The Final Four is set and both the Oklahoma Sooners and the Syracuse Orange have been installed as NCAAB odds underdogs in their respective games this weekend. Can either or both teams manage to upset the favored duo of Villanova and North Carolina? Well, based on our analysis below, there are more than enough reasons to believe in the underdogs…
Syracuse and Oklahoma Can Be Final Four Betting Upsets
Reasons to Pick #2 Oklahoma over #2 Villanova in the Final Four
Of the two underdogs in the Final Four, the Sooners offer the most formidable pick for an upset. For starters, the Sooners already demolished the Villanova Wildcats when the two teams met on December 7th, beating Villanova by 23 points in a lopsided affair that saw Buddy Hield and gang score nail 14 three-pointers. And making matters worse, Hield is easily the most impressive NCAA tournament player since Stephen Curry, averaging 29.3 points per game in the Dance this year and is coming off a 37-point effort in Oklahoma’s dominant Elite Eight win over the top- seed Oregon. If Hield continues to impress, Villanova will be hard-done in the quest to stop the runaway Player of the Year candidate. And even if the otherworldly Hield is reduced to a mere mortal by Nova’s fierce defense, Jordan Woodard (13.0 PPG), Isaiah Cousins (12.8 PPG) and Ryan Spangler (10.3 PPG) are more than capable of picking up the slack. In the first meeting between the two teams at Pearl Harbor, Hield was held to “just” 18 points, but Cousins flirted with a triple-double, posting an impressive line of 19 points, 10 assists and six rebounds to fuel the impressive 78-55 win over the Wildcats. Meanwhile, Oklahoma’s defense that was rather erratic in the regular season has seemingly gotten it act right recently, having held three of its four opponents to less than 70 points. With the star players continuing to shine and Oklahoma’s defense continuing to play to its strengths, Oklahoma should be a team as good as any to upset the beatable Wildcats.
Upset NCAAB Pick: Oklahoma (+2)
Reasons to Pick #10 Syracuse over #1 North Carolina in Final Four
North Carolina beat the Orange twice when they met in the regular season, so it’s no surprise that the Tar Heels are strongly favored to go 3-0 against Syracuse this season. That said, Syracuse is the first-ever 10th seed in the NCAA Tournament to make the Final Four and the team has been absolutely impressive in its March Madness run. Not to mention, Syracuse has handled all kinds of opponents in the Tournament, drubbing a good Dayton team by 19 points in the first round, trouncing giant-killer Middle Tennessee by 25 points, beating Gonzaga and its explosive offense, before recently stunning top-seeded Virginia and its league-best defense in arguably the most memorable come-back upset win of the season. And above everything, the Orange have been good at forcing turnovers off opponents yet limiting their own mistakes. For example, the Orange forced 13 UVA turnovers yet gave away just 7 turnovers in the Elite Eight. If this battled-tested Orange team can find their shooting stroke and then dominate the boards against the Tar Heels, they’ll certainly have a chance to not only hang tight to UNC but also deliver another improbable upset, as they’ve done repeatedly throughout the tournament so far.
Upset NCAAB Pick: Syracuse (+9)