Michigan Sports Betting Again Has Eyes on Wolverines in March Madness

Michigan Sports Betting Again Has Eyes on Wolverines in March Madness
By Lou Monaco
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

Nine universities entered the men's NCAA Basketball Tournament field from the Big 10 Conference but only two are standing.

By virtue of two upset wins, Michigan joins Purdue as Big 10 teams in the Sweet 16.

Michigan sports betting fans find the Wolverines making a run a year after their trip to the Elite Eight.

The 11th-seeded Wolverines look for a huge upset Thursday night in the South Regional semifinal when they will battle second-seeded Villanova in San Antonio (TBS, 7:29 p.m.).

At BetMGM, Villanova is currently a 4.5-point favorite over Michigan (19-14) and is a -225 moneyline favorite, having opened up at -200. The Wolverines are +180 on the moneyline, after opening as a +165 moneyline underdog. The over/under total points stands at 135.5.

Caesars Sportsbook Michigan is allowing state residents a shot during March Madness to score $200 in free bets, thanks to its newest promotion. Caesars will let bettors take part in the promotion, as long as they place their first bet after signing up for a Caesars Sportsbook account by 11:59 p.m. on April 4.

Wolverines at a Glance

Michigan makes its fifth consecutive trip to the Sweet 16 after a 76-68 upset victory over No. 3 Tennessee on Saturday. The Wolverines trailed at halftime, but shot 50% from the field in the second half to secure the win.

The Wolverines got some great news this week when they learned that point guard DeVante Jones would be back after he missed the first two NCAA Tournament games with a concussion.

Big man Hunter Dickinson leads the way for Michigan, averaging 24 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. At 7 feet 1, he figures to pose a problem for coach Jay Wright and his undersized Villanova squad. Dickinson posted his 10th double-double of the season against Tennessee with 27 points and 11 rebounds.

Guard Eli Brooks has averaged 19.5 points per game for the Wolverines, who are playing with a lot of confidence and are sure to be pumped with Jones (assist leader with 4.6 per game) back in the lineup. Brooks had 23 points and five assists against Tennessee.

This season, the Wolverines have hit half of their shots in 16 games, winning 13 of them, including two straight in the NCAA Tournament. Michigan beat sixth-seeded Colorado State, 75-63, in its NCAA opener before beating Tennessee.

Wildcats at a Glance

Villanova, the Big East Conference Tournament champion, upended seventh-seeded Ohio State, 71-61, Sunday to advance to its third consecutive Sweet 16 appearance. The Wildcats opened their run Friday by beating Delaware, 80-60.

The Wildcats have the complete package, both on offense and defense. Big East Player of the Year Collin Gillespie is a premier point guard and leader who does everything on the court.

Junior guard Justin Moore is a great complement to Gillespie and can be explosive on offense. Forwards Brandon Slater, Jermaine Samuels and Eric Dixon and guard Caleb Dixon (10.3 points off the bench) complete a team that has won 21 of its last 24 games since a Dec. 17 blowout loss at Creighton.

Coach Wright is a Hall of Famer who took Villanova to titles in 2016 and 2018. The game also has an interesting subplot, as Wright goes up against Phil Martelli, an assistant to Juwan Howard with Michigan. Wright and Martelli battled for years in Philadelphia, when Martelli was head coach at St. Joseph’s.

The Wildcats upended the Wolverines, 79-62, in the 2018 national championship game. Seven months later, Michigan returned the favor in a 73-46 road victory in the 2018 Gavitt Games on Nov. 14.

Prediction

Michigan has made a great run after a somewhat disappointing regular season and has a lot of weapons.

But Villanova is so sound, in so many ways. The Wildcats almost never make mistakes. Even if they do, they recover with tough defense or a key 3-pointer. Not only is Villanova the best free throw shooting team in the land, they broke the NCAA record for FT accuracy in a season.

Michigan will use Dickinson and its overall size to its advantage. Their 3-point defense will also be key in limiting the Wildcats’ offense.

Will it happen? No.

Villanova will get to its favorite place on the court, the free throw line, and will make the Wolverines pay for allowing them to get there in the first place. Villanova 73, Michigan 65.

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Contributors

Lou Monaco had been East Coast Scene columnist for Gaming Today in Las Vegas since June 2019, covering the East Coast sportsbook scene with emphasis on NJ and PA. He also currently is a part-time writer for the high school sports department for NJ Advanced Media (NJ.com) in Iselin, NJ. Lou has over 30 years sports experience with previous stints at ESPN SportsTicker, Daily Racing Form and Oddschecker.

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