UConn, which beat Illinois last week, and Alabama, which beat Clemson, will face each other on Saturday for the right to advance to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament’s championship game.

The No. 1-seeded Huskies are favored by 11.5 points, even though this game is taking place in the Final Four. As a result, the fourth-seeded Crimson Tide, an SEC team that won the NCAA’s West Regional, comes into this game as a significant underdog.

Here are our picks and predictions for the matchup.

Alabama vs. Connecticut Odds, Spread, Moneyline, Over/Under – March Madness Final Four Betting Lines 4/6

Moneyline: UConn (-834), Alabama (+550)
Spread: UConn -11.5 (-115), Alabama +11.5 (-105)
Total: Over/Under 160.5 points

UConn vs. Alabama Injury Report

Connecticut has no injuries to report. Alabama, on the other hand, has been without guard Davin Cosby Jr. for the entire NCAA Tournament due to a fractured foot. In addition, Crimson Tide guard Latrell Wrightsell Jr. is listed as probable for this game. Wrightsell suffered a head injury in Alabama’s second-round game against Grand Canyon, but he is now expected to return just in time for the Final Four.

UConn vs. Alabama Prediction and Pick

The defending NCAA champion Connecticut Huskies are looking exactly like the juggernaut everyone expected them to be in this year’s NCAA Tournament. UConn has benefited from an absolute coaching masterclass by head coach Dan Hurley. This year’s UConn roster is almost entirely different from the one that won the title a year ago, which makes everything the Huskies been able to accomplish that much more impressive. Indeed, this year’s Huskies team might actually be better than last year’s.

UConn convincingly beat Illinois in its Elite Eight game last Saturday, marking yet another win by a double-digit point margin during this tournament run. The Huskies haven’t truly been tested yet, and at this point, it’s hard to say if they ever will be. When it finally seemed as though UConn might have met its match in the Illini -- who kept the score close early in the game -- Donovan Clingan spearheaded an unbelievable 30-0 run that put the game out of reach with 12 minutes remaining.

That's the thing about this UConn team. Even when Tristen Newton’s shot isn’t falling as it usually does, Hurley’s superb coaching enables the Huskies to keep manufacturing opportunities, and Connecticut players are right there to step up whenever needed.

If Clingan can continue to play at his current level, it could be absolutely huge for UConn in the Final Four. This year’s NCAA Tournament has shown that having a big man who can dominate the paint and get to the line is a formula for success. That has certainly been the case for Purdue and NC State, the two teams remaining on the other side of the Final Four bracket.

Perhaps even more impressive than their offense, however, is the Huskies’ defense. UConn is far and away the most disciplined team in this tournament, and that has been evident in the Huskies’ relentless defensive rebounding and ability to take care of the ball. No tournament opponent has been able to score 60 points against UConn this year, while the Huskies have scored at least 75 in every outing. The bottom line is that Alabama is going to have to bring its “A” game to win on Saturday.

A Crimson Tide victory is certainly possible, since Alabama has been one of the hottest teams in this year’s NCAA Tournament. The most recent Tide victim was Clemson, and that game followed ‘Bama’s monstrous upset win over North Carolina.

Alabama native Mark Sears played a huge role in beating the Tigers last weekend – knocking down seven threes to give the Tide the lead after they had fallen behind early in the game. For his efforts, Sears was named the Most Outstanding Player in the NCAA West Regional.

The Crimson Tide attack is a five-headed monster, and any one of this team’s stars can have a scoring eruption at a moment’s notice. Against UNC, that player was Grant Nelson, who scored 24 points and led Alabama to victory in the waning moments with incredibly clutch free throws. He wasn’t alone, however, as three other Tide starters scored at least 18 points.

One of Alabama’s biggest weaknesses over its past two matchups has been turnovers, because the Crimson Tide coughed the ball up a total of 21 times in their wins over UNC and Clemson. That could be a problem against a UConn team that is very opportunistic and doesn’t make a ton of turnover-worthy plays. In addition, even though Alabama has been great on offense, its defense has struggled over the past two games, giving up a total of 169 points.

UConn has lost only three games in its 2023-24 schedule, and the Huskies did not score more than 66 points in any of those losses. Those were also three of the team’s five lowest single-game point totals throughout the season. On the other hand, the Huskies are undefeated this season in games when they have scored more than 66 points. That spells bad news for Alabama.

Meanwhile, all of Alabama’s losses came in high-scoring games when opponents registered at least 81 points. No team has been truly able to shut down the Tide offense this season, but if UConn can at least manage to keep pace with Alabama, a shootout could result – and that’s exactly the type of situation in which ‘Bama is vulnerable.

This should be an exciting game with a ton of back-and-forth points, but it's hard not to pick UConn to win because the Huskies simply look far stronger than any other team in this year’s NCAA Tournament. Alabama has had an amazing run to date, and the Crimson Tide made history in securing the school’s first ever Final Four appearance, but the Huskies have so much more experience in big games such as this one.

Nevertheless, ’Bama does have a real chance to win. This team is in the Final Four because of its outstanding shooting and, as everyone saw against Clemson, it has the rare ability to shoot 3-pointers at a very high percentage and score points at will.

If the Tide want to beat UConn, Alabama’s players will have to feed the ball to whichever player has the hot hand while limiting turnovers, errors, and poor shot selection as much as possible. The Huskies are an entirely different beast than any team the Crimson Tide faced so far, and the underdog will undoubtedly get punished for any of the small mistakes it was able to get away with against other opponents.

Despite all the scoring talent on the floor, this game should be won on the defensive side of the court. Alabama needs this to be a shootout, and it likely won’t stand a chance if it can’t score at least 70 points.

The Pick: Alabama +11.5 (-105)

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Points Total

A look at betting lines for this game shows that the spread makes UConn an 11.5-point favorite, which feels about right since no opponent has come that close to the Huskies throughout this tournament. However, it's not hard to envision Alabama covering here.

The moneyline is -834 for UConn and +550 for Alabama, and I think the Tide becomes a great pick here for the value. At the end of the day, it's really hard to judge how close these two teams are in terms of skill, because they haven’t played each other at all this season and we have seen other teams like Illinois look great in this tournament before being humbled by UConn.

I’m picking Alabama to cover the spread in what should be UConn’s toughest task of the season so far.

The Pick: Alabama +11.5 (-105)

The over/under total for this game is currently 160.5 points, which is relatively high but pretty feels reachable given how well ‘Bama has played in this tournament. It will likely be even more reachable if there are some desperation fouls toward the end of the game.

UConn has prided itself on forcing opponents into low-scoring nights, but if any team in the nation can defy that trend, it’s Alabama.

The Pick: Over 160.5 Points (-110)

Odds are subject to change*

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