By Dan Kilbridge | | 6 mins
North Carolina vs Kansas National Championship Odds, Picks & Predictions
Saturday’s Final Four provided one of the greatest games in college basketball betting history, a moment that couldn’t be scripted with North Carolina ending Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski’s career in an epic game that featured 18 lead changes and somehow exceeded the hype.
That was just the warm-up for Monday’s national title game, with the No. 8 Tar Heels set to face No. 1 Kansas at the Superdome in New Orleans.
Kansas is listed as a -4 favorite at sportsbooks for what will be the Jayhawks’ third March Madness national championship appearance under Bill Self. North Carolina is an underdog for the fourth time in the last five games as the Tar Heels look to continue the dream run under first-year coach Hubert Davis.
Kansas has won the last three meetings between these two teams in the NCAA Tournament, most recently in 2013. This is also a rematch of the 1957 national championship game which saw North Carolina hang on for a one-point win over a Wilt Chamberlain-led Jayhawks team.
North Carolina vs. Kansas Best Bets & Predictions
North Carolina vs. Kansas Key Matchups
Armando Bacot vs. Jalen Wilson
There was a running theme in North Carolina’s upset wins over Duke in the regular-season finale and Final Four – dominance on the glass. The Tar Heels were outrebounded in a 20-point home loss to Duke earlier this season, but they held a 50-41 edge Saturday thanks to an incredible individual effort from Bacot. The junior forward had 21 boards and toughed it out on a bum ankle late to help put North Carolina over the top. He’s had 43 rebounds in just the past two games and secured 10 or more in every tournament game. But his health is now in serious question. Wilson isn’t a big scorer for the Jayhawks, but he’s coming off four straight double-digit rebounding performances and needs to do even more tonight against Bacot for the Jayhawks to feel good about a cover.
Ochai Agbaji vs. Leaky Black
Agbaji is an absolute menace when he’s getting good looks. The senior guard and unanimous Big 12 Player of the Year had 21 points in Saturday’s blowout win over Villanova, and he’s 8 of 9 from deep over the last two games. Black is one of the best defenders in the country and should be on Agbaji for the majority, creating the most intriguing individual matchup of the night. He was a big reason Duke managed to shoot just 22.7% from deep on the night and the Jayhawks are going to have to change the way they operate if he’s keeping clamps on Agbaji in the early going.
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North Carolina vs. Kansas Point Spread
Kansas is the -4 favorite here and that’s nothing new. The Jayhawks have been favored in all but one game this season and this was the exact same line on the Villanova game, with Kansas easily covering in an 81-65 drubbing. The Tar Heels are getting points on sports betting apps for the fourth time in five games, and they’ve covered five consecutive games as an underdog dating back to early February.
Public betting is very close to a 50/50 split and could change in the hours leading up to the game in New Orleans.
We liked Kansas in this spot regardless of the opponent. Saturday’s Final Four matchup was an emotionally-draining, larger-than-life spectacle, and it came at a physical cost with Bacot suffering an ankle injury. The number looks good and we’re laying the points with Kansas -4 in the National Championship.
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Best Moneyline Bet: Kansas or North Carolina?
The Jayhawks have been the most balanced team all year and barely broke a sweat in the second half against the Wildcats. North Carolina has been in dog fights the whole tournament and just emptied the tank again in that epic win over the Blue Devils. We think it catches up to the Tar Heels tonight.
North Carolina is undoubtedly playing like a top-seed and didn’t get any weird bounces or flukes to reach New Orleans. But Kansas has been the far more consistent team all season, with five of its six losses coming against NCAA Tournament teams.
The Jayhawks have been our pick from the beginning of March Madness and we like them in this spot even more now given the circumstances. We’re taking Kansas moneyline, with -190 college basketball odds currently available as of this writing.
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Kansas vs. North Carolina Total
The total is settling in around 152 on betting apps after a pair of high-scoring semifinal matchups.
The total went Over in Kansas’ win over Villanova and North Carolina’s win over Duke, and it’s now gone Over in three of five tournament games for the Tar Heels. Kansas has seen more low-scoring affairs, with the total going Under in three of five games for the Jayhawks.
That’s partly because Kansas’ defense still isn’t appreciated enough. The Over is 20-17-2 in games involving the Jayhawks this season, so that will likely generate some more betting action tonight. But it’s all about the number and this is the third-highest total for a Kansas game all season and just the second total higher than 150 since late December.
Legs might be a bit heavy after Saturday’s semifinals and we could see a slower pace than many expect. We like Under 152 in the National Championship.
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