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2024 Final Four – UConn men on verge of historic ATS run

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UConn men’s basketball has made history, becoming the first team ever to win 10 straight NCAA tournament games by double digits. That streak has also made history at the betting window.

UConn is the first team to cover 10 straight NCAA tournament games since Villanova did so in 11 straight from 1985 to ’88. If the Huskies win and cover their final two tourney games, they will be the first to cover 12 straight since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985.

UConn is nearing uncharted territory in any major spread-based sport. In the NBA, the longest postseason cover streak in the past three decades belongs to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, which covered 12 straight games spanning the 2008 and 2009 postseasons. The 2011 Dallas Mavericks went 16-4-1 ATS during their title run, including an 11-0 ATS start.

The longest cover streak in the NFL postseason in the Super Bowl era is eight by Washington, but that spanned 14 seasons from 1991 to 2005. The Kansas City Chiefs are currently on a six-game cover streak during their back-to-back titles, covering by 6.9 points per game.

What has made UConn’s streak even more impressive has been its convincing cover margin.

The Huskies are winning by an average of 23.1 points per game and covering by an average of 13.8 points per game. That is the best cover margin in any two-year span in the NCAA tournament since 1985, minimum five games played. Last year, UConn covered by 14.6 points per game, the second-best mark of any champion since 1985 (Villanova, 16.3 in 2016). This year, UConn isn’t far behind, covering by 12.5 points per game.

Oddsmakers have not made it easy for the Huskies. UConn has been favored by an average of 15.4 points per game through four games. In the past 18 tournaments, the only teams to have a bigger average point spread entering the Final Four were Kentucky (-18.6) in 2015 and Gonzaga (-17.4) in 2021, both of which entered the Final Four with undefeated records.

That trend has continued to the Final Four, as UConn is the 14th team in the past 60 seasons to be a double-digit favorite in the Final Four according to SportsOddsHistory.com. Each of the previous 13 double-digit favorites won those games.

Not surprisingly, the Huskies are -200 favorites entering the Final Four at ESPN BET, tied for the second-biggest favorite this century behind only the ’21 Gonzaga squad (-220). Unlike that Zags team, UConn hopes to finish the job and do it in style.

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