After capping a roller-coaster regular season with a 75-69 win over Notre Dame as 4 1/2-point favorites in last weekend’s Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament final, the Duke Blue Devils have vaulted to the top of the 2017 NCAA Tournament odds as +600 co-favorites with the North Carolina Tar Heels at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
The Blue Devils closed out their schedule with just one straight-up win in their final four contests, but they dominated with four SU and against-the-spread wins en route to their first ACC Tournament championship in six years.
Duke sits as the No. 2 seed in the East Region of the March Madness bracket, and is pegged as an 18 1/2-point betting favorite for Friday night’s first-round matchup against the Troy Trojans in Greenville, S.C.
Despite falling to Duke 93-83 as four-point chalk in the ACC Tournament semifinals, the Tar Heels enter March Madness as the No. 1 seed in the South Region and face 16th-seeded Texas Southern as massive 26 1/2-point chalk Friday afternoon.
UNC has been anointed as a No. 1 seed seven times since 2005. However, the Tar Heels have emerged as national champions just twice as a No. 1 during that stretch, while failing to make it past the Elite Eight on two occasions.
The Villanova Wildcats sit atop the East Region bracket and enter this year’s tournament as a +750 bet to become the first squad to repeat as national champions in a decade.
The 15-3 Wildcats ran away with the Big East regular-season title and dominated in the conference tournament. However, Villanova is a worrisome 6-9 ATS in its past 15 games, and has enjoyed little success in two March Madness appearances as a top seed, suffering a stunning second-round loss to North Carolina State two years ago, and failing to get past the Elite Eight in 2006.
The Kansas Jayhawks have emerged as the top seed in the Midwest and as a strong +800 bet to win the NCAA Tournament, ahead of the Kentucky Wildcats at +850 and the Gonzaga Bulldogs at +1000, while Arizona and UCLA are knotted at +1200.
The Jayhawks saw an eight-game SU win streak end with a stunning 85-82 loss to TCU as 8 1/2-point chalk on the college basketball betting lines in the Big 12 Tournament quarterfinals, while Gonzaga begins the march toward its first national title on a 32-1 SU run, and as the No. 1 seed in the West Region.
The Pac-12 champion Arizona Wildcats look to atone for last year’s first-round exit, while the Southeastern Conference champion Kentucky Wildcats ride an 11-game SU win streak and will try to avoid a second straight loss on opening weekend.
Thumbnail photo via Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports Images