WNCAAB predictions & picks: Best bets for Final Four
Mike Ortiz Jr. makes his 2023 NCAAW Tournament picks and predictions for the Final Four, with two best bets.
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2023 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament – March Madness Best Bets for Final Four: WNCAAB Odds, Picks and Predictions
LSU vs Virginia Tech Odds, Spread, Moneyline, Over/Under - WNCAAB Betting Lines 3/31 Moneyline: LSU (-142), Virginia Tech (+105)
Spread: LSU -1.5, Virginia Tech +1.5
Total: Over/Under 133.5 points
LSU vs Virginia Tech Prediction and Pick You don’t often see a No. 1 seed as the underdog, especially in the Final Four. However, that’s the case here for Virginia Tech, since this LSU team is a true contender for the national championship.
It started in the off-season, when former Ohio State guard Kateri Poole reached out to former Maryland forward Angel Reese and suggested the longtime friends transfer to LSU. Reese was a bit hesitant, since she already had her sights set on South Carolina or Tennessee, but she visited LSU, and the rest is history. Nearly a year later, Poole and Reese are together competing for the NCAA title.
Reese leads all LSU players with 23.2 points and 15.7 rebounds per game. Guards Alexis Morris and Flau’Jae Johnson, two other key contributors for the Tigers, provide additional scoring support. While Johnson has had a rough tournament offensively, her defense has been top-tier. Meanwhile, Morris is coming off a 21-point game in the Tigers’ 54-42 win over Miami.
Defense has been LSU’s backbone, as the Tigers have suffocated their opponents on the way to Dallas, but Virginia Tech’s strength has been its offense. Talented at every position -- with four starters averaging double-digits -- this Hokies team will not go down easily. Just as LSU is led by Reese, Virginia Tech looks to 6-foot-6 center Elizabeth Kitley, the team's leading scorer and rebounder, as its key player.
Kitley is coming off a 25-point, 12-rebound performance in the Hokies’ win over Ohio State and will look to make her post presence known on Friday. It doesn’t stop with her, though, because this Virginia Tech team can really spread defenses out with its 3-point shooting ability. From Georgia Amoore to Cayla King, Virginia Tech has a backcourt that can ruin an opponent’s night from behind the arc.
It’ll be defense vs. offense on Friday night, and LSU will show that even in the new age of basketball -- where 3-point shooting has become so crucial and high-powered offense can win games -- defense still wins championships. Reese will shut down the post, and Kitley will struggle to get anything going for Virginia Tech, forcing Amoore and King to carry the load offensively. Johnson will likely guard Amoore and make it difficult for her to get going offensively. If Reese and Johnson can lock up their matchups defensively, LSU should cruise to both victory and the national championship game.
The Pick: LSU ML (-142)
Iowa vs South Carolina Odds, Spread, Moneyline, Over/Under - WNCAAB Betting Lines 3/31 Moneyline: Iowa (+450), South Carolina (-833)
Spread: Iowa +11.5, South Carolina -11.5
Total: Over/Under 149.5 points
Iowa vs South Carolina Prediction and Pick South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley has changed the landscape of women’s basketball. For decades, the Connecticut Huskies and coach Geno Auriemma were the face of the women’s college game. However, with another national championship on the horizon in 2023, South Carolina could send shockwaves through their sport.
As good as they are, the Gamecocks can’t overlook the Iowa Hawkeyes on Friday night in Dallas. South Carolina’s Final Four opponent can also put up a lot of points. Iowa’s roster includes the top scorer in college basketball, Caitlin Clark, who is coming off a 41-point, 12-assist, and 10-rebound game in the Hawkeyes’ Elite Eight win over Louisville on Sunday. Clark had a season-high eight 3-pointers in that game.
South Carolina has been a juggernaut this season with a balanced attack led by guard Zia Cooke and a forceful presence in the paint from Aliyah Boston, but the Gamecocks will have their hands full with Clark.
No matter what happens, Iowa will put up points in this game, since Clark and three teammates have all shot close to 40 percent from 3-point range this season. In addition to Clark’s eight 3-pointers on Sunday, there were eight more from the rest of the Hawkeyes. Gabbie Marshall and Kate Martin will spread the floor offensively with Clark, while McKenna Warnock will control the post and knock down a few 3-pointers as well. South Carolina will be tested on Friday in a high-scoring affair.
The Pick: Over 149.5 (-117)