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Virginia Cavaliers, Vols Among Big Friday March Madness Favorites

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The Virginia Cavaliers will be looking to atone for last year’s historic early exit from the NCAA Tournament when they take on the Gardener-Webb Bulldogs on Friday in first-round action as 22-point favorites on the March Madness betting odds.

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Last year, the Cavaliers earned a dubious place in the March Madness record books with a stunning 74-54 loss to UMBC that marked the first time a top seed has fallen to defeat to a No. 16 seed in first-round play.

Virginia returns to March Madness as the top seed in the South Region despite making a disappointing early exit from the ACC Tournament with a 69-59 loss to Florida State as 8.5-point chalk in the tournament semi-final. However, the team has avoided consecutive straight-up losses in 72 overall contests ahead of Friday’s game at Colonial Life Arena.

The Bulldogs make their first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament after marching to victory in the Big South Tournament. Gardner-Webb pulled off stunning upsets of top-seeded Campbell and No. 2 Radford to extend their current SU and against the spread win streak to five games, but enjoys low expectations of advancing far as a +200000 longshot to win it all on the NCAA Tournament odds.

 

Tennessee Clear Favorite vs. Colgate on Friday

 

In other South Region action, the No. 2 Tennessee Volunteers will be looking to snap out of a shaky 6-4 SU stretch run when they hit the floor against the No. 15 Colgate Red Raiders as heavy 17.5-point chalk.

The Volunteers came out flat in their ACC Tournament final clash with Auburn, falling 84-64 in their second loss in eight days to the Tigers, and now own a middling 4-3 SU record in their past seven outings as betting chalk.

The recent swoon comes at a bad time for Tennessee, which bowed out to the surprising Loyola-Chicago Ramblers on opening weekend a year ago in its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2014. That is reflected on the March Madness lines, where the Volunteers sport the weakest odds of any No. 2 seed to win this year’s national championship at +1600.

The Red Raiders return to March Madness for the first time since 1996 after claiming both the Patriot League regular season and tournament titles, and have also posted SU wins in 11 straight outings. But with just one No. 15 seed posting an opening-round win since 2013, Colgate lags as a +20000 longshot to win the South Region.

In Midwest Region action on the Friday March Madness odds, the North Carolina Tar Heels hope to begin their march towards a second national championship in three years as they battle No. 15 Iona as 23-point chalk, while the No. 6 Iowa State Cyclones look to build on their  victory in the Big 12 Tournament as they take on No. 11 Ohio State as 6-point favorites.

The No. 3 Texas Tech Red Raiders will be looking to build on last year’s march to the Elite Eight as they clash with No. 14 Northern Kentucky in a West Region matchup as a 13.5-point favorite, while over in the East Region, the No. 5 Mississippi State Bulldogs vie for their first victory in NCAA Tournament action since 2008 as they tip off against No. 12 Liberty as 6.5-point favorites.

*Odds as of March 20, 2019

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