2010 Final Four Odds, Free Predictions, & Analysis

Last Updated: March 30th, 2010 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)
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List of Final Four Odds & Latest Odds to Win The NCAA Tournament Can Be Found Below!

Last weekend, it was once again proven that the madness of March can claim any team at any moment. Only two of the so-called “favorites” to win the NCAA Tournament remain going into the Final Four in Indianapolis, as the Duke Blue Devils opened up as +600 favorites, while the West Virginia Mountaineers began at +800. You could’ve found the Michigan State Spartans at +5000 and the Butler Bulldogs at +7500 at the outset of the tourney as well. Here’s our look at the last four teams standing with their odds and our predictions for how they’ll fare in the Final Four.

Duke Blue Devils

Odds: +145 at 5Dimes
Analysis: If you were told at the beginning of March Madness that there would only be one #1 seed make it to the Final Four, the Blue Devils almost certainly would’ve been your final guess. However, thanks to a relatively weak bracket and some strong defense, the Dookies have not only gone 4-0 SU to make it to Lucas Oil Stadium, but they’ve also gone a perfect 4-0 ATS to boot.
Keys to Victory: The Dookies absolutely know that they need their Big Three to keep on scoring and scoring at will to win it all. G Jon Scheyer, F Kyle Singler, and G Nolan Smith are averaging a combined 53.2 points per game this year, but Singler is coming off of the first game of his career in which he was held without a field (0/10 vs. Baylor). It’s not the defense that needs to keep up, it’s the offense, and Coach K probably knows it.
The Last Word: It hasn’t been a good thing to be a favorite in this tournament, and it’s going to be absolutely no different for the Blue Devils. West Virginia provides a type of test that hasn’t been seen this year by this team, and the ACC Champs are going to succumb to the defensive pressure and bow out one step away from the championship game.

Butler Bulldogs

Odds: +415 at 5Dimes
Analysis: Not only has Cinderella found the perfect fitting slipper, but now she gets to go to the ball that will played essentially on her home court. The Bulldogs have clearly been the mid-major that has stood out above the rest all season long, and now, they’re going to the Final Four, which will be played just seven miles from their campus. Butler is riding a 24 game winning streak, the longest in the nation by a country mile.
Keys to Victory: Defense brought Butler here, and defense is going to have to be what takes it to the next level. The Bulldogs have held their foes to just 59.6 points this season, the best mark of the four teams remaining. Don’t just say that those great numbers are thanks to a lack of competition, though. Ask Kansas State and Syracuse, both of which were averaging right around 80 points per game this year, just how tough it is to play these guys. The Dogs held each of them under 60 points.
The Last Word: Even though Butler is going to be favored against Michigan State, the party is probably over for it. The Bulldogs are cute and clearly have the ability to beat the best teams in the nation (after all, they already have a win against Ohio State to boot this year), but teams like this just don’t win National Championships. It’ll be a hard fought battle, but the clock will ultimately strike midnight on this Cinderella on Saturday.

Michigan State Spartans

Odds: +475 at 5Dimes
Analysis: Losing G Kalin Lucas has only seemed to make this team stronger. HC Tom Izzo knows what he’s doing, as demonstrated by the fact that he has been to six Final Fours in the L/12 seasons. This probably isn’t his most talented team, but it is a team that has truly come together for a common goal in spite of the fact that its leading scorer has been shelved with an Achilles tendon rupture.
Keys to Victory: It’s hard to just say that there is one key for this team. The Spartans don’t have a ton of size or speed, but what they do have is a lot of heart and effort. They’re also going to be the best coached side in this tournament. They’ll have a chance because of Izzo, and as long as they remain charismatic and show the ability to nail clutch shots and win games down the stretch, they’ll be a tough team to oust no matter who the foe really is.
The Last Word: Sparty came up just short last season, and unfortunately for them, that’s probably going to be the way that it works this year as well. MSU’s heart can carry it past an equally gritty Butler team, but it’s just not going to have enough no matter who the foe is on the other side of the bracket. Always a bridesmaid, but never a bride. That’s going to be the theme once again in East Lansing.

West Virginia Mountaineers

Odds: +250 at 5Dimes
Analysis: They say that surviving in the Big East is a great preparation for the NCAA Tournament. Though that didn’t hold true for a ton of teams from this conference this year, it did for the champs of the league, as the Mountaineers have used the momentum from their Big East Tournament triumph to lead them into the Final Four in Indianapolis.
Keys to Victory: The bigs for the Mountaineers have had a great tournament, and they’re going to have to continue that way to take care of Duke and either Michigan State or Butler to win it all. F Da’Sean Butler, F Kevin Jones, and F Devin Ebanks are combining to score 43.1 points and bring in 21.7 rebounds per night, both of which are incredibly hefty numbers. Even though the backcourt play is clearly going to be missing something if G Darryl Bryant can’t play, the frontcourt should be good enough for this team to beat anyone in the country.
The Last Word: Athleticism is the key to beating Duke, and that’s what is going to carry the Mountaineers to the NCAA Tournament Final. At that point, there’s going to be a relatively undersized team that is waiting in the wings. If West Virginia can successfully knock off the powerful Wildcats, who are stacked both on the inside and on the outside, it can certainly take care of any of these teams that are left standing to win the entire tournament. Look for the blue and gold to be cutting down the nets on Monday night.

Current March Madness Odds @ 5Dimes Sportsbook(as of 3/30/10):
(Get a HUGE 50% Bonus at 5Dimes Sportsbook When Using This Link)

Duke +145
West Virginia +250
Butler +415
Michigan State +475

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Posted in NCAA Basketball - Last Updated on Tuesday, March 30th, 2010 @ 12:01 pm (EST)
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