UNC vs. Villanova: Expert Shares How to Bet March Madness Final

Kevin Stott

Sunday, April 3, 2016 2:00 PM UTC

Sunday, Apr. 3, 2016 2:00 PM UTC

Let’s get a first-look feel at the Point Spread Odds, Moneyline and Total for the title tilt between North Carolina and Villanova, offer up some scenarios as well as an NCAA Tournament pick and Final Score for a game.

March Madness is over and April Analysis has begun and it looks like the teams that played the best basketball in this Tourney have cruised into Monday’s night’s NCAA College Basketball Championship game from NRG Stadium in Houston and that the selection Committee at least did the right thing by not having these two monsters in the same half of the Bracket, even if they did so accidentally. Let’s get a first-look feel at the Point Spread NCAA Tournament Odds, Moneyline and Total for the title tilt between North Carolina and Villanova, offer up some scenarios as well as a pick and Final Score for a game which should be approached with extreme caution and minimal cash, despite the sexy matchup.


Opening Point Spread, Moneyline
Villanova and North Carolina both cruised into Monday night’s Men’s NCAA Division I College Basketball Championship Game, winning (and covering ATS) in their Final Four meetings against Oklahoma and Syracuse respectively on Saturday at NRG Stadium in Houston. And someone has to be the designated Favorite here and with the Tar Heels the only #1 Seed (East Region) to survive the Big Dance and even make this year’s Final Four, the current 2½- to 3-point spread (The Greek) making the ACC Tobacco Road giants the small chalks makes perfect sense. But don’t kid yourself with that man-made number of the Tar Heels designation as this game’s Favorites as these have been the two hottest and most consistent teams in the NCAA Tournament and this looks like is a dead-even matchup on the surface despite the fact North Carolina has the more well-known athletes and the higher expectations...and that most people knowing little about College Basketball and choosing to jump in at this particular late, late, late, late point in Time will blindly be choosing to back the more popular Tar Heels, because, after all, who in the name of Rocky Balboa wants to back a team from Philly when all is said and done, right? (I kid. All cities boo Santa Claus and dismember Robots.) And North Carolina may just be the better team. (They really are. But just barely, and could definitely get shellshocked here if not ready).

This number should stay in a tight 2- to 3-point range it seems as any 3½’s will surely be gobbled up by Sharps—there are none to be had in the Las Vegas, Online or Offshore marketplaces on Sunday morning—nor are there any 2’s to be found right now so we may be looking at the entire range this Point Spread will roam currently. And that makes sense. The Consensus Opening Line (VegasInsider) was North Carolina -2½ and 151½ and couldn’t be any better in terms of trying to generate some two-way action on a game which looks to be very competitive, close, hard-fought and one in which the Point Spread probably won’t even matter with the winner likely having an arm’s-length distance in such a big game.

The Moneyline Odds here are in the -145 (Wynn Las Vegas) to -160 (YouWager.eu) range and it seems may Villanova backers may choose to take a chance on the Wildcats on the Moneyline (+140 high, Youwager.eu) as opposed to taking the 2½ or maximum 3 points here in the Lone Star State on Monday evening, although the chance of a flood of late money on either side is always a possibility and a 3½ or 2 close wouldn’t shock this Industry. There should be good two-way action on both teams in both the Point Spread and Moneyline markets in this short, 2-day betting period with the numbers staying extremely close to—if some not exactly where they sit this morning, 36 hours before the game’s tip-off.


Opening Total
The combination of the modern Oddsmaker, Technology—the ability to play out a simulated game 10,000 (and more) times or more on a computer and come up with a perfect number and just perfect mathematical sense has this Total exactly where it should be in this game, at 151½, the Consensus Opening line. Currently (Sunday morning), the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook has seen that number bet down 1 points to 150½ and Bookmaker and 5Dimes Offshore are both actually hanging 150’s right now, so, as usual, the early Sharp-Wiseguy money is on the Under and this has seemingly become almost a reflex betting move for some of the bigger betting groups and individuals here in Las Vegas, possibly not only for future positioning in-game or hedging, but maybe because more big games fall Under and the General Public has a tendency to bet Overs (and want points) possibly causing Sportsbooks to bake a couple of more points into their cakes. With my gut Final, the Under would win Monday and might be worth it to consider it as one of your NCAA Tournament Picks, but just barely.

The post-mortem on the two Saturday Final Four games and their two Totals which were both wagered down due to History and perceived Sightlines at the massive NFL-built NRG Stadium in Houston, home of the Texans. North Carolina (32-6 SU, 20-18-1 ATS) and Villanova (34-5 SU, 20-17-1 ATS) both have too many consistent starters in the combined Starting 5’s who can consistently produce Points to suggest backing the Under here in such a do-or-die situation. Buckets will need to be answered with buckets if close in the 2nd Half. And it should be. Anyway, the Villanova game ended with the Wildcats stomping a mudhole in Buddy Hield and the Oklahoma Sooners, 95-51, or a total of 146 points and just barely Over (by 2 points) the closing posted Total of 144. And the Tar Heels toppled (and covered as 9½-to 10-point chalks) over Syracuse, 83-66, topping to the Total of 142½ by 5½ points with 149 actually scored. So, two Overs at a Site (NRG) rumored to be nothing but Unders and some last-minute (and probably justifiable) bitterness from Under bettors as so much stupid and meaningless crap happens in the last 2 minutes of so many basketball games that it honestly almost makes handicapping them a moot thing. And not betting on them at all always a Zen-like possibility. You can always be right and still lose or wrong and win in the NBA or NCAA Basketball Picks simply because of the fickle nature of that late-scoring we see in the Sport but not really in Soccer, Baseball, American Football or the NHL as teams almost always play Defense late. And that can’t be said often in the last 2 minutes of some Hoops nightmares. Pepto-Bismol and Drool Cups should be the sponsor of The Big Dance and not Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, bruh.

