The top-seeded Virginia Cavaliers look to continue their surprising season and extend their 17-1 straight-up run Friday in the East Region.
They face the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, who are making their first NCAA tournament appearance since 1993. They won and covered all three games in winning the Big South tournament.
Virginia opened up as a huge favorite in this No. 1 vs. No. 16 matchup, but oddsmakers continue to disrespect the Cavaliers as a legitimate March Madness threat. They were the eighth betting choice, according to current odds to win the national basketball championship.
Spread and total points scored betting line
The Cavaliers opened as 19-point favorites, but the line was climbing past 21 points Wednesday. The total was 121.5. (Compare lines and consensus on the Odds Shark matchup report.)
Odds Shark computer pick
Why pick Coastal Carolina to cover the spread
No. 16 schools are 0-112 against top seeds in the history of the tournament, but that doesn’t mean they can’t cover the point spread. Coastal Carolina won and covered in all three games on the way to winning the Big South conference tournament.
The Chanticleers are the nation’s 11th-best rebounding team with 39.6 per game.
Why pick Virginia to cover the spread
Virginia clinched an automatic bid to the tournament after winning the ACC regular-season and tournament titles. The Cavaliers play the best man-to-man defense in college basketball and have allowed an NCAA-best 55.3 points per game.
They finished the season 6-1-1 against the spread in their last eight games.
Smart betting pick
In the end, Virginia’s smothering defense will be too much for Coastal Carolina to handle. This spread seems like a lot for a defensive-minded team to cover, but the Cavaliers have won by 19 or more 12 different times this season.
Virginia is 17-1 straight up in its last 18 games and should crush Coastal Carolina.
Coastal Carolina Chanticleers: No. 221
Virginia Cavaliers: No. 24 (per Odds Shark power ranks)
March Madness betting trends
- Coastal Carolina won and covered all three games in the Big South tournament.
- This is the first time in the tourney since 1993 for Coastal Carolina.
- Virginia is 17-1 straight up in its past 18 games.
- Virginia 6-1-1 against the spread in its past eight games.
- Virginia is just 1-4 straight up in the tournament since 1997.