Editor's note: Since March 28, Brian Edwards is on an 11-3 run in college hoops for 8.92 units of profit. Going back further, Brian owns a 57-35 record (62%, +1972) since Feb. 21. Don't miss out on tonight's pick package.
Thirty minutes after the conclusion of Louisville-Wichita St. in Saturday’s lid-lifter at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Michigan and Syracuse will meet in the other national-semifinals matchup.
As of early Friday evening, most books had Michigan (30-7 SU, 18-16-1 ATS) favored by two with a total of 131. The Wolverines are one-point ‘chalk’ for first-half wagers.
For bettors extremely bullish on Michigan, Bovada has a proposition wager in which you can lay 8 ½ points on the Wolverines for a +250 payout (risk $100 to win $250). On the flip side, gamblers can back Syracuse as a 4.5-point favorite for a +225 return.
Bovada also has alternate totals. Bettors can take ‘over’ 137.5 for a +175 payday or they can go ‘under’ 124.5 (+175).
John Beilein’s team has dominated three of its four NCAA Tournament foes. Michigan has dealt out ruthless beatings to VCU and Florida and it also bested South Dakota St. in the opening round.
In the South Region semifinals at Cowboys Stadium last Friday night, Trey Burke led a furious rally to force overtime against Kansas. Michigan eventually captured an 87-85 victory as a 1.5-point underdog.
Burke scored all 23 of his points in the second half and overtime, including an audacious 30-footer from beyond the time line to tie the game with five seconds left in regulation. Burke also dished out 10 assists, while freshman center Mitch McGary exploded for a career-high 25 points and 14 rebounds.
The Wolverines raced out to leads of 13-0, 23-5 and 41-17 en route to a 79-59 win over Florida as 2.5-point underdogs on Sunday. Nik Stauskas snapped out of a shooting slump to bury all six of his attempts from 3-point land on his way to a 22-point effort.
Syracuse (30-9 SU, 20-15 ATS) advanced to the Final Four for the fourth time on Jim Boeheim’s watch thanks to last Saturday’s 55-39 win over Marquette as a 4.5-point favorite. The 94 combined points stayed way ‘under’ the 126.5-point total.
James Southerland paced the ‘Cuse with a game-high 16 points. C.J. Fair added 13 points, six rebounds, three steals and a pair of blocked shots, while Michael Carter-Williams finished with 12 points, eight boards and six assists.
The Orange’s other NCAA wins came over Montana (81-34), California (66-60) and Indiana (61-50). But this team’s surge started in the Big East Tournament with three wins before a loss to Louisville in the finals. The ‘Cuse led the Cardinals by 17 late in the first half but went cold offensively in the second half of the defeat.
Michigan owns a 6-7 spread record in 13 games as a single-digit favorite this year. Meanwhile, Syracuse has been an underdog seven times, compiling a 4-3 record both SU and ATS.
The ‘over’ is 21-14 overall for Michigan, 12-8 in its 20 games with a total in the 130s.
The ‘under’ is 18-15 overall for the Orange, going 3-1 in its last four games. The ‘over’ is 7-6 in Syracuse’s 13 games with totals in the 130s.
These schools last met at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City two seasons ago with the ‘Cuse winning a 53-50 decision. However, the Wolverines took the cash as 6.5-point underdogs.
Although we should note that Boeheim had superior talent in nearly every instance, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that Boeheim is unbeaten in nine head-to-head meetings against Beilein.
Boeheim has a 52-28 career record (65%) in the NCAA Tournament compared to Beilein’s 12-7 ledger (63%).
Sportsbook.ag has prop wagers galore for both semifinal matchups. The website has Burke with an ‘over/under’ of 18.5 points that’s shaded to the ‘under’ at a -130 price (even-money for ‘over’ bets). Burke’s total for assists is seven (-115 either way) and rebounds is 3.5 (‘over’ -130).
Tim Hardaway Jr.’s total for points is 13.5 (‘over’ -120), rebounds is 4.5 (-115 either way) and assists is three (-115 either way). I like the ‘over’ for Hardaway as I anticipate him scoring at least 14 points.
Also, I like ‘over’ 11.5 points (-130 price) for Michigan's McGary, who has averaged 17.5 points per game during the NCAA Tournament. McGary scored 21 against VCU and dropped 25 on Kansas.