The No. 1 Virginia Cavaliers barely survived the No. 5 Auburn Tigers on Saturday night while the No. 3 Texas Tech Red Raiders won easily over the No. 2 Michigan State Spartans.
Even so, it’s the Cavaliers who have opened as a small favorite in the championship game at NJ online sportsbooks.
Virginia opened as a 1.5-point favorite at FanDuel Sportsbook app.
But Texas Tech has been paying off as an underdog, so it’s not surprising to see that the action has been coming in on them.
NCAA National Championship odds 2019
Here’s a look at the current odds for college basketball’s national championship at New Jersey’s top online sports betting sites:
Virginia vs. Texas Tech current odds
|Spread||Virginia -1.5||Virginia -1.5||Virginia -1.5|
|Moneyline||Virginia -122, Texas Tech +107||Virginia -125, Texas Tech +105||Virginia -125, Texas Tech +105|
Red Raiders have been money as the dog
Even as the No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the Red Raiders have been overlooked by the oddsmakers consistently.
They have found themselves as the dog in three straight games and haven’t been favored since the opening weekend.
They cashed as a +145 underdog against No. 2 Michigan State, +215 versus No. 1 Gonzaga and +115 vs No. 2 Michigan on FanDuel Sportsbook app.
The Red Raiders have looked really dominant in the NCAA Tournament, winning four of their five games by double-digits. They really haven’t had to sweat much.
Their defense, which ranked first in the nation in the KenPom Adjust Defensive Efficiency rating, is holding opponents to just 55.8 points per outing.
Cavaliers lucky to survive?
The Cavaliers needed a miracle last-second basket to force overtime versus No. 3 Purdue in the Elite Eight. They got it, pushed the game to overtime, and survived.
In the Final Four, they were down by two points with less than 10 seconds remaining when the referees missed a double-dribble, which would have given No. 5 Auburn the ball and likely the win.
Instead, Virginia’s Kyle Guy was fouled on a three-point attempt and then he calmly hit all three free throws with 0.6 seconds remaining to give Virginia the win.
There’s no question that this is a good Virginia team — especially on defense, where they rank fifth in that same KenPom defensive category that Texas Tech leads — but they have survived their last two games by the narrowest of margins.
Pro tip: Bet Texas Tech at the half
The Red Raiders have been an incredible bet at the half under current head coach Chris Beard.
They’ve now played nine NCAA Tournament games with him on the sidelines, and they’ve covered the spread every single time.
His impressive halftime adjustments haven’t been restricted to March Madness, though. The Red Raiders have covered the second half spread in 24 of their last 28 games on the road (or at a neutral site) and are 33-8-1 ATS in second halves versus non-conference opponents.
Title game could set a record for lowest over/under
The Virginia-Texas Tech over/under opened at 119 or 119.5, depending on which sportsbook you looked at. But it has since gone down to 118 at FanDuel and BetStars NJ.
However, with two stellar defensive teams playing for the championship, that number has dropped to 117.5 at DraftKings Sportsbook app.
If it were to hold, that would be the lowest total that we’ve seen since 2005 (123.5).
Most bettors will be expecting an under — even with a record-low of a total — not only because both defenses are strong but because both teams like to play at a very slow pace.
A free March Madness bet in NJ? You bet
The 2019 NCAA Tournament is down to just one game, and it’s expected to be a very close, competitive contest.
While it might be tough to predict who wins, you can take advantage of some great sportsbook promotions in New Jersey to have a free bet for the championship contests.
If you’re a first-time customer in the state of New Jersey and are looking for a safe, legal place to bet on the game, downloading one of the NJ sportsbook apps can get you a free bet to play with.
For example, if you sign up with FanDuel Sportsbook, they’ll hook you up with a free bet of up to $500. That’ll be nice to have to bet on either Texas Tech or Virginia (or the over/under). And if it happens to lose, you’ll get your money back.
Another option is to bet at BetStars sportsbook app in NJ, one of the most reputable brands in New Jersey. They’ll also hook you up with a similar offer, giving you a $500 match bet.
And special for the final weekend of March Madness, BetStars is giving new players $20 free for a limited time.
Lastly, if you’re looking for another promo, DraftKings NJ app offers up a $25 free bet for first-time customers. It comes to you in five $5 bets, which gives you five bets to use for the title game or anything else.
It’s good to open up accounts at multiple sportsbooks so that you can get the best price for each line, so consider taking advantage of each promo.
And most importantly, tune into the NCAA 2019 National Championship game on Monday night when the Virginia Cavaliers take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders.