NCAA Tournament Odds: ACC Powerhouses Among Early National Title Favorites

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March 14, 2016

Following a loss to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the quarterfinals of last week’s ACC Tournament the Duke Blue Devils enter the NCAA Tournament as the No. 4 seed in the West Region of the March Madness bracket.

Duke will open the tournament against the UNC-Wilmington Seahawks in the first round as nine-point betting favorites at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The defending national champions’ early exit from their conference tournament extends their recent slide to 3-4 straight-up entering Thursday afternoon’s Seahawks vs. Blue Devils betting matchup at Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, R.I., and marked their fifth straight loss against the spread.

Duke has been a recent disappointment at the sportsbooks, going 1-6 ATS in its past seven while favored by seven or more and just 5-11-1 ATS in its past 17 overall.

The Seahawks return to the Big Dance for the first time since 2006 after claiming the Colonial Athletic Association title with an 80-73 upset victory over Hofstra as two-point underdogs. UNC-Wilmington is 16-2 SU over its past 18 games but winless SU in its past three March Madness contests and were 67-57 losers in its only previous meeting with Duke back in 1982.

A pair of ACC squads get the nod as No. 1 seeds, with the Virginia Cavaliers topping the bracket in the Midwest, while North Carolina leads the way in the East.

The Tar Heels followed up their regular season conference title win with a 61-57 victory as 2.5-point chalk over Virginia in the ACC Tournament championship game, extending their SU win streak to five games, and await the winner of Tuesday’s First Four matchup between Fairleigh Dickinson and Florida Gulf Coast.

The Cavaliers’ loss to North Carolina ended a five-game SU and ATS winning streak, but Virginia will have a chance to get back on track when it takes on No. 16 Hampton on Thursday as massive 24-point chalk.

The Kansas Jayhawks were perched as the No. 1 team in the AP Top 25 for the past two weeks and open March Madness as the top seed in the South, taking on No. 16 Austin Peay on Thursday as big 26-point favorites on the betting lines.

The Jayhawks ride a 14-game win streak, 11-3 ATS, while the surging Governors have won six straight SU, 5-1 ATS, including four in four days last week, all as betting underdogs, to capture the Ohio Valley Conference crown.

The Oregon Ducks have emerged as the top seed in the West and will face the winner of Wednesday’s First Four clash between Holy Cross and Southern, in which the Jaguars are favored by three points.

Thumbnail photo via Mark Dolejs/USA TODAY Sports Images

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