3 College Basketball Best Bets for the Final Four: Can NC State Slow Down Edey?

3 College Basketball Best Bets for the Final Four

Welcome to the 2024 NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four! For only the sixth time in tournament history, a No. 11 seed joined the fray as North Carolina State (26-14) punched their ticket by defeating ACC rival Duke. The Wolfpack face off against the No. 1 seed Purdue Boilermakers (33-4), a team – like NC State – that last made the Final Four appearance over 40 years ago.

The other side of the bracket features two teams with completely different histories. The No. 4 seed Alabama Crimson Tide (25-11) reached their first-ever NCAA Final Four with a victory over Clemson last weekend. Their opponent is a five-time NCAA champion in the No. 1 seed UConn Huskies (35-3), a team looking to repeat after last year’s title run.

With four diverse teams competing for the NCAA title, what should fans expect heading into one of the most exciting weekends of the men’s college basketball schedule? We’re here to cover both games and give bettors our top three bets for the NCAA Final Four.

Bet: North Carolina State +9.5 (-114 at FanDuel)

Purdue began the season as a top-10 team with Naismith Award winner Zach Edey returning for his senior season. Edey appears headed to back-to-back awards, a feat that would make him the first player since Ralph Sampson to accomplish this. After his 40-point, 16-rebound game against Tennessee in the Midwest Region final, Edey certainly can carry his team to a victory.

Although the Wolfpack have lost 14 games this season, only four losses have been by double-figures. Outside of a March 4 loss to Duke, NC State has been within nine points of every opponent since early-season lopsided losses.

While Purdue looks to be the better team, bettors should expect the Wolfpack to keep this game close until the final buzzer. An upset victory over Purdue isn’t out of the question either, making this one of the better wagers for the NCAA Final Four.

Bet: NC State-Purdue OVER 68.5 1st Half (-115 at Caesars)

One of the reasons Purdue achieved its greatest single-season win total this season is its fast start to games. The Boilermakers are scoring nearly 42 points in the first half this season, ranking sixth in the country in this category.

NC State is also scoring more than 35 points in the first half this season. However, the Wolfpack’s first-half totals for the NCAA Tournament have been far worse, scoring just over 31 points in their four NCAA Tournament games.

Expect both teams to be pumped for this game and produce a high-scoring first half in this first semifinal matchup. With neither team having played on this stage in the past four decades, the defense will be at a premium for the first 20 minutes of this contest.

Bet: Alabama-UConn UNDER 161.5 (-110 at FanDuel)

Alabama was the highest-scoring team in the NCAA this season, scoring 90.6 points per game. UConn can also light up the scoreboard, finishing the year 22nd in the country at 81.4 points per game.

Defense is a different story. The Huskies rank ninth in the country, holding opponents to a mere 63.3 points per game. Alabama ranks sixth – from the bottom. The Crimson Tide have allowed 81.1 points to opponents, finishing 346th out of 351 Division I schools.

Expect the Huskies to do their part and continue their stifling defense. Should UConn keep Alabama to under 70 points, that sub-70 mark would establish a new season-low scoring output for the Crimson Tide in this Final Four matchup.

Ernie Horn

Sports Betting Contributor

Ernie is a 25-year veteran of the newspaper industry. He spent those early years working as a sports reporter and editor, but made the move back to the digital world in 2022. Ernie covers college football and NFL betting for Hello Rookie.