The 2022 college basketball National Championship will be played between UNC and Kansas on Monday in New Orleans, LA, and our experts offer up their top picks on the spread and Over/Under.
The top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks are 4-point favorites against the North Carolina Tar Heels for the college basketball National Championship at Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, LA. The total is set at 151.5 points.
Below, our college basketball experts weigh in with their picks against the spread and Over/Under between UNC and Kansas in the National Championship (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).
UNC-Kansas National Championship Expert Picks
SEE ALSO: North Carolina vs. Kansas Picks
UNC-Kansas Expert ATS Picks
North Carolina +4 (-110)
It is easy to be enamored with Kansas’ last 60 minutes, starting with the second half against Miami, and say that it will be too much for UNC to handle. However, the Tar Heels have looked like the best team all tournament, as their scoring margin (winning by an average of 14.0 points per game) is the best of any team in the field. UNC is not as deep as Kansas, but its starting five might be more talented man-for-man. A lack of depth has not hurt the Tar Heels to this point, as head coach Hubert Davis brilliantly managed foul trouble and a thin bench in wins over Baylor and Duke.
North Carolina has the size to negate Kansas forward David McCormack, so do not expect the Jayhawks' big man to come close to the season-high 25 points he scored against Villanova in the Final Four.
Duke entered its Final Four game against UNC shooting 53.8% for the tournament, its second-best rate in school history. However, the Tar Heels defense limited the Blue Devils to 41.7% from the field and 5-for-22 from 3-point range. If North Carolina again plays defense like that, it will cut down the nets for the seventh time in school history. - Spector
North Carolina +4 (-110)
I expect North Carolina to win this game outright, so I will definitely take the +4 on the point spread. As I noted in my previous picks regarding North Carolina, you are receiving more points than you should because the Tar Heels are being evaluated on metrics from earlier in the season.
The stats from the beginning of the season are not accurate indicators of who North Carolina is today. As a result, its power rating has not been able to adjust rapidly enough to the level of basketball at which the Tar Heels are currently playing.
Unlike other teams, North Carolina does not have to rely on one individual player to score the basketball. In the Final Four win against Duke, four of five starters scored in double figures. UNC's players are members of a cohesive unit where each one has a specific role to play. North Carolina's performance is not that of a No. 8 seed that pulled some upsets to reach this point. At the present, the Tar Heels are the top team in the NCAA Tournament.
KenPom projects Kansas to win by six points, but his metrics have undervalued the ACC throughout the tournament. The four points are too many for Kansas to lay in this matchup; I will take North Carolina and the points. - Metler
Kansas -4 (-110)
Before the season even began, Kansas stood out as one of the more legitimate National Championship contenders in the country. Although the Bill Self era has largely been marked with tremendous regular-season success and NCAA Tournament disappointment, the Jayhawks are now one win away from their first title since 2008.
What made Kansas appealing as a preseason title pick? A combination of talent, depth, and experience. KU was the cream of the crop in a Big 12 Conference that, despite what several media members seemed to indicate, was truly the best conference in the nation. While there is no denying that the Jayhawks received a favorable draw in March Madness, they also deserve marks for extremely impressive play throughout the tournament.
Kansas is a multi-faceted team and has displayed as much throughout the NCAA Tournament. In the early rounds, we saw transfer guard Remy Martin explode to lead the Jayhawks past gritty regional opponents. In the Final Four, it was the frontcourt’s turn to take over. David McCormack, Ochai Agbaji, and Jalen Wilson simply overwhelmed an overmatched Villanova front line.
Of course, bettors should not expect the Jayhawks to manhandle Tar Heels forward Armando Bacot Jr., and the North Carolina interior in the same manner on Monday. However, the fact that Kansas can not only match up with UNC from a size standpoint but also bring in capable depth off the bench will be key.
