While the NCAA championship board shows that the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Gonzaga Bulldogs are prohibitive favorites, the game lines make the underdogs look enticing,
North Carolina is the +140 favorite in championship futures entering the Final Four in Glendale, with Gonzaga a second favorite at +180, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Their respective opponents in the semifinals, the Oregon Ducks (+550) and South Carolina Gamecocks (+750), are longer shots.
Gonzaga is listed as a seven-point favorite against South Carolina with a 137.5-point total. Gonzaga, which is 21-7-2 against the spread across its last 30 games, has had an unfailing edge in low-post size with C Przemek Karnowski and C Zach Collins.
The main question with the Bulldogs is whether PG Nigel Williams-Goss and the other distributors will be able to break down South Carolina’s defense – which forces 14 turnovers per game – and feed the big men.
South Carolina, led by SG Sindarius Thornwell and PG Duane Notice, has won four consecutive NCAA tournament games as a underdog. They are also 4-1 ATS in their last five games as a underdog of 7.5 points or less.
The total has gone under in four of Gonzaga’s last five games as a favorite. The total has gone under in 21 of South Carolina’s last 30 games as an underdog.
North Carolina is listed as a five-point favorite against Oregon with a 152-point total. Floor leader Joel Berry (ankle) will have his first full-court practice of the week on Friday for North Carolina, which is 6-3-1 ATS in their last 10 tournament games as a favorite.
A fully able-bodied Berry would help North Carolina with maintaining an efficient offense that minimizes empty possessions and gets the ball to scorers such as Justin Jackson and Isaiah Hicks.
Oregon, with leaders such as PF Dillon Brooks, SF Tyler Dorsey and SG Dylan Ennis, is capable of matching up with North Carolina athletically. One concern with the Ducks, who are 10-3 ATS in their last 13 games on a Saturday, though, is their late-game execution, since they rely on freshman PG Payton Pritchard and are inefficient at free-throw shooting. Those could be hard to get away with against a team the calibre of North Carolina.
The total has gone over in seven of North Carolina’s last 10 NCAA tournament games. The total has gone over in eight of Oregon’s last 11 games.