The Total here looks spot on and the Trends say Villanova (20-17-1 O/U) Overs are 11-3 ATS in the L14 overall and the L8 Villanova Big Dance games have seen the Over go 5-2-1 ATS and North Carolina’s (21-18-0 O/U) L8 Non-Conference games have seen the Over go 7-1 ATS. However, the Under is 6-2 ATS in Villanova’s L8 Monday games, with none of them being played on a Monday with such importance as this game which really has the potential to be a classic, and again, seems like a level above Division 1. Both Johnson and North Carolina (83.0 AF-69.8 AA) and Villanova (78.0 AF-63.3 AA) are really, really good right now and this could one could be close throughout and a whole lotta Fun. You need coolin’, baby I’m not foolin’...


Weighing All of the Potential Scenarios
A theoretical “Both Teams Will Play Bad” scenario should be eliminated here as these two teams are just too good, too well-coached with Roy Williams (North Carolina) and Jay Wright (Villanova), are both Healthy and in as much of a stone-cold groove that a College Basketball team could ever hope to be in at this unique point in time. And this meeting between these two teams elite College basketball teams right Now seems like a little like the Hadron Particle Collider with the atoms of North Carolina being smashed into the atoms of Villanova just to see what would happen. Best east a great meal Monday night as it may be your last, Bubba. This is almost like a special game at a level between Men’s Division I College Basketball and the NBA and this might be the best pure one-one-one NCAA Championship Game Finals we have seen in quite some time and anyone thinking Villanova is ripe to get smoked may want to think a little bit harder, or maybe with their Heads and not their Hearts. This Wildcats team is the real deal with Josh Hart (9/4 to win Most Outstanding Player, Paddy Power), Kris Jenkins (7/1 to win Most Outstanding Player, Paddy Power), Ryan Arcidiacono (15/2 to win Most Outstanding Player, Paddy Power), Daniel Ochefu and Jalen Brunson, the best Villanova team in the Big Dance after so many years of teams fueled by Hype and Hope. This group can most definitely win it all on Monday night. And humble the Heels. But it will take everything.

A theoretical “North Carolina Plays Good, Villanova Plays Bad” scenario is hard to envision here as the Wildcats have enough Confidence now and balanced scoring and should be able to answer most Tar Heels baskets. But not letting North Carolina (#5 RPI Index, #2 Ken Pomeroy Rankings) get those second and third attempts on the Offensive end will be crucial in order for Villanova (#4 RPI Index, #1 Ken Pomeroy Rankings) to try to pull off the upset. The Tar Heels have been feasting on easy put-backs all Dance and if the Big East representative Villanova can’t stop that, then Brice Johnson (3/2 to win Most Outstanding Player, Paddy Power) and the Tar Heels will probably emerge as champions, and maybe by a bit more than people think. This specific scenario is possible, but not probable.

A theoretical “Both Teams Will Play Good” scenario is a better probability and this means Villanova will have to try to keep it as close to a Halfcourt-type Game as possible as opposed to a Track Meet which would suit the Tar Heels and Marcus Paige (13/2 to win Most Outstanding Player, Paddy Power) and Joel Berry III (5/1 to win Most Outstanding Player, Paddy Power) much better over the 40 minutes. And a theoretical “North Carolina Plays Bad, Villanova Plays Good” scenario is not out of the realm of possibility, although like with the Wildcats, seeing the well-tuned Tar Heels suddenly play a dud seems unlikely. And it seemed, not so long ago—that if anyone in this Tournament was going to stop North Carolina, it would have had to have been either #1 (AP ranking) Kansas or #2 Michigan State, right? For now, on Paper (or your Mobile Device or Dumbphones), it looks like Villanova matches up pretty darn well with the Tar Heels, although the true test will ultimately be on the hardwood. And all five Heels including Justin Jackson (12.3 ppg, 6.7 apg) and Kennedy Meeks (9.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg) could be NBA-bound someday, while it would be hard to say that about Villanova’s gritty Starting 5.

This game will come down to shooting, and if Villanova can make the 3-pointer a deadly enough weapon to add to its scoring arsenal in this game against North Carolina. The Tar Heels should still get many baskets underneath - North Carolina doesn’t rely on, and aren’t very good at 3-pointers - but the quantity of easy second and third attempts under their own basket should decline dramatically here against this physical Wildcats bunch. But is seems sheer Athleticism, Expectations, Sheer Will, Hustle, Defense and Destiny may rule the night with the Tar Heels pulling away in the L7 minutes of the 2nd Half to show who was truly the King of the College courts this season: Rock Chalk, Tar Heel Hawk, baby.

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Free NCAA Tournament Pick:  North Carolina -2½ -109
Best Line Offered:  at 5Dimes

Championship Game Final Score: North Carolina 79 Vilanova 70
Outstanding Player: Brice Johnson, North Carolina 3/2 (Paddy Power)

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