NCAA Tournament Odds: Gonzaga Slight Underdogs Vs. North Carolina In National Title Game


April 3, 2017

The Gonzaga Bulldogs will be looking to become the first West Coast Conference school to claim college basketball?s national championship since San Francisco won consecutive titles 61 years ago when they battle the North Carolina Tar Heels on Monday as narrow 1.5-point underdogs at sportsbooks monitored by

The No. 1 seed in the West Region at this year?s tournament, Gonzaga advanced to the national championship for the first time in school history after escaping with a 77-73 win over No. 7 South Carolina in the Final Four, leaving it unbeaten in eight games ahead of Monday night?s Bulldogs vs. Tar Heels betting matchup at University of Phoenix Stadium.

The Bulldogs? 79-71 loss to BYU as 20.5-point chalk in late February represents the only blemish on an otherwise sparkling 37-1 straight-up record this season, but the squad has struggled at the sportsbooks since mid-February, going 4-6-1 against the spread in their past 11 outings, and covering just once in five contests at this year?s tournament.

Relatively low point production has contributed to Gonzaga?s uneven performance at the sportsbooks, with the Bulldogs tallying over 79 points just twice in their past nine games after cracking 90 points in five of their previous eight, going 6-1-1 against the spread and forcing the point total over on five occasions during that stretch.

Monday?s matchup also marks the first time since a February 2016 date with BYU that Gonzaga has been pegged as the underdog on the college basketball lines. The Bulldogs picked up a 71-68 win over the Cougars as 3-point road underdogs in that contest, but have been a shaky bet when sporting positive odds, going 1-5 SU and 3-3 ATS over their past six.

The Tar Heels return to the national championship game for a second straight year, in search of their sixth title in program history.

North Carolina came up short in last season?s championship game, falling 77-74 to Villanova as two-point chalk, and opened the current campaign amid tempered expectations, trailing the favorites at +1600 on the national championship odds. They failed to emerge as the favorite until drawing even with rival Duke at +600 just days before the start of March Madness.

The Tar Heels? recent rise on the March Madness odds has come despite their failure to post ATS wins in three of five tournament contests and their 7-8-2 ATS record over their past 17 games. UNC failed to cover while claiming tournament victories over Kentucky and Oregon by a combined three points but has performed well when favored by 1.5 or fewer points, going 7-2 SU and ATS in its past nine such outings.

Thumbnail photo via Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports Images

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