High-Scoring Villanova set as slim underdog against North Carolina

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The Villanova Wildcats will be looking to follow up a record-setting victory over the Oklahoma Sooners in the Final Four with another win when they battle the North Carolina Tar Heels for college basketball’s national championship on Monday as narrow 2.5-point underdogs at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Villanova has played their best ball of the season during this year’s tournament, recovering from a stunning 69-67 loss to Seton Hall in the Big East Tournament final to post five straight decisive wins and improving their recent straight-up record to 10-1 ahead of Monday night’s Wildcats vs. Tar Heels betting matchup at NRG Stadium.

The Wildcats, who entered the NCAA Tournament as the No. 2 seed in the South Region, advanced to the national championship for the first time since 1985 with a crushing 95-51 defeat of the Oklahoma Sooners on Saturday, setting a new Final Four record with a whopping 44-point margin of victory.

The win over the Sooners is just the latest in Villanova’s one-sided affairs at this year’s NCAA Tournament.

Starting with an 86-56 beatdown of No. 15 UNC-Asheville in the first round, the Wildcats have claimed victory by an average margin of over 24 points per game, going 5-0 against the spread, including an outright win as 2-point underdogs over the tournament-favorite Kansas Jayhawks in the Elite Eight.

The Wildcats’ success at the sportsbooks has been timely, coming on the heels of a brutal 6-12 ATS stretch run that had contributed to a drop in their national championship odds, which were pegged at 16/1 at the outset of this year’s NCAA Tournament.

While Villanova entered the Big Dance with tempered expectations, the Tar Heels have largely performed as expected after opening the tournament among the March Madness betting favorites with 6/1 odds.

Selected as the No. 1 seed in the East Region, North Carolina has also dominated, claiming victory by double-digit margins in each of their five tournament wins, extending their current SU win streak to 10 games, 9-1 ATS, according to the OddsShark College Basketball Database.

The Tar Heels ended No. 10 Syracuse’s unlikely run to the national championship with an 83-66 win in their Final Four matchup on Saturday, covering as 10-point chalk and forcing the point total OVER for a third straight game.

Monday night also marks the fourth time since 2005 that these two teams have met at March Madness, with the Tar Heels coming out on top in their previous three meetings, 2-1 ATS, including an 83-69 UNC victory as 5-point chalk at the 2009 Final Four.