Final Four Betting Preview: VCU vs. Butler

2011 Final Four logoNo. 11 Virginia Commonwealth takes on No. 8 Butler on Saturday in what may be the most unlikely Final Four matchup in the history of the NCAA tournament (6:10 p.m. ET, CBS).

The Rams, who had a less-than-stellar 28-11 SU record (18-20 ATS) in the Colonial Athletic Association, actually had to win one of the “First Four” play-in games in order to advance into the NCAA Tournament bracket.

Butler, the runner up in last year’s championship game against Duke, is also a surprise. The Bulldogs, who had a 27-9 SU record (19-14-1 ATS) in the Horizon League, were a longshot to make the Final Four again this season.

This matchup will make history as VCU and Butler are the two highest seeds to ever meet in the Final Four.

Heading into Saturday’s game, Butler is listed as a 2.5-point favorite at and the total is set at 133. On the moneyline, the Bulldogs are -145; the Rams are +125.

Butler clearly has the experience edge having played in last year’s title game and nearly beating Duke – the Bulldogs lost 61-59 as 7-point underdogs.

This year they have won 13 straight games as they became the first team in NCAA history to make back-to-back Final Fours without being at least a No. 2 seed.

Butler has been winning close games in the tournament with an average margin of victory just 3.3 points per game.

The Bulldogs beat Old Dominion 60-58 as 1.5-point dogs on a last second shot, beat Pittsburgh 71-70 as 8-point dogs in one of the wildest endings in NCAA Tournament history, rolled Wisconsin 61-54 as 4.5-point dogs, then took out Florida 74-71 in overtime as 4-point dogs.

VCU, meanwhile, becomes only the third No. 11 seed to make the Final Four. The Rams may be the most unlikely since many didn’t believed they even belonged in the NCAA Tournament.

The Rams have sure convinced people though as they have not only won their games but won them convincingly. They took down No. 1 seed Kansas in the Elite Eight and it was not a fluke – the Rams dominated the Jayhawks, winning 71-61 as 11-point dogs.

This game could come down to how well Butler defends the three-point shot. VCU has made a living in this tournament from behind the arc, hitting 65 of 146 shots.

Butler was pretty good in the regular season in 3-point defense and if the Bulldogs can keep VCU in check from long range they should be playing in Monday’s title game.

Here are some key college basketball betting stats for Saturday’s game:

The Rams are 6-0 ATS in their last six non-conference games. The Bulldogs are 15-2 ATS in their last 17 neutral site games. The under is 7-2 in the Bulldogs’ last nine NCAA Tournament games.

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