Kansas vs. UNC Is a Bettor's Worst Nightmare

North Carolina v Duke
North Carolina v Duke / Lance King/GettyImages

After months of excitement, and weeks of tournament play, we have finally arrived at the National Championship Game. The No.8  North Carolina Tar Heels and No.1 Kansas Jayhawks face off tonight to determine the top dog in the NCAA this season. The spread for the game at WynnBET Sportsbook currently sits at four points in favor of the Jayhawks.

And while that is a decent spread for a title game, on paper, these two teams match up very well. So well in fact that it’s been frustrating as a bettor to find an edge worth betting in this game. It is shaping up to be an epic from a fan standpoint. But, a real nail-biter for anyone betting on the title game. 

Will UNC or Kansas Win it All on Monday Night?

Just how well-matched are these teams? Let’s dive into some analytics to make this point a bit more understandable. Both teams have offenses that rank between 15th and 20th in the nation. Both teams shoot 36.1 percent from behind the arc and a similar true shooting percentage of around 57%. 

On defense, Kansas does have a slight edge in overall scoring, but UNC has a strong defense that can hang with anyone. Both teams allow opponents to shoot right around 47 percent from two-point range and have an effective field goal percentage in the 46.5 range. 

The pair are even similar in rebounds per game, blocks per game, and steals per game. Where one has a slight edge in a certain category, the other team picks up the slack in another. 

All these similarities do point to one strong wager in my mind. The underdog. When teams are this closely matched, the value is generally in betting on the underdog. Especially in this case where the spread is four and the ML value on UNC is hard to pass up. My colleague, Peter Dewey, points out in his preview for this game that the Tar Heels have been very successful in national title games. UNC is 4-1 in their last five championship games.

UNC does a few little things better that I believe will have a big effect on the outcome of this game. First, and foremost, they are a much better free-throw shooting team. The Tar Heels shoot 76.3 percent from the charity stripe while the Jayhawks hit 72 percent of their free throws. This is particularly interesting because the Jaywalks defense averages 17.5 personal fouls per game which is outside of the top 115 teams in the nation. 

These differences might not seem like much, but that is the point of this. These teams are so well-matched that betting on this title game is becoming a nightmare. But, I still think the value is on UNC to cover this game with a solid chance to win outright.