Rivalries And Injuries Cause Final Four Odds Shift

  • Odds shift in favor of North Carolina highlights beliefs about rivalry games, margin of victory, and veteran experience.
  • Injury and momentum influenced bets on Kansas, forcing oddsmakers to increase the spread in favor of the Jayhawks.

NEW ORLEANS - With the Elite Eight wrapping up last Sunday, there has been plenty of time to place bets on the Final Four. The break in the action has given ample time for betting odds to stabilize, which has resulted in line movement favoring Kansas and North Carolina.

Duke vs North Carolina Betting Odds

Team: Moneyline: Spread: Total:
Duke -185 -4.0 (-110) Over 151.5 (-110)
North Carolina +160 +4.0 (-110) Under 151.5 (-110)

Kansas vs Villanova Betting Odds

Team: Moneyline: Spread: Total:
Kansas -185 -4.5 (-110) Over 133 (-110)
Villanova +160 +4.5 (-110) Under 133 (-110)

Duke UNC Odds Shift Favors The Underdog

Opening odds had Duke as a 4.5 point favorite to advance to the National Championship Game in Coach Mike Krzyzewski's final season as coach, but have shifted in first-year head coach Hubert Davis's direction making UNC a 4 point underdog.

The Blue Devils are hot right now, with wins over Cal State Fullerton, Michigan State, Texas Tech, and Arkansas to get to this point. They were even slight underdogs in their Sweet 16 win against the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

North Carolina has been one of the biggest surprises during March Madness this year, beating Marquette, Baylor, UCLA, and Saint Peter's to get to this point.

Reasons The Odds Shifted In UNC's Favor:

  • The Rivalry Game Factor: Duke and UNC split their season series this year, with both teams winning on the other's home floor. Coach K's last home game versus North Carolina was a nationally televised game that was sold as a send-off for the legendary coach, but the game showed how hard rivalry games can be predicted.
    Many people believe rivalry games are nearly always a toss-up, and this line change aligns with that theory.
  • North Carolina's Dominance: North Carolina owns the top margin of victory in the tournament so far at 16.5 points per game. Duke has a very respectable 10 point margin of victory per game, but the thought may be that North Carolina is in a great rhythm.
  • Veteran Experience: Duke's starting lineup is Wendell Moore Jr. (JR), AJ Griffin (FR), Paolo Banchero (FR), Mark Williams (SO), and Jeremy Roach (SO). North Carolina's starting lineup is Armando Bacot (JR), Brady Manek (SR), R.J. Davis (SO), Caleb Love (SO), and Leaky Black (SR).
  • There may be a prevailing thought that Duke's four underclassman starters may crumble facing North Carolina's group that features no freshmen and is comprised of three upperclassmen.

Villanova's Injury And Kansas's Comeback Cause Odds Shift

Kansas versus Miami Elite Eight matchup was a tale of two halves. Miami led at the half 35 to 29, but Kansas went on a run for the ages in the second half, outscoring the Hurricanes 47 to 15 in the final period.

Many sports betting experts think that Kansas had the light turn on in the second half of that game, and the odds shift is in part due to that belief.

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ESPN's Basketball Power Index even has Kansas ranked lower than Villanova, but the incredible second half by Kansas has partly caused a momentum swing within sportsbooks.

Another likely factor in the odds shift making Kansas a 4.5 point favorite instead of the 4 point favorite like they started out with is the injury to Villanova's Justin Moore.

Moore suffered a torn right Achilles in Nova's Elite Eight victory against Houston. Moore was Villanova's second-leading scorer this season and had averaged 34.5 minutes per game in the tournament.

The news about Justin Moore's injury, along with the Jayhawk’s second have run, have been the driving forces behind online sportsbooks having to shift the odds more in Kansas's favor.