March Madness Championship Betting Preview

UNC Tar Heels

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Many sports fans wanted to see coach K’s last dance go all the way.

I even heard multiple UNC fans over live radio this week say they’d ultimately be happy for Duke and the legendary head coach if they defeated the Tar Heels on Saturday night. No. 8 UNC defeated the No. 2 Duke Blue Devils 81-77 in a thrilling Final Four matchup. No. 1 Kansas took care of business against No. 2 Villanova, and the championship is set to tip off tonight at 9:20 PM EST. Let’s take a look at the best bets of the night.

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Spread: No. 8 UNC Tarheels at No.1 Kansas Jayhawks -4

The four-point spread for tonight’s game is close. Other books are listing Kansas at -4.5 but FanDuel has this game currently listed as a four-point spread. However, it makes the most betting sense to take North Carolina +4 with -105 odds, instead of Kansas -4. If you agree and like UNC, you may want to check out other books where they are getting better odds.

Kansas remains the favorite for tonight’s game as they have cruised all the way to the championship without much difficulty. North Carolina will not give this game up easily, and I think they have a good chance to win. UNC’s success began with a 93-86 win over No. 1 Baylor in a huge second-round upset. They then took out No. 4 UCLA during the Sweet Sixteen and annihilated the Cinderella No. 15 Saint Peter’s in the Elite Eight. Beating Duke on Saturday was the icing on top of the cake for UNC’s phenomenal performance in this tournament. Jalen Wilson and David McCormick of the Jayhawks are solid down low but may struggle against UNC’s Armando Bacot, who hauled in 21 boards against Duke Saturday night. Although Naismith Player of the Year Finalist Ochai Agbaji finally broke out of his mini-slump in the Elite Eight and Final Four (18 points against Miami and 21 points against Villanova), North Carolina’s R.J. Davis is just as capable of putting points on the scoreboard, knocking down 30 points against No. 1 Baylor in the second round and 18 points against Duke in the Final Four. I say the Tar Heels keep things interesting and cover the four-point spread tonight. In fact, North Carolina has a legitimate shot at winning this game outright.

The Pick: UNC Tarheels, +4

Moneyline: UNC +158 / Kansas -192

Whenever a No. 1 seed plays against a lower seed such as No. 8 UNC in this case, the odds cannot have UNC as the favorites despite how much success they’ve had. Kansas has done what they’ve been expected to do, and to be fair, they are the only No. 1 seed that made it to the Final Four. Nothing can take that away. But a -192 moneyline wager for Kansas tonight simply isn’t worth it unless you’re betting big (At least $50 - $100). Therefore, if you are a smaller bettor, it makes much more sense to put $10 to $20 on UNC considering the odds. I really think this will be a more even game than the moneyline currently indicates, but Kansas is undeniably the favorite. Between the spread, moneyline, and total points, I would advise bettors to avoid the moneyline tonight as it seems like it was designed to break people’s hearts. I am not placing a bet on the moneyline tonight, but if I did, I would take UNC at +158.

The Pick: UNC Tarheels +158

Total Points: Over / Under 151.5 Points

UNC has averaged 78.1 points per game this season. Throughout the tournament, they scored the following totals in each game from the first round to the Final Four: 95 points against No. 9 Marquette, 93 points against No. 1 Baylor, 73 points against No. 4 UCLA, 69 points against No. 15 Saint Peters, and 81 Points against No. 2 Duke. North Carolina has averaged 82.2 PPG throughout March Madness, four points more per game than the team’s regular-season scoring average. It’s also important to recognize that UNC’s Elite Eight matchup against Saint Peters was a particularly low-scoring contest.

Kansas averaged a nearly identical 78.4 PPG this season but actually averaged slightly less during the tournament, despite winning each of their games by at least five points. I think this will be a relatively high-scoring affair tonight as both teams like to push the pace and are more known for their offenses than their defenses. Both teams should produce or exceed their respective averages (combined season total of 156.5 points). Finally, Kansas was lights out from the field against Villanova in the Final Four by draining 13 three-pointers and shooting 52.4% from deep. I think Kansas will continue to knock down shots at a high rate but UNC will fight back, just as they did against the Blue Devils. Therefore, tonight it makes sense to take the Over at 151.5 points.

The Pick: Total Points, Over 151.5 Points

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North Carolina to Cover +7.5 and 150+ Total Points Scored in Game

This is the best bet of the night because North Carolina could lose by seven points (though I think they have a good shot at winning) and the total is two points fewer than the current Over / Under (151.5). FanDuel is offering these boosted odds with a $50 maximum bet per user. The current spread for UNC is +4. This promotion is a no-brainer and just another reason to create an account with FanDuel Sportsbook.

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