College Madness Betting

No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 1 North Carolina: It’s Go Time

You never know what you’re going to get when you throw 68 Division I teams into the March Madness grinder, but Monday’s National Championship Game (9:20 PM ET, CBS) is about as good as it gets. The No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs will face the No. 1 North Carolina Tar Heels in Glendale, and at press time, it’s the Tar Heels sitting pretty as 1.5-point favorites, holding steady since the open.

North Carolina (32-7 SU, 19-16-3 ATS) is the more popular team and has a long history of success at the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. The Bulldogs (37-1 SU, 23-10-2 ATS) have plenty of fans, too, but not as much street cred coming out of the West Coast Conference. Gonzaga racked up massive double-digit wins this year over lesser opposition. Meanwhile, the Tar Heels had a few missteps against teams like Duke and Virginia, but that’s to be expected playing in the tough Atlantic Coast Conference.

Fast Break

Comparing these two programs may be difficult, but you can count on both teams to crank up the offense Monday night. These are two of the faster commodities you’ll find in Division I, and Gonzaga can shoot the lights out from anywhere on the court. The Tar Heels do most of their work inside; however, they also lead the nation in offensive rebounding, giving them ample opportunities for second-chance buckets.

That makes Monday’s total of 155 points an intriguing target. The betting lines say this should be a close one, so the added threat of overtime makes the over even more tempting. But keep in mind that these are also two of the top defensive teams in college basketball, and Gonzaga may be the best of the bunch. The under is a combined 39-32-1 for both clubs on the season, and they’re all knotted up at 5-5 for the Tournament.


Handle With Care

Again, these early odds point to a very close matchup on paper. The Tar Heels are only –125 on the moneyline. You can also get North Carolina at –0.5 on the first-half line with a total of 72. Monday’s game could end up breaking all the records for both viewership and betting handle. Live betting should be off the charts, and the NCAAB props market will be loaded for bear.

Let’s not forget about all those March Madness brackets, either. Millions of people have the Tar Heels winning the Tournament, and millions more have Gonzaga penciled in as their champions. For those whose brackets are still alive, Monday’s final means everything. May the best team win.


*Odds as of April 3, 2017