Women’s 2023 NCAA Tournament Final Four Best Value Bets & Parlays

Mar 29, 2023 - 4:52 PM

South Carolina has won 42 consecutive games, are the defending National Champions, and are deservedly the heavy favorite to win it all again this year…but where’s the fun in having to fork over upwards of $400 just to profit $100?

Instead, I’m going to highlight the value in this year’s Women’s Final Four below.

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Finding the Value Bets in the Women’s Final Four (2023)

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook

(2) Iowa Hawkeyes (+500) vs. (1) South Carolina Gamecocks (-11.5)

The aforementioned defending National Champion is undefeated at 36-0 this season. The last time South Carolina lost was March 6, 2022, in the SEC Title game to Kentucky, and even that loss was just by 2, 64-62. Aliyah Boston and the Gamecocks are dead set on becoming the first undefeated, as well as back-to-back, champions since Breanna Stewart and UConn in 2016. South Carolina plays suffocating defense, leading the country in Points Against (51.1) and Scoring Margin (29.5).

Caitlin Clark (27.3 ppg, 8.6 apg, 7.3 rpg) is coming off of a 41-point triple-double in Iowa’s Elite 8 victory over Louisville and advances to her first Final Four and Iowa’s second all-time and first since 1993. Clark became the first person, man or woman, to ever post a 40+ point triple-double in the NCAA Tournament, and it’s safe to say she’s the toughest individual test that South Carolina has faced during their win streak. It was also Clark’s 5th triple-double of the season and 11th of her career. Clark is third in the nation in scoring average, first in assists, and first in three-pointers made, averaging 3.5 per contest.

It’s nearly impossible to responsibly bet against South Carolina straight up at this point, as they have shown nothing but a will to win for over a year now. Maryland “had them on the ropes,” holding a six-point lead after the first quarter before the Gamecocks outscored them 23-9 in the second. They took an eight-point lead into halftime before extending the lead to as much as 16 in the second half. However, the Terps still covered the 15-point spread on Monday, and Clark’s scoring ability will keep Iowa in the game and should allow them to cover this matchup’s double-digit spread.

Lisa Bluder has guided the Hawkeyes to their first Final Four in her 23 years at Iowa, but it will take near perfection on her team’s part to reach the National Championship game. Iowa leads Women’s D-I in scoring at 87.6 points per game, but South Carolina isn’t far behind, averaging 80.4 (7th) per contest. However, Iowa’s defense is ranked 318th compared to SC’s #1-ranked defense. If Clark isn’t her usual walking bucket self on Friday, this game could get out of hand. That being said, all the pressure remains on South Carolina, and if Clark is feeling it early and SC wants to give her the old double-team treatment or run a Box and 1 defense, Clark has the ability to find her teammates. Monica Czinano and sharpshooter McKenna Warnock average 17.2 and 11.1 points, respectively, and are more than capable of scoring in bunches if SC chooses to play 3-on-4 against the Hawkeyes not named Caitlin Clark.

Caitlin Clark is a revolutionary talent and has the ability to carry the Hawkeyes to victory in this one, but Iowa’s margin for error is razor-thin, and even her going supernova might not be enough. However, at +500, an outright Iowa victory carries a lot of juice, so if you’re really feeling froggish, leap.

I will be taking Caitlin Clark and Co. to cover in this one.

Bet (Leg 1): Iowa +11.5 (-110)

(3) LSU Tigers (-2) vs. (1) Virginia Tech Hokies (+115)

LSU returns to the Final Four for the 6th time in program history and the first since 2008 when they reach their 5th straight. With all of the program’s success and despite being clearly under-seeded in this tournament, this season’s 32-2 Tigers might just be the best squad in their history. Their two losses were to the undefeated Gamecocks back in February and then to Tennessee in the SEC Tournament. How they were given a 3-seed after going 28-2 is beyond me. The Tigers’ offense ranks 5th in the country, averaging 81.8 points per game, and their scoring margin (25.1) ranks second only to South Carolina. Their defense, while not as suffocating as SC, still ranks 24th at 56.7 points allowed on average. However, despite their offensive prowess, the Tigers have been prone to scoring droughts this tournament, as evidenced in their 54-42 rock fight against Miami in the Elite 8. They have also not scored more than 66 points in the three games since their 73-50 trouncing of Hawaii in the opening round. Still, they have held opponents to 49.25 points in this year’s tourney.

It takes great shooting and ball control to beat the Tigers, and the Hokies do just that.

Georgia Amoore (16.3 ppg, 5.0 apg, 3.0 rpg) is third in the nation in three-pointers, averaging 3.3 per game. In fact, she is just two three-pointers away from an NCAA Tournament record. She should set that record on Friday night and could have the chance to add to it in the National Championship on Sunday.

Not only can Amoore shoot lights out, but she also has the handles and ball control to take on any defensive pressure LSU throws at her and the Hokies. Days after Ohio State forced the mighty UConn Huskies to turn the ball over 26 times with their full-court press, Amoore, and the Hokies rendered the same press obsolete by breaking it consistently in the first half and only committing 13 turnovers.

Part of the reason for Virginia Tech’s composure is that as a junior, Aussie Amoore is one of the youngest players on this Hokies squad that boasts nine seniors. This team plays like a well-oiled machine that shows the chemistry that builds over years of playing together. Of all the chemistry on head coach Kenny Brooks’ Hokies, no two players are more connected than Amoore and 6-foot-6 senior Elizabeth Kitley (18.2 ppg, 10.7 rpg). The two teammates spent all of the COVID-19 lockdown quarantined at Kitley’s parents’ house as Amoore did not return to her home country of Australia out of fear she might have trouble returning due to the pandemic. That time together galvanized their bond, and it has shown up on the court in spades as they have led the Hokies to their first-ever Final Four and the best season in program history in their final year together.

Virginia Tech also plays great defense, not top ten like the Gamecocks and Tigers, but at 57.1 Points Allowed, they rank 26th in the country. They also play bend but don’t break defense, as evidenced when Buckeye sharpshooter Taylor Mikesell made five three-pointers in the first half before finishing with just seven after the Hokie defense made adjustments.

The 1-seeded Hokies heading into their Final Four matchup as underdogs isn’t that surprising against the stellar and aforementioned under-seeded LSU defense, but I will back the Hokies and take the value offered in the juiced plus-moneyline.

Bet (Leg 2): Virginia Tech moneyline (+115)

Parlay Odds: +310

Longshot VT & Iowa Moneyline Parlay Odds: (+1190)

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