (yes, low limits) and I personally make it UVA -3.2.

Remember that the market closed Michigan State -2 against Texas Tech. This is implying that Sparty would be favored over UVA on a neutral court now. I just don’t think you can adjust this game more than a half point from what happened on Saturday.

Collin Wilson: First Half Under 54

While the full game under is close to the KenPom projection of 119, it is the first half under that I like even more. Virginia and Auburn had a first half total of just 59 points in a game that had a much faster pace than the national title game.

Texas Tech and Michigan State had their worst drought of scoring the last 10 minutes of the first half, getting just 14 total points up on the board. There will be plenty of jitters in the opening minutes of the national championship game.

Both teams will play a tight defense in the paint, forcing shots from more than 10 feet with little time left on the shotclock.

Mike Randle: Texas Tech +1

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

Texas Tech has been the far superior team throughout the tournament, defeating quality teams like Buffalo, Michigan, Gonzaga, and Michigan State by an average of 13.8 points per game. The Red Raiders are actually a better defensive team than the Hoos, ranking first in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency.

The only slight advantage the Cavaliers have is shooting beyond the arc, where Virginia ranks ninth at 39.3% as a team. But the Red Raiders perfected their 3P defense, holding Gonzaga and Michigan State to a combined 28% (14 of 50) from deep.

Better defense, better offense, and a much more dominant tournament performance gives Texas Tech their first national championship on Monday night.

Matthew Freedman: Virginia F Mamadi Diakite: Over 7.5 Points (-110)

The man in the middle of the Cavaliers offense, Diakite is just fourth on the team with 7.4 points on 21.7 minutes per game, and he scored only two points two days ago against Auburn.

He hardly inspires confidence with his recent performance.

But in the NCAA Tournament he’s averaged 33.6 minutes per game with at least 27 minutes in each contest. With his enhanced playing time, he’s put up 10.8 points per game.

In his nine games this year with 27-plus minutes, Diakite has averaged 10.2 points. I have him projected for 10.1.

I’d bet over 7.5 to -145.

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