March Madness 2024 Updated Odds & Picks after Elite 8 – 3/31: UConn, Purdue separate themselves from the ‘Pack 

DJ Burns Jr. of the NC State Wolfpack
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Ricky Dimon


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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports -- just about any and all you can think of! -- and coaching tennis in Atlanta, GA. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me. For Ricky Dimon media enquiries, please email
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And then there were 4…. The contenders have separated themselves from the pretenders and now the Final Four is set.

A pair of #1 seeds have played their way into Phoenix, but the quartet of teams is a nice mix with #4 Alabama and #11 N.C. State joining UConn and Purdue. The result is the Huskies and Boilermakers being heavily favored in their respective national semifinal games, but both matchups should be entertaining in their own right. How will the Crimson Tide’s electric offense fare against UConn’s tenacious defense? Who will win the big-man battle between DJ Burns Jr. of the Wolfpack and Purdue’s Zach Edey?

Let’s take a look at the odds heading into Saturday night’s semis. 

NCAA Tournament outright odds

Odds provided by FanDuel Sportsbook

UConn -180
Purdue +195
Alabama +1200
N.C. State +1800

Final Four best bets

UConn to win the national title (-180)

When UConn was busy dismantling Illinois to the tune of a 30-0 run in their East Region final, I thought this juggernaut would be priced somewhere in the -300 range to win it all. That’s just how dominant the defending champions have looked. When you can still get them at -180, it’s an opportunity that should be jumped on (and jumped on now before it moves). Head coach Dan Hurley’s has held leads of at least 30 points in all 4 of its NCAA Tournament games and it is coming off a 77-52 humiliation of #3 seed Illinois. It’s hard to see even Purdue competing with the likes of Donovan Clingan, Tristen Newton, Cam Spencer and Alex Karaban. 

N.C. State +9 over Purdue (-110)

I’m not even sure Purdue will be UConn’s opponent in the natty on Monday night. N.C. State is on a miracle run that has invoked memories of Jim Valvano’s title-winning Wolfpack team in 1983. This ‘Pack reeled off 5 consecutive wins to improbably capture the ACC crowd and it has used that momentum to take down Texas Tech, Oakland, Marquette and Duke in the tournament. Burns can obviously bang with Edey down low and NCSU’s guards – led by DJ Horne – are every bit as good as Purdue’s backcourt. Nine points should be way more than enough and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Wolfpack win outright.

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