UConn vs. San Diego State Odds: Spread, Total, Props Betting Guide
UConn takes on San Diego State on Monday, April 3 at 9:20 p.m. ET on CBS in the 2023 NCAA Championship Game. The 4-seed Huskies are spread favorites on the March Madness odds board while the 5-seed Aztecs to win the game on the moneyline. The point total, for UConn odds against San Diego State, is set at .
Dan Hurley’s team opened as a six-point favorite at some shops after it was set at -4/4.5 on the look-ahead spread. In this article, we’ll dissect everything you need to know before placing a bet on these UConn odds versus SDSU, including team matchups, key metrics, and the best available odds.
UConn Odds vs. San Diego State
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How Did We Get Here?
To tip off Saturday evening, San Diego State overcame a 14-point second-half deficit before Lamont Butler knocked off nine-seed FAU at the buzzer. The Aztecs became the first team in NCAA tournament history to win both their Elite 8 game and national semifinal matchup by exactly one point. Their in-game moneyline odds were as high as +800.
SDSU’s preseason national championship odds were +8000 (Caesars Sportsbook). UConn matched that price tag at BetMGM, and it steamrolled Miami (Fla.) — just like it has each one of its NCAA tournament opponents — with a 13-point victory on Saturday. The Huskies are the sixth team since 1985 to reach the finale after winning each of their first five games in the Big Dance by double digits. The others are listed below:
- Michigan State (2000)
- Duke (2001)
- UNC (2009)
- UNC (2016)
- Villanova (2018)
Only the 15-16 Tar Heels failed to cut down the nets, thanks to Kris Jenkins’ buzzer-beating heroics for Villanova. However, if you’re into sports betting trends, favorites in title games are 26-11 straight up since 1985. UConn is 15-1 against the spread in non-conference games to boot. All of those victories came by double figures.
Keys To Cashing In
UConn Odds Breakdown
As previously noted, the betting market has showcased a bit of steam towards UConn odds after they initially opened up across legal sportsbooks. That’s especially the case from the look-ahead line. But as I mentioned on Outside Shots, The Lines’ college basketball betting podcast, my model made this game roughly UConn -4. With that in mind, this spread appears inflated.
Huskies’ Motion Offense
For starters, Hurley utilizes ball-screen sets at the 11th-highest frequency across D-I (ShotQuality). These pindown and stagger looks, particularly for 3-point marksman Jordan Hawkins, have helped the Huskies generate a top-70 perimeter scoring rate.
Considering Hawkins was still dealing with a stomach bug during UConn’s victory, his 3-for-7 showing from behind the arc against Miami was even more pronounced. On the flip side, FAU’s perimeter gunners torched San Diego State’s ball-screen defense to tune the of 9-of-22 shooting. It’s represented a concern all season for Brian Dutcher’s crew — despite its fourth-ranked adjusted defensive efficiency (KenPom).
That’s a product of Dutcher running a semblance of a pack-line defense while also employing drop coverage, originating from longtime Aztecs coach Steve Fisher. It possesses a pair of true big men on the floor at all times. Outside of Keshad Johnson, they’re more so slower-footed, epsecially when rotating on switches outside the arc.
Unless Dutcher adjusts from his standard defensive structure, UConn’s offense will have the edge in this department.
Battle On The Boards
The Huskies own a distinct size advantage on paper, as well as manufacturing the second-highest offensive rebounding percentage nationally. But the Aztecs are one of the premier gang rebounding teams in the country. They compile a top-80 rebounding rate at each end, thanks to Nathan Mensah, Jaedon Ledee, Aguek Arop, the aforementioned Johnson, and their hyper-physical guards.
This attribute came into play amid the final 6:45 of regulation versus the Owls, accruing nine second-chance shots. San Diego State converted on a handful of those touches via the low-post, which Adama Sanogo & Co. struggle to guard — albeit their length across the board.
Should the Aztecs come close to evening things out on the glass, it will go a long ways towards aiding their effort to decelerate the pace. Don’t forget, SDSU boasts a top-50 transition defense. Therefore, it’s even positioned to minimize UConn’s fast-break opportunities when the Huskies aim to ramp up the tempo.
Moreover, Mensah — a two-time Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year — and Arop are both capable of hindering Sanogo’s proficiency inside the paint.
Aztecs’ Ball Pressure
For the first time in the tournament, the Huskies dealt with second-half game pressure. It stemmed from the Hurricanes forcing 15 takeaways overall. UConn’s miscues have represented its most glaring liability in 2022-23, ranking No. 236 in turnover percentage.
Huskies lead “guards” Tristen Newton and Andre Jackson are the main culprits in that regard. If they provide fresh ones via the live-ball variety, Lamont Butler, Darrion Trammell, and the rest of the Aztecs’ ballhawks won’t encounter much of an issue establishing the team’s methodical identity.
Additionally, unlike each of UConn’s previous five opponents, San Diego State’s offense isn’t reliant upon attacking the rim via dribble penetration. Its post-up touches and mid-range shots — more often than not — suffice for Matt Bradley & Co. That’s certainly a unique challenge for the Huskies’ eighth-rated AdjD.
Then again, the Aztecs’ spasmodic half-court shooting could spell doom against the Huskies’ elite unit at that side of the court.
UConn Futures Odds: Hedging Strategy
For context, I have a Huskies +5000 national title wager (and some bigger odds on lower-limit bets), dating back to late November. Hence, futures ticket holders of either UConn or San Diego State have a decision to make come Monday’s tip-off. Granted, the latter situation likely involves hedging in-game because of the steep moneyline odds.
Since my model made the Aztecs moneyline odds closer to +180, along with the previous notions, I’ll wind up hedging those futures bets a tad.
Let’s use a $100 bet on +5000 UConn futures for the sake of simplicity. The table below indicates a hypothetical route of action if this person hedges approximately 9.8% of his or her possible net winnings. You may aim for a middle instead by wagering on SDSU ATS.
|Potential Net Winnings
|SDSU ML Odds
|Payout If UConn Wins
|Payout If SDSU Wins
The Aztecs’ aforementioned close-game results — and positive variance in the process — may insinuate that a losing effort is en route at NRG Stadium. Nevertheless, I don’t see it necessarily playing out that way, particularly with an upper-echelon game schemer in Dutcher on their side.
If the Huskies win the title, that would mark seven consecutive NCAA tournaments in which the champion was a top-six KenPom team entering March Madness. Contrarily, San Diego State would represent a deviation in the system.
In the end, I’ll hedge about 8% of my potential net winnings on Aztecs ML odds (+300), plus another 2% on SDSU ATS (+7.5).
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Outside Shots: Tom Crean Previews UConn-SDSU
UConn vs. SDSU Player Props
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