Furman vs Virginia Odds, Picks: NCAA Tournament Betting Preview

Furman vs Virginia Odds, Picks: NCAA Tournament Betting Preview article feature image

Getty Images. Design by Matt Roembke/Action Network. Pictured from left: Armaan Franklin of Virginia and Mike Bothwell of Furman.

  • The 4-seed Virginia Cavaliers take on the 13-seed Furman Paladins in early NCAA Tournament action on Thursday.
  • The Cavaliers enter as 5.5-point favorites, but Brett Pund sees betting value on the underdog.
  • Check out Pund's full betting preview and pick for Furman vs Virginia below.

Furman vs Virginia Odds

Thursday, March 16
12:40 p.m. ET
Furman Odds
-110o / -110u
Virginia Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

On Thursday in the NCAA tournament, Virginia battles Furman in the matchup of the four and 13 seeds in the South Region.

The ACC co-regular season champion is back in the Big Dance for the 25th time in program history after missing last year.

Meanwhile, the Paladins are making their first NCAA tournament appearance in 43 years, entering with a 27-7 record as the SoCon champion.

This is an interesting contest at the top half of the South bracket, and I believe this could be a spot for an upset.

Furman Paladins

Furman is making its seventh NCAA tournament appearance, and it's one of the hottest teams in the country. The Paladins have won six straight and 14 of their last 15 to claim a share of the SoCon regular-season title before winning the league tournament.

Coach Bob Richey’s squad is led by a pair of fifth-year seniors in Mike Bothwell and Jalen Slawson, who were both First Team All-SoCon selections.

Bothwell leads the team in scoring at 18 points per game, while Slawson was named the SoCon Player of the Year as a forward who can impact the game in different ways.

As a team, Furman is a very good offensive squad, ranking inside the top 40 in AdjO (30th), EFG% (12th), turnover% (39th) and 2-point shooting (1st), according to Bart Torvik.

This is why the Paladins have been an over team in conference action, with 12 of their last 21 games flying over the total.

Out of conference, Richey’s team was tested with a five-point loss to Penn State in the Shriners Children’s Charleston Classic and a heavy defeat at NC State in December.

This will definitely be a big step up from what the Paladins have been facing in the SoCon.

Virginia Cavaliers

Veteran coach Tony Bennett has guided his program back to the NCAA tournament for a ninth time, and the squad is once again known for its play on the defensive end of the floor.

The Cavaliers rank in the top 40 in AdjD (25th), defensive rebounding (39th) and opponents’ 2-point shooting% (35th). Defending shots inside the arc will be key in this first-round matchup.

On offense, Virginia is led by the duo of Armaan Franklin and Jayden Gardner, who combine to average over a third of the team’s points on a nightly basis. Kihei Clark is the third Hoos player to average double figures.

However, this is still a team that plays at an extremely slow pace on offense, with only Jacksonville, Charlotte and North Texas having slower tempos according to KenPom.

Bennett’s style guided the program to a national championship in 2019, and this version will be a tough out once again.

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Furman vs Virginia Betting Pick

This is truly a clash of styles in the first round, with Virginia looking for a slow, defensive basketball game and Furman wanting to showcase its offense. I can’t bet on the total because of this, but I do see value in betting a side.

So, my best bet is to take the Paladins at +5.5, which I would take to +5. I’m hoping to get a better number as we get closer to tip.

Whether you compare metrics of both squads over the last 10 games or contests on the road or neutral floors, I really think this is too many points for a Cavaliers team that plays a style that could always keep Furman in the game.

I also like how the SoCon champion has performed away from home, owning a 9-3 record against the spread over the last 12 games.

Meanwhile, Virginia only covered the spread in four of its last 14 contests away from home.

Once you add in the veteran leaders, I believe the Paladins — who are also the better free-throw shooting team — can keep this within the number late.

I would still lean toward Virginia advancing in smaller or local bracket pools, but I wouldn't hate the underdog to advance in your bigger money bracket challenges.

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