2017 NCAA Championship Odds: North Carolina Tar Heels a 2-Point Favorite to Beat the Gonzaga Bulldogs
The betting line on the NCAA Men’s Title Game has North Carolina Tar Heels a 2-point favorite over the Gonzaga Bulldogs. The most common at the Las Vegas Strip sportsbooks have an over-under of 151.
Many people consider this the best match-up in an NCAA Championship Game in many years. The two squads seem evenly matched, with one prestige school with a veteran lineup of juniors and seniors against a smaller school led by a freshman phenom and a transfer student.
North Carolina (11:10) vs. Gonzaga (10:13)
The moneyline bet for the game is 11-to-10 for Gonzaga and 10-to-13 moneyline odds for the Tar Heels. That represents one of the closest championship lines in recent years. The game tips-off at 9 pm Eastern at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. CBS is the broadcaster, while the analyst crew for the game is Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, and Grant Hill. Tracy Wolfson provides sideline reporting.
The Gonzaga Bulldogs come into the game as a No. 1 seed with a 37-1 record. They are led by 4th-year junior point guard Nigel Williams-Goss, along with freshman center Zach Collins. The team defeated the South Carolina Gamecocks in a rousing 77-73 game in the Final Four semifinals.
Nigel Williams-Goss on 2017 Bulldogs Season
Nigel Williams-Goss, who spent his first two college seasons with the Washington Huskies before redshirting the 2015-2016 season in order to join Gonzaga, said the Zags’ teamwork is their calling card this year.
Williams-Goss said, “We said all year that we’re a tight group. We said we’re brothers and we stick together and it shows. Coach always says we can’t just talk the talk, we had to walk the walk. And when things got tough we banded together and pulled through.”
Gonzaga had made 19 straight trips to the NCAA Tournament prior to 2016-2017, but they had trouble with adversity in the March Madness and had never made the Final Four. They finally overcame the psychological hurdle this year, with their Sweet Sixteen victory over West Virginia the pivotal moment. The Bulldogs rolled over Xavier in the Elite Eight to make the Final Four, setting up their hard-fought contest with South Carolina.
Computer Models Favor Gonzaga
Bettors should consider that the Vegas odds might be based on public perception more than reality. Computer models show Gonzaga as the favorite. On paper, the Bulldogs have had the better season. Las Vegas bookmakers weight the odds not based on who they think will win, but how they think the betting public will gamble. The Tar Heels are perceived as the favorite, because of their long history of winning.
The North Carolina Tar Heels are one of the glamour teams in all of NCAA basketball history, with some of the all-time greats powering them to national championships in the past: players like Michael Jordan and James Worthy in 1983 and Rasheed Wallace and Jerry Stackhouse in 1993. Coaches Dean Smith and Roy Williams are legends in their own right.
Tar Heels’ 2017 Season
The Tar Heels come into the title game with a 31-7 record. Of course, four of those losses came in the ACC, which is considered a much more difficult schedule than what Gonzaga faced this season.
The North Carolina roster has 6 former McDonald’s All-Americans on it. Four players average 12 points per game or more, while two more average at least 8.9 points per game. Any given night, one of those six core players could lead North Carolina in scoring.
Joel Berry II and Justin Jackson
Junior point guard Joel Berry and senior shooting forward Justin Jackson lead the offense, but senior frontcourt layers Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks also provide solid scoring. The balanced, veteran nature of the Tar Heels’ attack might give them an advantage over Zach Collins, who was playing high school ball this time last year.