March Madness 2024 Final Four NCAA Tournament Preview and Predictions

FairwayJay chips in college basketball Final Four coverage as UConn-Alabama and Purdue-NC State decide who will play for the national championship.

March Madness betting tips, opinions and leans for the Final Four games

Just three games remain in the college basketball season with the NCAA Tournament 2024 Final Four set to tip off this weekend at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, AZ. The two No. 1 seeds Connecticut and Purdue are big favorites and expected to meet in a classic clash Monday, April 8 in the national championship game. 

Final Four Odds

College basketball odds and futures from leading online sportsbooks refresh periodically and are subject to change. That includes on props and live betting, which is most popular during March Madness. All times Eastern.Final Four picks predictions

No. 1 Purdue (-9) vs. No. 11 North Carolina State | Total: 146.5 | 6:09 p.m. | TBS
No. 1 Connecticut (-12) vs. No. 4 Alabama | Total: 161 | 8:49 p.m. | TBS 

Monday's men's national championship game is at 6 p.m. CBS. 

Check out more Final Four coverage including adjusted, current odds to win as defending national champion UConn (-205) is a prohibitive favorite to win ahead of Purdue (+220), NC State (+1500) and Alabama (+1600) at BetOnline

Final Four Matchups, Stats And Picks

As you evaluate the matchups, odds and who can advance (and cover), recall my previous March Madness coverage where I noted that 20 of the last 21 National Champions have finished in the Top 20 in both offensive and defensive adjusted efficiency. Only UConn and Purdue remain who fit that profile, and UConn has gone from 11 to 4 defensively holding all four of their NCAA Tournament opponents to 58 points or less in this year's tournament.  

Connecticut (1, 4 off/def)
Purdue (2, 17)

Also, Fairways Forecast and Picks and Opinions went 3-0 in the Sweet Sixteen. But I don't have any picks, but just opinions or leans in the Final Four. 

Purdue (33-4) vs. NC State (26-14) 

The Boilermakers are shooting for their first college basketball national title after reaching their first Final Four under 19th year head coach Matt Painter. Purdue NC State predictionThe 7-foot-4 National Player of the Year Zach Edey can dominate this fortunate Wolfpack team after pouring in 40 points against a top defensive team in Tennessee in the Elite Eight. An elite 3-point shooting team (40.6%) compliments Edey's dominance inside, and Purdue's adjusted efficiency profile of No. 2 offense and No. 17 defense along with Painters coaching profile will dispatch of the Wolfpack. NC State was 0-4 in the NCAA Tournament previously under head coach Kevin Keatts until their current heater of four straight NCAAT wins preceded by five straight ACC Tournament wins. NC State Purcdue betting tipsNC State lost 14 times this season including 10 of their final 14 regular season games. As a No. 11 seed, they tied (6 way) for the highest seed to make the Final Four since 1979. None of the others made it to the championship game, and neither will NC State. Credit to the Wolpack and big man DJ Burns Jr., who has averaged more than 18 points per game and 67% FG shooting after averaging 12 PPG during the season. NC State's defense has held six straight opponents in the NCAA Tournament and last two games of the ACC Tournament to less than 40% FG shooting. That's not happening vs. Purdue. 

Opinion: Purdue

Connecticut (35-3) vs. Alabama (25-11)

What a run by Connecticut, again. A 6-0 SU/ATS sweep through last year's NCAA Tournament culminated in a national title. UCONN predictionNow the UConn Huskies are 4-0 SU/ATS in this year's tournament and 11-0 SU/10-1 ATS run going back to the end of the regular season. That includes beating all teams with winning records and coverging a spread of -8 points or more nine times. I prefer to look towards underdogs and find the value, especially with UConn on such a heater and bettors paying more tax as they continue to cover mostly big spreads. But this is the best team (again) in college basketball with their length, athleticism and versatility combining with a talented and well-coached collective and cohesive unit that has an elite stat profile. The 7-foot-2 sophomore  Donovan Clingan as a shot-blocker and rim protector along with first team All-American guard Tristen Newton give the Huskies a pair of future NBA players who have helped lead UCONN's dominance. Alabama does have the highest scoring team in the country (90.6 PPG) led by elite shooter and dynamic scoring guard Mark Sears. But the 'Tides defensive profile, even while playing at a very fast pace, is not good enough and ranks outside the top 100 nationally. Alabama UCONN free pickNate Oats has continued to scheme and get the most out of his team while raising the bar at Alabama and previously at Buffalo, where he was the Bulls assistant coach under current UConn coach Dan Hurley before he moved into the head coaching position at Buffalo. But 'Bama is not nearly as talented as UConn, however, I'm not interested in laying these points with the Huskies even though they have won all four tournament games by double-digits. The online sportsbooks are not in the business of giving money away, but they have with UConn as bettors continue to cash in. I won't mind seeing another Connecticut blowout, as I'll be looking Purdue's way as 'Dog in the national title game.

Lean: Alabama

Edey Stats

Zach Edey has attempted 424 free throws entering Saturday's Final Four. That's the most by any D1 player in a single season in 54 years, and just 20 shy of the all-time record set by Furman's Frank Selvy in 1954. Nearly one-third of Edey's 25 points per game have come via the charity stripe. 

BetOnline has set the Zach Edey free throw prop at 11 (over -150) vs. NC State. 

Connecticut has won a record 10 straight NCAA Tournament games by double-digits. Since the start of last year's NCAA Tournament, the Huskies have a margin of victory of +23.1 points per game. That's currently just ahead of the 1967-68 UCLA Bruins (+22.5) for the best margin over a two-year span all-time. Dominance indeed.

Check back for more stats, odds, updates and information you can bet on ahead of the national championship game. 

FairwayJay is recognized as a leading sports betting analyst providing insights and information you can bet on here at OSGAFollow him on X (Twitter) @FairwayJay for more sports betting news and insights. 

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