The Providence Friars have covered nine of their last 12 when installed as the underdog, while the North Carolina Tar Heels closed their campaign mired in a five-game point-spread losing skid.
The two square off in what might be the best second-round matchup in the East Region. The Friars hit the tournament on a 7-2 spread spree, but they own an 0-4 ATS mark in their most recent tournament games dating back to 1997.
Spread and total points scored betting line
The Tar Heels opened as five-point favorites; the total was 146. (Compare lines and consensus on the Odds Shark matchup report)
Odds Shark computer pick
77.3-73.0 Tar Heels
Why pick Providence to cover the spread
The No. 11 Friars come into the dance scorching, as they shocked plenty by winning the Big East Tournament to get here. It was the school’s first tourney title in a couple decades, and though they’re seeded awfully low, they’re a dangerous team that could get to the second weekend and cover a couple of point spreads along the way.
The No. 11 seeds have dominated No. 6 schools over the past few years, running to a 10-5-1 mark at the betting window.
Why pick North Carolina to cover the spread
At one point, No. 6 North Carolina was considered one of the hottest teams in the nation, having won 12 straight. But a season-ending loss to Duke and an early exit from the ACC tourney at the hands of Pittsburgh left this at-large bid a bit lukewarm.
The Heels will be out to avenge their last two games, and the fact they’ve covered four of five against the betting line in their opener should make UNC backers happy.
Smart betting pick
Two weeks ago, this line might have been double-digits. The fact we’re staring at a small point spread indicates that oddsmakers see this as a tight game. Yes, Providence is an abysmal 0-4 versus the betting line in its past four tournament games, dating back to 1997.
But fast-forward to recent history, the Friars have covered seven of nine. Take the dog in what could be a game that comes down to the last shot.
Providence Friars: No. 102
North Carolina Tar Heels: No. 63 (per Odds Shark power ranks)
March Madness betting trends
- North Carolina ended year on 0-5 ATS run
- UNC 4-1 ATS past five first-round games
- Providence 7-2 ATS final nine games of season
- OVER is 9-1 past 10 Providence games
- Providence 9-3 ATS past 12 games as underdogs
- Providence 0-4 ATS past four tournament games since 1997