The 2017 NCAA Division I men's basketball championship game between North Carolina and Gonzaga, which will take place on Monday at 9:20 p.m. ET, figures to be a close contest.
Spread and Over/Under Predictions
North Carolina is favored by 1.5 points over Gonzaga, and the over/under for the game is 153.5 points. The line opened at two points before dropping down on Sunday.
If both teams were 100 percent healthy, this would be a coin flip, but UNC junior point guard Joel Berry II, who is second on the team in scoring, with 14.5 points per game, hurt his right ankle in the first round against Texas Southern and his left ankle in the Elite Eight against Kentucky.
Berry said he was at "85 percent" in an interview with media members on Friday. He's been gutting out his injuries and noticeably playing as hard as he can out there. But it's clear they are slowing him down and hampering his jumper, which has gone cold—Berry made just six of his last 26 field goals in his last two games.
Given Berry's injuries, the slight edge goes to Gonzaga, especially considering the fact it is getting points. Take the Zags in this one.
The over/under does seem like a coin flip. Give the slight edge to the under because of the Zags' defense, plus the fact UNC is pretty good on D itself (No. 16 in adjusted defensive efficiency).
Prop Bet Predictions
|Most Outstanding Player|
|Joel Berry II||UNC||6-1|
The Most Outstanding Player has come from the championship team every year since 1983. Expect that trend to hold serve this year.
If Gonzaga wins, then junior point guard Nigel Williams-Goss will be the pick, as he's filled up the stat sheet by posting 17.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game.
If UNC wins, it may largely depend on whether junior forward Justin Jackson or senior forward Kennedy Meeks has the better final game.
Jackson leads UNC in scoring, with 20.2 points per game in the tournament, but Meeks has willed the Tar Heels to victories in the Elite Eight and Final Four, averaging 16.0 points, 15.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in those two games.
The pick here is that Gonzaga wins, which means that Williams-Goss is your likely MOP.
|Margin of Victory|
|Gonzaga Win (1-3 points)||6-1|
|Gonzaga Win (4-6 points)||9-1|
|Gonzaga Win (7-9 points)||10-1|
|Gonzaga Win (10-12 points)||15-1|
|UNC Win (1-3 points)||11-2|
|UNC Win (4-6 points)||7-1|
|UNC Win (7-9 points)||8-1|
|UNC Win (10-12 points)||10-1|
|Double Result Props|
|Gonzaga HT/Gonzaga FT||17-10|
|Gonzaga HT/UNC FT||11-2|
|Tie HT/Gonzaga FT||15-1|
|Tie HT/UNC FT||15-1|
|UNC HT/Gonzaga FT||9-2|
|UNC HT/UNC FT||7-5|
It's hard to envision either team running away with this game, as both are too talented, balanced and experienced to lay an egg on Monday (then again, if this does become a blowout, it wouldn't exactly be the first time that a game predicted to be close got out of hand).
That being said, taking anything more than six points in the margin-of-victory prop does not seem like a sharp play.
Given that Gonzaga is the pick, the debate is whether to go with one to three points at 6-1 or four to six points at 9-1.
We're getting much better odds at four to six, so why not go with that? It's conceivable this game stays close until the end and Gonzaga ices it with a couple free throws to knock this contest into the four-to-six range.
As for the double-result prop, picking a tie at halftime isn't exactly the smartest move given all the possible scoring combinations. If you have the guts to take one team to lead at halftime and the other team to win the game outright, by all means go for it, but that seems like a risky proposition as well.
Again, since Gonzaga is the pick to win, the prediction for this prop is that Gonzaga leads at halftime and at the end of the game, which will pay off at 17-10 odds for bettors.