While the Women’s NCAA Basketball Tournament Final Four doesn’t get nearly as much attention as the Men’s Final Four, that doesn’t mean it can’t be just as profitable when it comes to finding value and exploiting it. We last checked in on the women’s tournament during the Sweet 16, where we correctly predicted the outcome of 7 of the 8 games, including nailing a huge upset with a winner on the 10-seed Creighton Blue Jays.
The women's Final Four is set. South Carolina, Stanford, UConn and Louisville head to Minneapolis in search of the 2022 national championship.https://t.co/4ZcW3GgIZU
— ESPN Women's Hoops (@ESPN_WomenHoop) March 29, 2022
Now we are down to just 4 teams, as we are right on the cusp of crowning a national champion, and when I see the field for this weekend, I am excited, as these are the best of the best teams, and we are going to have some great games on tap! Before we get into the individual game matchups for Friday night’s semifinal round, we are going to take a quick look at the Women’s Final Four odds when it comes to future’s bets, on which team is going to win the 2022 Women’s Basketball National Championship.
Women’s Final Four Odds
A quick glance at the odds to win the 2022 Women’s Basketball National Championship shows me that the books are all over the South Carolina Gamecocks. That certainly makes sense, as the Gamecocks started the season ranked number 1 in the country, and they finished the year ranked number 1 in the country, and as the number 1 overall seed in this tournament, they are clearly the team to beat.
Women’s Basketball Final Four Odds
But when I see that UCONN has been in the Final Four for an absolutely absurd 14 consecutive years, the Stanford Cardinal are the reigning national champions, and that Louisville is a legit 1-seed that has 8 wins over ranked teams on their resume, including a win over UCONN, I don’t think I can justify the Gamecocks being such prohibitive favorites. The odds-on betting favorite is rarely the play that shows the most value, and I will look further down the board of the women’s basketball odds for my play.
Who Do I Like?
So, if I don’t like South Carolina, which team do I like? Well, to be honest, I think each of these other 3 teams show enough value for a play. These teams are only going to have to win 2 games to cash this ticket, and based on the hedge value alone, they all make sense for some action. Let’s break down each of those team’s chances quickly and narrow it down to my best bet.
The Huskies are the elephant in the room any time that the women’s national title conversation comes up, as Geno Auriemma is the greatest coach of all time with 11 national titles on his resume and an astounding 22 trips to the Final Four, including the last 14 straight. The Huskies haven’t taken home the natty since 2016, which is a long time for this program, as they are always one of the top teams in the nation. Paige Bueckers is a certified superstar and while they would have to knock off the defending national champion Cardinal of Stanford to make it to the championship game, a daunting task for sure, there isn’t a team that wins more consistently in March than UCONN, and they are my favorite play on the board right now at the current price.
Stanford won it all last year, and they are poised to do it again this year, as they had a great regular season, and they haven’t lost a game since December! The Cardinal had a weaker SOS than the rest of these Final Four teams, as the PAC-12 just wasn’t very good this season, and we have seen them have a couple of close calls in this tournament, as they barely snuck past both Maryland and Texas in competitive games. They played well in a losing effort against top-seeded South Carolina in a true road game earlier this season, so they showed that they can play with elite teams, but it is always tougher to stay on top of the mountain than it is to get there, and I will pass on a play on Stanford, as I expect them to lose to UCONN on Friday night.
Louisville was well-deserving of their 1-seed, and they are a very good team. But just like how the books see things, I feel there is a gap between the Cardinals and the rest of this remaining field. Louisville had losses to North Carolina and Miami late in the season, and despite the Cardinals playing well so far in this tournament, I don’t think they are going to be able to get past South Carolina in their next game. They are worth a speculative play, as these odds are outrageous, and upsets do happen, but the higher value play is on the Huskies.
UConn extended its streak of consecutive Final Four appearances to 14 on Monday night, as the No. 2 seed Huskies defeated No. 1 seed NC State 91-87 in a double-overtime thriller in the Bridgeport regional final.https://t.co/Y0TWmX0DEI
— ESPN Women's Hoops (@ESPN_WomenHoop) March 29, 2022
I will take my stand on Geno Auriemma, Paige Bueckers, and the UCONN Huskies, as I see them winning their opening round game against Stanford, and the battle with presumably South Carolina, in the finals, is going to be an all-out war. The Huskies are a pick ‘em against Stanford and they will likely be small underdogs in the final if they do end up facing South Carolina, but with a price of (+200), it makes up for that additional risk. Lock me in on UCONN, as Geno adds yet another trophy to his already record-breaking Hall of Fame career.
Louisville Cardinals vs South Carolina Gamecocks (-8)
For our first Final Four matchup, we will check in on the game between a pair of 1 seeds, in Louisville and South Carolina. As you can see, the Cardinals are heavy underdogs in this game, which as a 1-seed might be a bit surprising, but it goes to show you just how great South Carolina has been all year long. It is tough to ever call a team that is a top-line seed and playing in the Final Four, an underdog, but here we are with the Cardinals against the Gamecocks.
Louisville Cardinals (29-4)
The Cardinals are having a dream season, and this trip to the Final Four marks the 5th time in program history that Louisville has made it all of the way to the 3rd weekend of the madness. Louisville is hoping that this trip ends better than their previous runs though, as the Cardinals have yet to win a national title in school history. The defense is what has been the main driver of success for the Cardinals this season, and we have seen that play out in this tournament, as they have held teams to an average of just 54 points per game.
— Louisville WBB (@UofLWBB) March 29, 2022
The problem for Louisville is that while their defense is elite, with superstar Emily Engstler leading the way, they don’t have many consistent scoring options outside of Hailey Van Lith. That has led to long scoring droughts, and against this elite Gamecocks defense, if they can’t find other options to score the ball efficiently, this game could easily get out of hand.
