Many believe Kentucky could beat the NBA’s Washington Wizards and quite a lot of discussion has focused on how good the Wildcats are instead of how dangerous Louisville might be.
And lately, the Cardinals have been very good, both for their fans and alumni and for people putting money on them.
They have won eight straight, marching through the Big East tournament and making the Final Four. They are 8-0 ATS in those games as well.
So as the Kentucky vs Louisville matchup tips off Saturday, bettors must decide whether the monster talents in blue can dominate the plucky talents in red.
"There is a very great danger in believing the hype about how good you are, especially egomaniac college kids," said Mark Presley of OddsShark.com, provider of college basketball lines to SBNation.
"When your perception of how good you are starts eclipsing your actual talent, there is trouble brewing for chalk bettors."
The line opened at -9 for Kentucky and has remained at -8.5 for most of the week. Sportsbooks have resisted pushing it back to 9 points, despite a growing volume of bets on Louisville (58 percent of the voting action in the OddsShark consensus data).
"Some people see this game getting out of control and the KU kids absolutely stomping the Cardinals and other see Louisville using their smarts to stick around and make it interesting," Presley said. "We don’t usually recommend laying that much chalk, but we are in the first camp and think this might be a blowout."
The trends also favor higher seeds and favorites at the Final Four stage, as our article earlier this week showed.
Predicted Score: 84-74 Kentucky
ATS Pick: Wildcats -8.5
How They Match up:
Rating these schools in several key categories is important for handicappers and Kentucky has the nation's No. 15-rated offensive output, at 77.9 PPG. The visiting Cardinals defense ranks No. 31 allowing on average 60.8 PPG. The Wildcats FG% has averaged 48.8 percent so far, more than the Cardinals marksmen have achieved on the year, 42.5 percent per game.
Defensively, Louisville features the nation's No. 23-rated defense on the road, allowing 62.7 points per game. Kentucky, meanwhile, comes in at No. 21 nationally in scoring at home.
Louisville got 19 points from Russ Smith en route to a 72-68 victory over Florida on Saturday at US Airways Center. They covered as 1-point chalk.
The Wildcats grabbed an 82-70 win over the Bears on Sunday, behind a 19-point effort fromMichael Kidd-Gilchrist at Georgia Dome. They covered 7.5 points in that game, further proof they can handle the chalk on the Final Four odds menu.