One of the most anticipated Final Fours in the history of the NCAA Tournament tips off Saturday when the Kansas Jayhawks meet the Villanova Wildcats in the first game of a national semifinal doubleheader. College basketball fans have been buzzing ever since the 68-team 2022 NCAA Tournament field was reduced to four "blue blood" programs, meaning those most associated with long, successful traditions in the sport. Villanova (30-7) is a somewhat recent addition to this elite group of programs but the most successful of late as the Wildcats won two of their three NCAA titles in the past five seasons. Their 2018 title run included a victory over Kansas (32-6), the top seed from the Midwest region that is looking to cut down the nets for the first time since 2008.
Tipoff is set for 6:09 p.m. ET from the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans. The Jayhawks are four-point favorites and the over-under for total points scored is 133.5 in the latest Caesars Sportsbook Villanova vs. Kansas odds for the Final Four 2022. Before making any picks of your own for Villanova vs. Kansas in the 2022 Final Four, be sure to check out the 2022 NCAA Tournament predictions from SportsLine's Micah Roberts.
Roberts worked in the Las Vegas sportsbook industry for more than 20 years, including a 13-year run as Station Casinos' book director. Armed with an unmatched network of sources, the former bookmaker became a SportsLine expert in 2016.
In his last 80 college basketball picks for SportsLine, Roberts is an outstanding 52-28, returning $2,062 to $100 bettors. Anyone who has followed him is way up.
Now, he has set his sights on Kansas vs. Villanova and just locked in his picks and college basketball predictions. You can head to SportsLine now to see his picks. Here are several college basketball odds and betting lines for Villanova vs. Kansas:
- Villanova vs. Kansas point spread: Kansas -4
- Villanova vs. Kansas over-under total: 133.5 points
- Villanova vs. Kansas money line: Kansas -200, Villanova +170
- NOVA: The Wildcats are 21-6 against the spread in their past 27 NCAA Tournament games.
- KU: The Jayhawks are 5-2 ATS in their past seven neutral-site games.
Why Kansas can cover
Any team that makes a deep run in the NCAA Tournament needs a player who can take over a game, and the Jayhawks have one in senior guard Ochai Agbaji. He showed his mettle in January 2019, when coach Bill Self removed his redshirt status and put him in the starting lineup to help a team that was decimated by injuries and suspensions. He immediately stepped up and hit numerous key shots to help Kansas win five of its final seven regular-season games ahead of the Big 12 Tournament.
That Kansas team won just one NCAA Tournament game before being eliminated in the second round by an Auburn team that would go on to the Final Four. Now, Agbaji has a chance to end his career with a national championship along with numerous personal accolades.
Just this week, he was named one of five finalists for the John R. Wooden Award, given annually to the top college basketball player in the country. Agbaji has posted season averages of 18.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists and was named Big 12 Player of the Year. He recorded 18 points, five rebounds and four assists in the Elite Eight victory over Miami.
Why Villanova can cover
One major advantage Villanova has held over its opponents in the 2022 NCAA Tournament is its nation-leading 82.6 percent mark from the free-throw line. The Wildcats have a chance to set the NCAA record if they maintain or improve this mark during the Final Four. Harvard set the record at 82.2 percent in the 1983-84 season.
The Wildcats made just 15-of-52 field goals in their rugged 50-44 victory over Houston but sealed the game by making all 15 of their free-throw attempts, while Houston went 9-of-14. Every Villanova starter made at least two free throws. According to coach Jay Wright, Villanova's success at the line is the byproduct of both physical and psychological preparation. He says his players have embraced a mental approach that includes failure at the line is a possibility, but to step up to the stripe absent of fear.
Almost every player who has come through Villanova in Wright's tenure has seen his free-throw percentage improve each year. Star senior guard Collin Gillespie shot 80 percent as a freshman but is at 90.5 percent (105 of 116) this season. Senior forward Brandon Slater made 60 percent of his 30 attempts last year but is 72-of-82 (87.8 percent) this year.
"Part of being a great free-throw shooter is missing those shots and never letting it impact your next shot or your next situation like that," Wright said.
How to make Kansas vs. Villanova picks
For Villanova vs. Kansas, Roberts is leaning over on the point total, but he also says a critical X-factor makes one side of the spread a must-back. He's only sharing what it is, and which side of the Villanova vs. Kansas spread to back, at SportsLine.
Who wins Villanova vs. Kansas? And which side of the spread is a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Kansas vs. Villanova spread you need to jump on, all from the expert who has crushed his college basketball picks, and find out.