The North Carolina Tar Heels will look to complete the mission they narrowly failed to finish a year ago when they take on the Gonzaga Bulldogs in a matchup of No. 1 seeds.
The Tar Heels are back in the NCAA basketball title game a year after suffering a heartbreaking loss to the Villanova Wildcats on a last second shot. In the other corner, Gonzaga makes its first appearance in the national championship after nearly two decades of excellence under head coach Mark Few.
Now, let’s find out which one of these top-seeded title hopefuls is offering the most value in their intriguing championship showdown.
How To Bet The North Carolina Tar Heels Vs Gonzaga Bulldogs Odds, Pick & TV Info
The Tar Heels and Bulldogs will battle on Monday, April 3 at 9:20 PM ET, live from University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona with this contest airing live on CBS. Gonzaga is a 2-point underdog while the total sits at 153.5 points.
What: No. 1 North Carolina Tar Heels (31-7) vs No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs (36-1)
When: Monday, April 3, 2017
Start Time: 9:00 PM ET
Where: Glendale, Arizona
Stadium: University of Phoenix Stadium
Spread: North Carolina -2
Moneyline: North Carolina -140 vs Gonzaga +100
Game Total: 153
Stream: CBS Sports
Listen: North Carolina vs Gonzaga
Why Bet The Gonzaga Bulldogs Odds at +2
There are plenty of good reasons to back the top-seeded Bulldogs (23-10-2 ATS) in this matchup, starting with the fact that…again, they’ve only lost one game this season and keep finding ways to win games no matter what.
The Zags routed South Dakota State in their opener by 20 before squeaking past feisty Northwestern 79-73 in the second round. The Bulldogs then got past West Virginia 61-58 in a street-fight type of matchup before trouncing Xavier 83-59 in the Elite Eight and pulling away from a talented South Carolina squad late in their 77-73 Final Four win on Saturday.
The Bulldogs got a team-high 23 points to go along with six assists and five rebounds from Nigel Goss-Williams while Zach Collins added 14 points and 13 rebounds in a stellar double-double outing.
"I think the respect thing has to go out the window," Williams-Goss said. "You have 37 wins in a college season, I mean that’s just unbelievable. And to be playing the last game of the season, we have a chance to play for it all and we’re here to win it."
Gonzaga also limited South Carolina star Sindarius Thornwell to just 15 points on 4 of 12 shooting after the sweet shooting guard had scored 24 or more in every tournament game prior to Saturday.
The Bulldogs are seriously solid at both ends of the floor as they rank 15th in scoring (83.1 ppg) and a stupendous seventh nationally in points allowed (61.2 ppg).
Why Bet The North Carolina Tar Heels Odds at -2
There are some great reasons to back North Carolina in this contest starting with the ‘motivation’ factor they clearly have had all postseason.
The Tar Heels have looked and played like a team intent on making up for their heartbreaking championship loss to Villanova a year ago and many of last year’s core members are now playing an even bigger role in Carolina’s success.
"I think you’re always going to have that in the back of your mind because it was a heartbreaking experience for us," said senior center Kennedy Meeks.
North Carolina beat overmatched Texas Southern by 39 points in their opener before getting past a game Arkansas squad 72-65 in the second round. The Tar Heels then dispatched Butler 92-80 in a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the score indicates. Carolina then beat Kentucky team 75-73 in a championship-worthy kind of matchup before squeaking past Oregon 77-76 in their Final Four win on Saturday.
Carolina got a game and career-tying high 25 points and 14 rebounds from Meeks while ACC Player of the Year Justin Jackson added 22 points while draining four three-pointers in the win.
The Tar Heels can score the ball with any team in the country as they rank 12th nationally in scoring (84.8 ppg) while also ranking 133rd in points allowed by limiting the opposition to a respectable 70.7 points per contest.
UNC Vs Gonzaga NCAA Title Expert Pick & Final Score Prediction
I know that top-seeded Gonzaga is very good and statistically much better than North Carolina defensively, but I’m going to urge you to go with the 45 percent o public bettors that like the Tar Heels to win and cover the spread.
While Gonzaga is very good at both ends of the floor, I think the Bulldogs will all to North Carolina because the Tar heels won’t make the same mistakes that West Virginia and South Carolina did late in their respective tourney matchups against the Zags that cost them late.
Carolina has beaten every opponent this season because they’ve held a huge edge in rebounding and while Gonzaga can counter some of that with their own trio of bigs in Przemek Karnowski, Johnathan Williams and Zach Collins, I think Carolina’s trio of bigs in Meeks, Theo Pinson and Isaiah Hicks is far more athletic and will beat the Zags to the boards as they’ve done against every opponent they’ve faced this season.
While the Bulldogs have gone 9-2-1 ATS in their last 12 games following a ATS loss, an insane 21-7-2 ATS in their last 30 games against a team with a winning SU record and bankroll-boosting 34-15-2 ATS in their last 51 games overall, the Zags are also just 1-3-1 ATS in their last five non-conference games, 1-4-1 ATS in their last six NCAA Tournament games and 0-3-1 ATS in their last four games against teams from the ACC.
Conversely, North Carolina has gone 3-0-1 ATS in their last four games following an ATS loss, 21-8-3 ATS in their last 32 neutral site games as a favorite and 21-10-1 ATS in their last 32 NCAA Tournament games as a favorite.
While the Tar Heels are also just 1-3-1 ATS in their last five games following an SU win I love Carolina’s complete team and believe their motivation to win it all this season will ultimately help them overcome what will surely be a stiff challenge from the Bulldogs.
The Heels win a nail-biter to bag the 2017 national championship trophy and narrowly cover the spread to bring home the bacon as a slight two-point favorite.