We are down to the last game of the season, which pits UNC vs Gonzaga for the national championship.
Vegas has installed UNC as a 2 point favorite (which is down to 1.5 in certain spots now). While UNC is the favorite in Vegas, according to KenPom, Gonzaga is a 4 point favorite. It is interesting to see such a huge difference in what Vegas is seeing vs KenPom’s predictions. This past week a great article was written about how KenPom has influenced the gambling world.
Theory on this is with UNC being such a “public” team that people bet on, Vegas had to account for that. If they installed UNC as a 4 point underdog, there would be a HUGE discrepancy in money bet. These casinos want equal action (bets/plays on both side), so they were put in a situation where they had to stray away from the analytics and make UNC a small favorite.
So how has UNC been historically in the national championship game?
Dating back to 1993, UNC is 3-1 ATS in National Championship games. They are also 3-1 straight up in those games. The lone loss and non-cover was last year against Villanova.
As far as championship games go being the favorite has not been the best spot to be in recently. Underdogs have actually covered AND won the last 3 national championships (2016 Villanova, 2015 Duke and 2014 UCONN).
Since 1985, favorites have won 20 of the 31 games (1990 Duke-UNLV had no spread). Favorites have covered the spread just 15 of the 31 times in that span.
Pick: The favorite is “due” to win the championship based on recent trends. No strong opinion on this one but being North Carolina’s number 1 sports outlet, I guess we pick UNC. We haven’t been wrong lately.