After one of the most upset-laden NCAA March Madness basketball tournaments in recent memory, we have finally arrived at the Final Four in Houston. The first matchup on Saturday evening is quite an unlikely one, as No. 9 Florida Atlantic faces off with No. 5 San Diego State for a spot in the National Title game. As the higher seed, San Diego State is predictably being touted as the moneyline favorite by most sports betting sites and betting apps.
Florida Atlantic vs San Diego State March Madness Final Four Odds
- Just the second time two mid-majors have played in a Final Four game
- FAU is just the third No. 9 seed to make it to the Final Four in March Madness history
- Neither of these schools has ever reached the March Madness Final Four previously
Florida Atlantic vs. San Diego State NCAA Basketball Odds
Despite both of these programs coming from mid-major conferences, they have been impressive all season, sporting a combined 66-9 overall record this year. Considering the overall pedigree of both rosters and how these teams have played in the tournament to get to this position, the tight odds are very reasonable. All odds provided by Betway.
Point Spread (Odds)
No. 9 Florida Atlantic
No. 5 San Diego State
No. 9 Florida Atlantic University NCAA Basketball Odds
Florida Atlantic is one of the biggest Final Four surprises of all time, as this year was just their second ever appearance in the tournament and their first time advancing past the first round. People are always looking for a Cinderella story every March, and this year, it’s the Owls that have captured the imagination of the nation.
They aren’t here by accident, however. FAU was able to get by a tough Memphis team coached by NBA legend Penny Hardaway, then they snuck by another red hot Cinderella hopeful in Fairleigh Dickinson, and they followed that up with tight wins over Kansas State and Tennessee that proved this roster, led by scoring guards Johnell Davis and Alijah Martin, has the mental strength and mettle to go all the way.
With FAU, it’s all about speed. They like to get out on the break and score as many easy buckets as they can, and they’re pretty good at it too, as evidenced by their top 40 rate in transition according to Synergy. The Aztecs are pretty good at stifling the break, however, so that will be an interesting aspect of the game to watch.
The Owls love the break, but they have shown in this tournament that they can win low-scoring games where they’re forced to play in the half court, like they did against Tennessee and their top-ranked defense in the Sweet Sixteen. They like to have their seven-foot center Vlad Goldin in the middle as their focal point and surround him with three point shooters.
Florida Atlantic has not shot the ball well from deep during the tournament, but they have been able to overcome that so far. One would expect that a team with six players who shot 33 percent or better from long range this season will eventually return to the mean, however, which is something working in their favor.
No. 5 San Diego State NCAA Basketball Odds
San Diego State arrived in the Final Four by the skin on their chinny-chin-chin as they nearly collapsed late in their Elite Eight win over Creighton. They managed to slither through, however, and they present the perfect challenge for FAU here.
The Aztecs are top five in the nation in denying opponents fast break opportunities, and they’re also the country’s second best three-point defending team. Considering those are FAU’s two major strengths, they should be able to have some success stifling the speedy and high octane offense of the Owls.
While their three-point defense last weekend was beyond impressive, holding Alabama to 3-for-27 and Creighton to 2-for-17 from three-point land, it seems as though the Aztecs have benefitted at least a little from some bad luck for their opponents. They’ve been holding teams to 17 percent from beyond the arc in this tournament, and that trend along with FAU’s struggles from deep during the madness seem like they’ll have to return to the mean at some point.
A big matchup to watch will be the one down low between FAU’s Goldin and San Diego State’s swat machine, Nathan Mensah. The Aztecs center was a man possessed last weekend, blocking five shots against Alabama and then sending three more back against Creighton while also forcing their star big man, Ryan Kalkbrenner, into a rough and frustrating shooting night.
If the Aztecs can run the Owls off the three-point line as they’ve been doing to teams all season, the matchup down low will become all the more crucial. The winner of the Mensah-Goldin battle could very well be the deciding factor here, because both teams have shown that they can keep games close and make plays down the stretch to win.
Alex is a recent graduate of Ryerson's Sport Media program in 2019 and has been contributing to BettingTop10 since 2020. He has worked in the field of sports and sports betting for several years, including stops writing for theScore and daily fantasy sports website FantasyPros as one of the lead NBA news writers. A dedicated sports fan and experienced sports bettor, Alex has the knowledge to provide you with the best betting advice and the sneakiest props no matter what the sport may be.
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