March Madness: Bettors like Kansas and the over in the national championship

Monday night will feature the last college basketball game we see until November. Kansas and North Carolina will meet in the championship game as March Madness comes to an end. Two blue bloods will battle it out for the title, and there has been a plethora of betting action ahead of the big game. What's going on at the sportsbook ahead of Monday night's finale?

Bettors are siding with Kansas

As with most championship games, there's relatively even action on both sides of the game at BetMGM. However, Kansas is getting a bit more love from the betting public than North Carolina.

As of Monday morning, 54% of the bets and 53% of the money is backing Kansas to cover as a 4.5-point favorite. The betting market opened with the Jayhawks as a 3.5-point favorite, but that number has gone up as we get closer to tip-off.

Kansas finished with a share of the Big 12 regular-season title and then won the conference tournament. It entered the NCAA tournament as a No. 1 seed, which was well deserved after establishing itself as the best team in what many consider the country's most competitive conference.

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - APRIL 02: Zach Clemence #21 of the Kansas Jayhawks reacts with his team as they take on the Villanova Wildcats during the second half in the semifinal game of the 2022 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Final Four at Caesars Superdome on April 02, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Brett Wilhelm/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
Bettors like Kansas to cover on Monday night. (Brett Wilhelm/NCAA Photos via Getty Images) (Brett Wilhelm via Getty Images)

On the other side, North Carolina was inconsistent all season long. It did finish the season by winning six straight games before losing to Virginia Tech in the ACC tournament. The Tar Heels entered the tournament as a No. 8 seed and have eliminated Marquette, Baylor, UCLA, Saint Peter's and Duke en route to the national championship game.

Of the bettors who do like North Carolina, it seems like quite a few are backing the Tar Heels to win the game outright. North Carolina is getting almost two-thirds of the moneyline action. UNC opened at +140 to win the game, but that number is currently up to +155 at BetMGM.

Despite split, books rooting for Kansas

With Kansas receiving the slight majority of the betting action, you might expect sportsbooks to be rooting for North Carolina on Monday night. However, that is not the case.

"The Jayhawks winning is the best result for BetMGM. The sportsbook is hoping North Carolina left it all on the court against Duke," said Jason Scott, the VP of trading at BetMGM.

The main reason for this is the long-shot odds the Tar Heels have overcome this tournament. Entering as a No. 8 seed, UNC was 125-to-1 to win the tournament before the games got underway. The Heels were underdogs in their games against Baylor, UCLA and Duke.

BetMGM would certainly prefer to pay out a few extra Kansas bets on Monday night rather than writing out the checks for anyone who got North Carolina at extreme odds over the past few weeks.

Bettors like the over

Not everyone loves picking a side in a game. Some would rather just root for points or for defense. On Monday, it seems like a majority of bettors will be rooting for a high-scoring game.

Currently at BetMGM, 59% of the bets and 55% of the money is backing North Carolina and Kansas to go over 151.5 points. Despite the majority of the action on the over, the total has actually come down two points from the opening number of 153.5 points.

Both Final Four games featuring these two teams went over the total. North Carolina has eclipsed 90 points twice and 80 points three times so far this tournament. Kansas has eclipsed 80 points twice and has at least 76 points in four of its five games.

On average in the tournament, North Carolina is scoring over 82 points per game while Kansas is scoring 77. Quick math tells you that adds up to almost 160 points, which is well over the total. However, as we know, there's a lot more to handicapping a total than adding up points per game.

Popular prop bets

Betting on individual player props for college sports is not legal in every state, but in the states where it is, these are the most popular props:

  • Caleb Love to score 25-plus points: The sophomore guard is one of the main reasons North Carolina has defied the odds and made it all the way here. He dropped 28 points on Duke on Saturday. Earlier in the tournament, Love scored 30 points against UCLA. The explosive guard has the ability to take a game over. However, in 38 games this season, those are the only two games that Love scored at least 25 points. If you think Love's magical run can continue, he's +500 to score 25 or more points on Monday night.

  • North Carolina to reach 50 points first: Many are projecting a close and high-scoring game on Monday night. Getting to 50 points shouldn't be an issue for either of these offenses. However, as the betting underdog, North Carolina is +125 to get to 50 points before Kansas does. There's not much rhyme or reason here, but it's a plus-money shot and another fun way to sweat this game.

  • Brady Manek over 2.5 3-pointers: The long-haired and bearded Manek has become a household name over the course of this tournament. The 6-foot-9 forward is shooting over 40% from three on the season. In five games in the tournament, Manek has made 19 3-point field goals and has at least three in every game. However, in the 33 games prior to the tournament, Manek went over 2.5 3-pointers just 13 times. Bettors love Manek to go over 2.5 3-pointers made on Monday.