This is an interesting matchup between two teams that didn’t win their respective conferences, but got hot at the right time. Michigan is especially riding high, because they’re on a 14-game winning streak. The Wildcats are also playing really well and are on a 10-game winning streak.
Villanova looks downright intimidating, having crushed their 2018 March Madness opponents by an average margin of 18 points. The Wildcats made fellow No. 1 seed Kansas look like a second-rate team in their Final Four matchup.
They raced out to a 22-4 lead and cruised to victory from here. That said, it’s no wonder why they open as a 6.5-point favorite at GTBets.
Michigan had to scrap to get to this point. They survived a near-upset against Houston in the second round. And they trailed Loyola Chicago by 10 points at two different junctures in their Final Four game.
But one thing that Michigan has done a great job of during their 14-game winning streak is finding ways to win. And their defense locked down Loyola as they eventually pulled out a 69-57 victory.
It’s not going to be easy for the Wolverines to win this contest against Villanova and cover their +6.5 spread. But I’m going to discuss both their’s and Villanova’s chances of covering the spread. You can also see the GTBets odds on this game below.
Michigan Villanova Odds – 2018 NCAA National Championship Game, April 2 (Monday) at 9:20pm
- Michigan +6.5 (-110) / +260 moneyline
- Villanova -6.5 (-110)/ -320 moneyline
- Over/under 145 (-110)
Why Villanova Will Cover -6.5
The Wildcats jumped out to a big lead in the first half on the strength of great three-point shooting. They had 13 triples in the first half and nailed 18 three-pointers overall – a Final Four record.
For good measure, they shot 55% overall from the field. I mentioned in my preview of Villanova and Kansas that it felt like a championship atmosphere. But the way that the Wildcats are shooting, passing, driving, and shot blocking, it doesn’t seem like any team in the country is on their level.
Basically, Villanova will cover if their star guards, Jalen Brunson (19.2 PPG) and Mikal Bridges (17.8 PPG), continue shooting like they are. These two account for 41% of the team’s offense.
These two not only score lots of points, but rather do it in a very efficient manner. They shoot 51% from the field, 41% from the three-pint line, and 80% of the free-throw line.
This isn’t just two players, though, because their offense as a whole is really clicking. They led the nation in offense during the regular season with 87 points per game. And a big reason why is because they have several scoring threats who can put the ball on the floor and get to the rim.
Brunson, who’s fresh off winning the National Player of the Year award, grabs most of the headlines. Bridges, who’s destined to be an NBA lottery pick, also grabs his fair share of press. But role players like Omari Spellman, Eric Paschall, Donte DiVincenzo, and Phil Booth are huge keys to success as well.
Michigan is known for lock-down defense. But they haven’t faced anybody who can score like Villanova. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Wildcats put on another scoring barrage, even against one of the nation’s toughest defenses.
Why Michigan Will Cover +6.5
Most expect Villanova to win this game by a comfortable margin. But this is also a year that’s seen UMBC become the first No. 16 seed the topple a No. 1 seed, beating Virginia by 20 points. I certainly won’t count out the Wolverines in this contest.
This is especially the case when considering that they’ve played so well ever since the end of the Big Ten regular season. Michigan prides itself on defense, which is why they’ve held opponents to an average of 58 points per game on 38% shooting. If anybody is capable of containing the Wildcats, then it’s this team.
Again, even this defense will have a tough time stopping Villanova. But Michigan has also proven that they can light up the scoreboard on occasion. Case in point, they dropped 99 points against Texas A&M in their Sweet 16 contest.
John Beilein has shown a great ability to manage the game and make changes when necessary. And the Wolverines need every bit of strong coaching they can get, given that championship coach Jay Wright is on the opposing sidelines.
Another key for this team is the defensive play of Zavier Simpson. The Michigan Point guard had a terrible offensive game against Loyola, failing to score a point and recording more turnovers than assists.
But the defensive ace has hounded opposing point guards into 11 PPG and under 35% shooting during the tournament. He’s also forced opponents into more turnovers than assists. If you had to pick somebody to try and guard Brunson, this is the guy.
Brunson scored 27 points against West Virginia’s Jevon Carter, who’s one of the few players who may be better than Simpson at perimeter defense. However, Simpson could still succeed where Carter fell short and make Brunson uncomfortable.
Moritz Wagner (14.1 PPG) is also a huge piece on this Michigan team. The 6’11” big man scored 24 points and grabbed 15 rebounds against a Loyola team that had no answer for him.
Villanova’s interior defense is tough to score on, with Spellman and Paschall possessing good athleticism. But Wagner, who shoots 40% from beyond the arc, is very difficult to guard. He can score in the post with his height, and he can also get hot from outside.
Wagner also has a bit of good history on his side. He’s only the third player in the last 40 years to score 20+ points and grab 15 rebounds. The other two include Larry Bird and Hakeem Olajuwon, both NBA Hall of Famers.
The defense will be there for Michigan. And it’s possible that they could be one of the few teams to hold Villanova under 80 points. The key will be for them to get their offense going. Wagner and Charles Matthews (13.1 PPG) will be leading the offensive charge. If they get hot and the defense contains Villanova, then this game becomes an upset scenario.
Final Thoughts on Villanova Michigan Odds
Kansas didn’t come into their game against Villanova with as much defensive prowess as Michigan. And this was obvious, because the Wildcats dropped 95 in Saturday’s Final Four contest.
But you can bet that the Wolverines will bring more defensive intensity and possibly make this a good game. They play strong team defense, led by Simpson’s efforts against opposing point guards.
Michigan is facing an impossible task in trying to stop a talented Villanova team that’s playing at peak level. Even against a top defense, I don’t see Brunson and Bridges slowing down after their hot performances against Kansans.
But if Michigan can somehow manage to get in these players’ heads, they still have several other players who can score. And Villanova has such good fundamentals that they may not offer the Wolverines any chance to win.
Final Score Prediction: Villanova wins 81-64