Kansas vs. North Carolina Odds, Picks, Predictions: Our 5 Best Bets for Monday’s College Basketball National Championship
Getty Images. Pictured: David McCormack (left) and Caleb Love (right).
- The Kansas Jayhawks meet the North Carolina Tar Heels in Monday's college basketball national championship.
- The Jayhawks enter as favorites, and that's where our staff is looking to place its bets.
- Check out all five of our best bets for Monday's national title game below.
After Kansas blew out Villanova and North Carolina edged Duke in a classic Final Four affair, we’re down to two in the NCAA Tournament.
The Jayhawks and Tar Heels will go head-to-head on Monday for the chance to cut down the nets. The champion will either be a No. 1 seed that has been consistent all season long or the No. 8 seeded Tar Heels who have been nothing but inconsistent — at least until March rolled around.
So, how can you make money on this game? Our staff has you covered with their best bets below.
Formulate your betting card and enjoy what will be the last college basketball game until the fall.
Our 5 Best Bets For North Carolina-Kansas National Title Game
The table below represents each pick that our college basketball staff is targeting for Monday’s championship game between North Carolina and Kansas. Click a pick below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.
|Doug Ziefel||Kansas ML -180|
|Mike McNamara||Kansas ML -180|
|D.J. James||Kansas -4|
|Patrick Strollo||Kansas -4|
|Kody Malstrom||North Carolina ML +158|
|Specific bet recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NCAAB Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.|
North Carolina vs. Kansas
By Doug Ziefel
The undoubtedly safe route is to back Kansas here, as the line is spot on. However, the line opening at more than a one-possession margin is telling of the gap between these two teams.
Kansas enters this matchup off of one of its most efficient performances of the season. The Jayhawks shot 53% from the field and were lights out from beyond the arc — they went 13-of-24 from deep.
Ochai Agbaji was a big part of that sharpshooting display, as he was on fire early by making his first six shots, which were all 3s. Agbaji’s shooting performance is a scary sight for the Tar Heel faithful, as UNC is 182nd in 3-point percentage allowed.
That weakness in North Carolina’s defense could be compounded due to the Jayhawks having plenty of other shooters who will get in on the act. We saw Christian Braun, Dajuan Harris Jr. and Jalen Wilson all knock down multiple 3s. Remy Martin can’t be forgotten about, as well.
The Jayhawks match up well against the Tar Heels’ primary scorers on the other end of the floor, too.
Armando Bacot will be forced to battle with David McCormack all game long on the inside, and UNC’s outside shooting will be limited. Kansas is 25th in 3-point percentage allowed and will throw the length of Agbaji and Wilson on the likes of Caleb Love and Brady Manek.
Back Kansas to cut down the nets here.
Pick: Kansas ML -180 (Play to -190)
Kansas ML -180
We should be in for a classic on Monday when Kansas and North Carolina square off for all the marbles in the Superdome.
As magical as this UNC run has been, I just don’t see the Heels being able to finish it off with a championship.
Kansas has methodically handled its business throughout the tournament, and the Jayhawks don’t really have a weakness right now.
North Carolina’s offense has been potent in each of its five wins to get to this point, but KU has the personnel to be the stiffest defensive test the Tar Heels have seen.
The matchup on the interior between Armando Bacot and David McCormack obviously looms large, but I think the collective depth on the Jayhawks’ roster will prove to be the difference in this one.
I fully expect Carolina to play well and keep this tight throughout, thus laying the four feels a bit risky with where the number currently sits.
This is just one of the spots where I flat-out think Kansas finds a way to win, which leads me to riding the moneyline.
Rock Chalk Jayhawk.
Pick: Kansas ML -180 (Play to -190)
By D.J. James
The Kansas Jayhawks will battle with the North Carolina Tar Heels for the college basketball title. UNC upset arch-rival Duke in the Final Four, while the Jayhawks routed Villanova in the game before.
Kansas has the edge in Rim & 3 Rate, per ShotQuality. This metric measures efficiency of shots, and while UNC has played better lately, it ranks 121st on offense, while KU ranks 31st on defense. Expect a limited number of efficient shots for the Tar Heels.
In addition, Kansas should have the edge on inside shots. On the season, it has manufactured 54.6% of its points inside the perimeter, per KenPom. UNC allows teams to shoot 47.6% on the season, ranking 87th in the country.
