Fandex NCAA Tournament Championship Buys
This is it.
The National Championship.
After a tumultuous season and captivating post-season, the 68-team field is down to two. The Baylor Bears made short work of the Houston Cougars, and the Gonzaga Bulldogs needed an overtime buzzer-beater to escape their Final Four matchup with the UCLA Bruins.
We’re taking a two-prong approach to the Championship game on Fandex!
Fandex Price: 20.52
Predicted Win Total: 2.84
Of the two Championship teams, the Bears had the easier time with their Final Four matchup. They entered the game as -5 favorites which was never in doubt, en route to a 78-59 victory. However, the Bears Fandex price has decreased 3.0% since the Bulldogs were confirmed as their opponent. We’re highlighting a couple of reasons why the Bears price will increase in the early stages of the Championship game.
The Sweet 16 game against the Villanova Wildcats notwithstanding, the Bears dominate teams in the first half. In the four other games, the lowest first-half score the Bears have put up was 37 against the Hartford Hawks in the First Round. The smallest lead they had entering the second half was the eight-point cushion they had against the Arkansas Razorbacks in the Elite Eight. Overall, the Bears have a +55 point differential in the first half of tournament games. Baylor has used the first half to build leads all tournament.
The other factor to consider is that Baylor has been making it rain from three all season. The Bears have the best three-point shooting percentage in the nation at 41.2%, and they’re hitting 48.7% of shots from beyond the arc over their last two games. The Zags are coming off a game in which UCLA shot 47.1% from three.
Baylor’s script is to create leads early, and the Zags defense against the three should allow that to happen. Baylor is the team to buy before tip-off.
Fandex Price: 19.26
Predicted Win Total: 3.22
Gonzaga’s strength is pace and efficiency. The Bulldogs manage 76.1 possessions per game, and they have the best field goal percentage at 55.0%. When adjusted for opponent, the Bulldogs are the best offense in the country, as calculated by KenPom. The Bulldogs’ advantage will come from pushing the pace and wearing down the Bears defense.
In both Baylor losses, their opponents outscored them in the second half. The Kansas Jayhawks outscored them 38-28, and the Oklahoma State Cowboys outscored them 48-44. In the two games, the Bears had a combined 141 field goal attempts. The only tournament game in which Baylor had more than 70 field goal attempts, they put up their worst field goal percentage of 41.3%. Forcing the Bears to play with pace decreases their efficiency.
On that basis, we are recommending taking a stance on the Bulldogs in the second half. If things go to plan, we can clean up on the Bears in the first half and Bulldogs in the second.