Public backing Gonzaga in Vegas; $300K bet on UNC

ByDavid Purdum ESPN logo
Monday, April 3, 2017

North Carolina was still the favorite in the national championship game between the Tar Heels and Gonzaga on Monday afternoon, but not by much.

The point spread had been shrinking since oddsmakers first installed the Tar Heels as consensus 2-point favorites shortly after the championship game matchup with the Bulldogs was finalized Saturday night.

As of Monday afternoon, roughly four hours before the 9:20 p.m. ET tipoff, North Carolina was listed as a 1-point favorite at most sportsbooks. The line had dipped to pick 'em Monday morning at multiple books, but those odds lasted only minutes, before the Tar Heels quickly regained the status of favorites.

If the point spread holds with North Carolina as the favorite, Monday's game will be the first all season in which Gonzaga (37-1) has been an underdog. The betting public seemed to be gravitating to the Bulldogs.

As of Monday afternoon at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas, approximately three times as much money had been bet on Gonzaga as had been bet on North Carolina.

"The public likes Gonzaga a lot," SuperBook assistant manager Ed Salmons told ESPN.

William Hill's Nevada sportsbook also reported having more action on Gonzaga, with 72 percent of the money wagered on the point spread on the Bulldogs as of Monday afternoon. The action at William Hill includes a $38,636 bet on the Zags +1.5.

The money was more evenly distributed at sportsbook operator CG Technology, which runs the books at the Venetian, Cosmo and several other venues in Las Vegas.

"[It's] all public money," CG Technology vice president of risk Jason Simbal told ESPN in a text message. "Only sharp bet we took was on [the] Zags.

The bulk of the money bet on the game will be placed in the final few hours leading up to tipoff, but some large wagers had already been placed.

The South Point sportsbook reported taking a $300,000 moneyline bet on the Tar Heels to win $250,000. According to South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews, the big bet on North Carolina was placed by the same customer who had risked $525,000 on the Tar Heels to beat Oregon straight-up.

The SuperBook also reported taking a "decent-sized" moneyline bet on the Tar Heels against Gonzaga.

A $50,000 futures bet on North Carolina placed on March 24 at a William Hill sportsbook that, at 4-1 odds, will net $200,000 with a Tar Heels' win over Gonzaga.

The over/under on the championship game was sitting at 155 at most books as of Monday afternoon.