Women’s Final Four Best Bets | 4 Early Picks for Iowa vs UConn, South Carolina vs NC State

Women’s Final Four Best Bets | 4 Early Picks for Iowa vs UConn, South Carolina vs NC State article feature image
Credit:

Matthew Holst/Getty Images. Pictured: Iowa’s Caitlin Clark.

And then there were four.

On one side of the bracket, Caitlin Clark and Iowa knocked off defending national champion LSU, while Paige Bueckers and UConn punched their ticket back to the Final Four with an impressive victory over freshman sensation JuJu Watkins and USC.

On the other side, Dawn Staley's South Carolina team survived a tight game against Indiana in the Sweet 16, but won by double digits in the other three games. Meanwhile, NC State has downed the top two seeds in its region in back-to-back games.

We have another pair of games waiting for us as the Final Four is set for Friday, April 5. So, let's dive into our top early bets, as discussed on the "Big Bets on Campus" podcast.


Women's Final Four Early Best Bets

The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college basketball betting staff is targeting for Friday's Women's Final Four games. Click on the team logos for any of the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.

GameTime (ET)Pick
7 p.m.
7 p.m.
9:30 p.m.
9:30 p.m.
Specific betting recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NCAAB Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.

NC State vs. South Carolina

Friday, April 6
7 p.m. ET
ESPN

NC State +11.5

By Dano Mataya

A Final Four double-digit underdog.

I know it's South Carolina, and the Gamecocks can turn it on at any point, but NC State is playing extremely well and guard play has been incredibly important throughout this tournament.

Plus, it's a revenge game for Saniya Rivers. I don't she left on bad terms, but it's still something.

I think this is just too many points for the pressure of a Final Four game. South Carolina has a lot of young players, so I think you have to take the points with NC State.

Pick: NC State +11.5


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Under 139.5

By Jim Turvey

I'm nervous to take either side of the spread here. I think it's a decent line. South Carolina is clearly a much better team, but we've seen time and again that NC State is that perfect team that makes a run every March.

The Wolfpack have a guard who is just absolutely red-hot right now. Aziaha James is shooting 57% from 3 in this tournament and 85% from the line. She's also taking more 3s and getting to the line more. She's playing out of her mind.

The team, as a whole, is up to 37% from 3, and is getting to the line four extra times per game during this tournament. For the tournament as a whole, the Pack have made 29 3s to 14 for their opposition and 69 free throws compared to 34 for their opponent.

Everything is screaming "regression," right? But we've seen these teams — especially with the big-game guards — go on runs that seem unsustainable and keep winning.

So, instead of backing a side, I'm looking at the under.

The under gives me a partial fade of that NC State offense.

I also think NC State matches up with South Carolina relatively well because it's a decent defensive-rebounding team. The Wolfpack are known for their guards, but they have the 12th-best defensive rebounding rate in the country, per Her Hoop Stats.

South Carolina relies heavily on second-chance points, and it's still going to get them. You're not going to stop Kamilla Cardoso on the boards.

But if you can even slow them down a little bit, which I think NC State can, there's a chance for this game to bog down a bit — especially in a tight, pressure situation like the Final Four.

I have this number a little lower anyway, so all of it is pointing toward the under.

Pick: Under 139.5



UConn vs. Iowa

Friday, April 6
9:30 p.m. ET
ESPN

Iowa -2.5

By Dano Mataya

I think it's hard to bet against Caitlin Clark in the Final Four, especially when she hasn't beaten UConn yet. Iowa lost to UConn in the Sweet 16 in Clark's freshman year and also last year in the regular season. She shot under 40% in both of those games and didn't really play well.

We're also probably overlooking what happened on Monday.

I know Paige Bueckers was absolutely phenomenal, but I don't think we're getting those types of minutes from Ice Brady. She was absolutely perfect in everything she needed to do against USC. Granted, I don't think USC played its best game by any means — UConn's defenders had a lot to do with that — but the Huskies also got positive minutes from Qadence Samuels.

This is a team that's been six-deep all year — maybe six-and-a-half when you count Brady and Samuels.

I can't not lean Iowa here.

I feel like UConn fans have to feel good after what they saw the Huskies do to USC. Aaliyah Edwards looks so good right now. Nika Muhl's defense was a master class on JuJu Watkins, and it can't be any worse than Hailey Van Lith against Clark.

This is an absolutely incredible matchup, but — like the USC game — I worry about the foul trouble and depth for UConn. I think the safe play is Iowa.

Pick: Iowa -2.5

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Iowa -2.5

By Jim Turvey

I'm also on Iowa here.

There were a couple of minor coaching malpractices on Monday. Whatever was going on with Hailey Van Lith against Iowa was a little strange. Why was she, while possibly being sick, being run out to guard Caitlin Clark one-on-one and going under screens? It didn't make a whole lot of sense.

In the other game, USC didn't attack when Nika Muhl and KK Arnold both had four fouls. This is a UConn team that goes six deep — maybe six-and-a-half. Why weren't the Trojans constantly attacking?

I don't think Clark and Lisa Bluder will show that same kind of grace if they can get UConn into foul trouble.

On the Iowa side, Molly Davis — who has been out for about a month — was such a key part of the team. She's been there since Day 1, but Sydney Affolter is really good. I've been pushing for more minutes for her for a long time now. Kate Martin is a great second player, but there's something about Affolter — the pressure she puts on the rim, the attitude. She's an absolute dog.

When she's on the court, it feels like Iowa has an extra edge. It's terrible that Davis is out, but Affolter is showing out in the tournament.

UConn hasn't played a game within five points this season. Paige Bueckers isn't going to shrink from the moment, but there are things you learn when you play in tight games. We've seen Clark at the end of tight games, and there are no worries there.

I think if this is a tight game, it goes to Iowa. If it's a tight whistle, it goes to Iowa.

The Hawkeyes don't have incredible depth, but they have bodies they can throw out there. For UConn, the bench gets short really quick.

It's hard to go against Iowa, and I think I like this more than the under in the other game.

Pick: Iowa -2.5

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