Final Four Game 1 Betting Preview

The last No. 1 seed standing takes to the court in the opening game of the Final Four on Saturday as the No. 1 Virginia Cavaliers take on the No. 5 Auburn Tigers.

At Bovada Sportsbook, the Cavaliers are a 5-point favorite.

Virginia got past the Purdue Boilermakers 80-75 as a 4.5-point favorite in the Elite Eight. With the cover, the Cavaliers are now 2-2 against the spread in March Madness, and of course as a No. 1 seed they’ve been favored in every game.

In their last 14 games, the Cavaliers are 13-1 straight up and 9-5 ATS. Virginia was favored in most of its games this season, and in their last 30 games as a favorite, the Cavs are 28-2 SU and 20-10 ATS.

Cavaliers favored by 5 over Tigers

Virginia hasn’t been kind to bettors during March Madness with a lousy 2-6 ATS record in its last eight games. The Cavaliers were 5-3 SU in those eight games. When favored in the tournament, they’re 8-2 SU and 4-6 ATS in their last 10. Virginia has no recent results from the Final Four, as it hasn’t advanced that far in the tournament since 1984. In their only two appearances in the Final Four, in 1984 and 1981, the Cavaliers lost both times.

Auburn is making its first-ever Final Four appearance following back-to-back upset wins over big-name programs. In the Sweet 16, the Tigers knocked off the North Carolina Tar Heels 97-80 as a 5.5-point underdog, and in the Elite Eight they defeated the Kentucky Wildcats 77-71 as a 4.5-point underdog. Their overall ATS record in the tournament stands at 3-1.

Auburn has thrived as an underdog

The Tigers head into the Final Four on a 12-game winning streak with an 8-4 ATS mark. As an underdog, they’ve won four straight SU and ATS, and they were 4-3 SU and 5-2 ATS when listed as an underdog this season.

In March Madness, Auburn is 7-2 SU and 6-3 ATS in its last nine games. The Tigers have been a great bet as an underdog in the tournament at 4-1 SU and 5-0 ATS in their last five games.

In four previous matchups between the Tigers and Cavaliers, they’ve split the series 2-2 both SU and ATS. They last met up in 2009 when Auburn edged Virginia 68-67 as a 5-point favorite.