In Agbaji, KU has a scorer who is more than capable of taking over in crunch time. The same can honestly be said for Martin, even in a lesser role. Kansas’ depth and experience will lift it to the national title. - John
North Carolina +4 (-110)
If you look at the seeds, it might seem as though No. 8 North Carolina and No. 1 Kansas are worlds apart in terms of each side's expectations for Monday night's national championship game. But virtually everything else about these two teams tells me we're going to be in for an exciting shootout to crown a college basketball champion.
For the season, UNC lags narrowly behind Kansas in both adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency metrics. Throughout this NCAA Tournament, however, the Tar Heels have arguably been the more impressive side due to the difficulty of their path to the final game. Wins over Baylor, UCLA, and Duke inspire a different level of confidence than the Jayhawks' path prior to their gritty win over Villanova in the Final Four.
The battle-tested nature of the UNC bunch over the past few weeks has shown that the likes of Caleb Love and Bacot aren't backing down, regardless of the opponent. In a game I expect to go down to the final possessions before being determined, 4.5 points feels like too many to offer the Tar Heels given the relentless scoring ability they have displayed throughout this tournament. - Schaeffer
UNC-Kansas Expert O/U Picks
Under 151.5 (-110)
Between 2008 and 2013, North Carolina and Kansas faced off three times during the NCAA Tournament. In each of these matchups, the final score never exceeded 150 points. The last time these two teams played was in 2013 and they combined for only 128 points.
In 2016 and 2017, North Carolina reached the National Championship in consecutive seasons. Against Villanova, they combined for 151 points, and against Gonzaga, 136 points were scored.
In the National Championship, you cannot expect Kansas to shoot the 3-pointer like it did against Villanova in the Final Four on Saturday night. Kansas shot 13 for 24 from beyond the arc (54.w%), while on the season it just 36.1% from 3-point range.
Even though we have two offenses that can score, 151.5 is simply too high. Although you will be sweating this Under right up until the very end, I believe this total will ultimately fall below 152 and finish in the high 140s. - Metler
Under 151.5 (-110)
After a run of totals staying under in the regional rounds of this NCAA Tournament, both national semifinals surged over the betting number. Given how incredible North Carolina has been offensively throughout a late-season turnaround, it makes sense why some bettors initially may prioritize the Over in the National Championship game as well.
The fact that UNC and Kansas have both been superior on the offensive end compared to defensively in terms of efficiency would also suggest playing the Over. Yet, the favored Jayhawks also ranked in the top 20 on the defensive end this season, according to KenPom. KU also averages nearly one full possession per 40 minutes less than UNC.
On Saturday, Kansas wasted little time in bolting out to a lead against an overmatched Villanova outfit. On Monday, the Jayhawks may actually deploy a different approach and attempt to slow things down. Arguably the best way to contain UNC’s explosive offense is to force the Tar Heels into playing a pristine halfcourt game.
The other factor to note is the massive frontcourt battle that is expected to unfold. If the teams opt to let their talented bigs duke it out, this figures to slow down the overall pace of the game.
Bettors should also note that the market has come down multiple points from the opening line of 154. - John
Over 151.5 (-110)
Kansas ranks inside the top 10 in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency. North Carolina is nestled inside the top 20. Both teams are better in offensive efficiency than they are in defensive efficiency. UNC and Kansas also run at a fast pace, ranking 40th and 65th, respectively, in the country, in adjusted tempo. I don't see any way this title game isn't a shootout.
In the Final Four game between UNC and Duke, the scoring got off to a sluggish pace as the teams adjusted to the stadium atmosphere and sightlines in the early going. However, it didn't take long before the Tar Heels and Blue Devils were scorching the nets en route to hitting the Over 153.5 for that game. Kansas has the same explosive ability offensively that Duke has, but the Jayhawks add an element of tempo that puts Duke to shame.
KU likes to get out and run in the same way that UNC does. Given the tendencies and scoring talent of both teams, I would comfortably take the Over on this total up to 155.5. - Schaeffer
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