Finally, it’s the day of the national title game, which means the last college basketball game of the year until mid-November. This is always bittersweet, because there aren’t many things I love more than college hoops, and while I love the national championship game, seven months without is never easy.
But the picks must go on, and with soccer on the docket, there are plenty of options available for today’s bets. Here are my best plays for April 4.
KANSAS ML, -200 (ALSO PLAYING KANSAS -4, -110)
Personally, I see the championship game as being like the Super Bowl: you’re either laying the points with the favorite or you’re taking the underdog on the moneyline. The champion has covered in 30 of the past 35 championship games and has gone 23-1 ATS since 1996 (Duke is the only champion since 1996 to win the title and not cover).
Plus, playing first on Saturday makes a difference on Monday. The team that played the first semifinal is 7-2 SU in the past nine championship games, in part because of the extra rest. Kansas played first Saturday and had a much easier semifinal than North Carolina, and I think the Tar Heels will be physically and emotionally spent when facing the Jayhawks. Throw in that Kansas has the better guard play, and I like the Jayhawks to claim Bill Self’s second national title.
AC MILAN ML, -300 (ALSO AC MILAN TO NIL, +110)
AC Milan has won three straight games by 1-0, and Bologna hasn’t scored in any of its past three matches. Bologna is safely above the drop zone at 33 points for the time being, which suggests that its road woes are going to continue against a side that’s battling Napoli for the title. AC Milan is currently level with Napoli on points at 66, so every match matters now. I like AC Milan to nil here.
ARSENAL ML, -110
Crystal Palace has really struggled against fellow London teams, going 1-8-8 in its past 17 matches against other teams that call England’s largest city home. Arsenal comes in as winners of six of its past seven matches, with the lone exception being a loss to Liverpool. The Gunners have had issues getting over the line against Palace, but they are playing well now and should be able to get a win here.
MAPLE LEAFS ML, +115
Toronto has thrown everything into winning this game on its two-game swing through Florida, as the Leafs have Jack Campbell going tonight in Tampa against the Lightning with Erik Kallgren going on Tuesday at Florida. The Lightning don’t have the same pressure and are playing their third game in four days, which says that the value lies with the Leafs. Throw in that the road team is 6-2 in the past eight meetings, and I’m backing Toronto.
KINGS ML, +150
Los Angeles is coming off back-to-back wins and Calgary has dropped three straight, with the Flames starting to lose their grip on the Pacific Division. The Kings can close to one point back of the Flames for first place with a win here, and there’s a lot of value on them on home ice.