South Carolina Gamecocks (33-2)
South Carolina has been amongst the top programs in the country for the last several years under head coach Dawn Staley. The Cocks have gone to the Final Four 4 times in the last 7 years, and they won it all back in 2017. Most people expected them to win it all last season, and they came up just short, losing to Stanford in the national semifinals by just a single point.
— ESPN (@espn) March 28, 2022
This year, USC has been the nation’s top team since the preseason, and they again hit March as the team to beat. South Carolina has the top defense in the country, and they just might have the single best player in the country as well in Aliyah Boston. Winning games in the NCAA tournament is never easy, but South Carolina has sure made it look easy this year, as they beat Howard by 58 points in their opening game, Creighton by 30 points in their last game, and their wins over North Carolina and Miami were never in doubt either, as the Gamecocks won both games going away.
The Bet: South Carolina Gamecocks (-8)
As you can see, the books don’t anticipate this being a very competitive game, and to be honest, neither do I. Louisville has a great D, but they don’t score at a high enough level to be able to hang with this South Carolina team that can do it all. Aliyah Boston is the most dynamic 2-way player in the nation, and she is going to lead her Gamecocks to the victory, and I doubt we are even going to sweat it out much at all.
USC was 3-0 against the ACC in the regular season, with each of those games coming against ranked teams, and they are already 2-0 against the ACC in this tournament, with their wins over North Carolina and Miami. The Gamecocks have made a living beating up on the Atlantic Coast Conference this year and I expect more of the same, as the Cardinal’s inability to score efficiently is going to come back to bite them. South Carolina will take an early lead and pull away late for the win and the cover against Louisville as they advance to the national championship game.
UCONN Huskies (Pick ‘em) vs Stanford Cardinals
The other side of this Final Four bracket should be a much more competitive game between Stanford and UCONN. The books have this line as a straight pick ‘em, which seems like a sharp number, as there isn’t much that separates these teams this year. These have been the top programs in the women’s game for well over a decade, as UCONN makes the Final Four basically every year, and Stanford has been in the Final Four 9 times since 2008. This is a true battle of the Blue Bloods when it comes to women’s college hoops.
UCONN Huskies (29-5)
Some of you that might not follow women’s college basketball that closely might be wondering why UCONN is a 2-seed this year when they are nearly always a 1-seed in March. Well, I can tell you why, and that is because superstar Paige Bueckers missed almost 3 month’s worth of action in the regular season with an injury. Prior to that injury, Bueckers played almost every minute of every game for the Huskies, and they won every game with the exception of a loss to South Carolina.
FINAL FOUR pic.twitter.com/MAYEyP1LcB
— UConn Women’s Basketball (@UConnWBB) March 29, 2022
Geno eased her back into the rotation by limiting her minutes at first, but she is clearly back to full speed now as she played a whopping 45 minutes in the double-overtime win over NC State in the Elite Eight. Of UCONN’s 5 losses, 4 of them came while Bueckers was off of the court, and had she played the entire season, you can be assured that the Huskies would have found their way to that top line that they have grown so accustomed to being on in the last couple of decades.
Stanford Cardinals (32-3)
I am not going to even attempt to poke any holes in this Stanford resume, as this team is very good, and they have played at a high level all season long. They were clearly the class of the PAC-12 this year, but with the league being down this season, they didn’t get many opportunities to play top competition in the 2nd half of their schedule. The Cardinal only managed 2 wins over ranked teams in conference play, which makes their pile of signature wins pale in comparison to the rest of these Final Four teams.
— ESPN (@espn) March 28, 2022
But Stanford played in the PAC-12 last year and it didn’t stop them from winning the national title, so anyone that thinks just because Stanford hasn’t beaten a bunch of elite teams, means they aren’t capable of it, is dead wrong. Cameron Brink is the straw that stirs the drink for Stanford, but her biggest issue is staying on the floor, as she fouled out of Stanford’s game against Maryland in just 19 minutes of action and she got into foul trouble against Texas in their last game, with 4 total fouls that saw her play only 22 minutes.
The Bet: UCONN Huskies (Pick ‘em)
When Cameron Brink is on the bench, Stanford is a good team, not a great one. And it is going to take a great team to beat UCONN with a healthy Paige Bueckers. But foul trouble has plagued Brink all year, as she has had at least 3 fouls in 22 games this season. Her inability to stop fouling has really hurt her minutes, and we all know that Auriemma is going to target her and keep her off of the floor as much as he can.
Who else to get us to Minnesota? pic.twitter.com/VgJPyolRgH
— UConn Women’s Basketball (@UConnWBB) March 29, 2022
If that ends up being the case, and Stanford has to win this game without their best player contributing big minutes, I don’t think they are going to be able to get it done. This team was hungry last year when they finally broke through with the national title after so many trips to the Final Four that ended in heartache, and after winning it all last year, I can’t imagine they are going to be nearly as hungry this year.
You know who is hungry though? Geno Auriemma, whose 4-year title drought is basically a lifetime to his lofty standards. It is going to be a battle, but when the smoke clears, the Huskies are going to win and advance to the national title game.
And there you have it, my breakdown of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Final Four! We have handicapped the NCAA Women’s Basketball Final Four odds and provided you with individual game picks, as well as a high value future’s bet. We have a steaming hot 7-1 record betting on the 2022 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament, so if you want to get paid, jump aboard the bandwagon and stack some cash with us! Thank you for reading and make sure that you stay tuned to TheSportsGeek as our team of expert handicappers provide you with all of the high-value betting advice that you need to finish out March Madness by making money!