Expect David McCormack to match up well with Armando Bacot in this fashion, especially if Bacot is a bit hobbled from his ankle injury against Duke.
Now, the issue that Kansas might confront is its tendency to allow open 3s. UNC, however, ranks 312th in Open-3 Rate, and even though it has shot well in the tournament, this is not encouraging. If the Heels can’t exploit the Jayhawks’ one major issue on defense, they may be sunk.
Since Kansas limits teams to around 30% from deep and can guard the interior, it would be shocking for UNC to find many holes on the offensive end. The Jayhawks should win the title, as long as they continue to play as they have.
Pick: Kansas -4 (Play to -5)
Senior Ochai Agbaji leads Kansas into the title game playing his best basketball of the season. The Jayhawks are currently on a 10-game win streak, and possess a rather large statistical advantage over North Carolina heading into the final game of the season.
The Jayhawks rank fourth in offensive efficiency in the nation, scoring 120.3 points per 100 possessions. This represents a 5.6-point advantage for Kansas on offense to North Carolina’s offensive efficiency of 114.7 points per 100 possessions.
Both teams are closely matched on defense in terms of efficiency, with Kansas and North Carolina allowing 91.4 and 93.9 points per 100 possessions, respectively.
I think we are going to see a separation between two blue-blood programs when it comes to the big man matchup: David McCormack (Kansas) vs. Armando Bacot (North Carolina).
McCormack led the Jayhawks in the Final Four with 25 points, but will likely have his hands very full dealing with his counterpart from Chapel Hill.
Bacot was instrumental in the win vs. Duke, and had a remarkable 43 rebounds in the last two games. However, he’s dealing with a sprained ankle that he suffered late in the last game.
One has to wonder how bad Bacot’s sprained ankle really is. These types of injuries can be as difficult to play on as a fracture in some instances, and it’s common for the healing process to be at least a couple of months.
Bacot is a warrior, and the Tar Heels lack a viable replacement in the 5-spot, so the standout forward will be getting the start.
Any form of limitation to Bacot will embody a boon to the Jayhawks. Given the type of injury and the way it’s being treated and addressed, I am seeing a large edge in the big man matchup for Kansas that otherwise would have been in North Carolina’s favor.
My model is projecting Kansas as 9.13-point favorites on a neutral court in The Big Easy. Lay the points — like they toss beads onto Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras — for a five-unit play.
I recommend making this a five-unit bet for a variety of reasons. First, the Jayhawks are peaking at the perfect time. Next, I am seeing a large model advantage to the public markets. Lastly and most importantly, an injured Barcot will create a situational advantage for Kansas.
Pick: Kansas -4 (Play to -5)
North Carolina ML +158
The Great Wall of China. Machu Picchu. Witnessing, in person, UNC beating Duke in one of the biggest games in college basketball history and ending Coach K’s career. All beautiful sites to behold.
While it is a moment I will never forget, that is now in the rearview mirror. Our focus is now on the National Championship, as the red-hot Tar Heels will face the dominant Kansas Jayhawks after Bill Self’s unit dismantled Villanova.
After collecting myself and my thoughts from the aftermath of Duke/UNC while roaming Bourbon Street yelling “TAR HEELS,” I am now once again backing UNC.
Listen, Kansas’ win was as impressive as it gets. At one point, the Jayhawks were shooting 66.7% from 3 and the field. It felt like they were never going to miss, as they tore apart Nova’s vaunted perimeter defense.
It worries me that they now get the same opportunity against an inferior defense, but then it hit me: Kansas’ perimeter defense is atrocious, especially in the half-court.
Ranking 200+ in various perimeter defensive metrics, North Carolina will have just as equal of opportunity to knock down shots from deep, and it has more consistent shooters.
Better yet, Armando Bacot looks like he will play despite an injury suffered vs. Duke. If Bacot helps create second-chance opportunities with his rebounds and commands attention down low, that will open up UNC’s offense even more.
Asking UNC to slow the pace is something I never thought I would say, but the path to beat Kansas is there. Even if this game turns into a track meet — as expected — these are two of the most efficient transition offenses and will be able to go blow-for-blow with each other.
This number on the look ahead a week ago was +3 on FanDuel, and I believe this is an overreaction to what we witnessed in the Final Four.
You can be safe and take UNC with the points, but I will be backing it on the moneyline. I truly believe the Heels have a better shot at winning outright than what is being implied.