Vegas lists Tar Heels as 4-5 favorites to win NCAA tournament

ByDavid Purdum ESPN logo
Monday, March 28, 2016

North Carolina, the only No. 1 seed left in the NCAA tournament, heads to the Final Four as the outright favorite to win the national championship.

The Tar Heels begin the week as 4-5 favorites at the Westgate SuperBook, followed by Villanovaat 11-4,Oklahomaat 4-1 and long-shot Syracuseat 10-1.

North Carolina will face Syracuse on Saturday in Houston. The Tar Heels opened as 9.5-point favorites.

Villanova takes on Oklahoma in the other national semifinal. The Wildcats are two-point favorites over the Sooners at most sportsbooks.

The Tar Heels began the season among the favorites at 8-1 and stayed at or near the top of odds boards for the entire season. They weren't an overly popular bet, though, and weren't among the top five teams in money wagered or number of bets at the SuperBook prior to Selection Sunday.

North Carolina's longest odds of the season at William Hill's Nevada sportsbook were 10-1 in early December, a couple weeks after a loss to Northern Iowa. William Hill took a $55,000 bet on the Tar Heels to win it all at 5-1 on Selection Sunday, a ticket that would net $275,000.

Syracuse, the first No. 10-seed to reach the Final Four, was 1,000-1 in mid-January at the Westgate SuperBook. The Westgate booked four bets at that price, including a $100 bet that would pay $100,100.

In 2011, Virginia Commonwealth reached the Final Four after being listed at 5,000-1 at one point during the season.

North Carolina won both meetings in the regular season against Syracuse, 84-73 at home and 75-70 on the road.

Villanova was attracting the bulk of the early bets against Oklahoma at sportsbook operator CG Technology. According to CG Technology vice president of race and sports Jason Simbal, 10 times more money had been wagered on the favored Wildcats compared to the Sooners as of Sunday night.