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March Madness Friday Round of 64 Odds: Virginia Heaviest Betting Favorite

Sports Illustrated logo Sports Illustrated 3/14/2018 OddsShark
a man holding a basketball © Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images

The top-ranked Virginia Cavaliers (31-2) have won only one game by more than 20 points since crushing the Clemson Tigers 61-36 back on January 23.

However, the top-seeded Cavaliers will enter the 2018 NCAA Tournament as 22-point favorites on the March Madness odds at sportsbooks monitored by for Friday's Round of 64 matchup with the 16th-seeded Maryland-Baltimore County Retrievers (24-10) in the South Region.

RELATED: Men’s NCAA Tournament bracket

Meanwhile, the Retrievers have been blown out in more than half of their losses, with four of them decided by more than 20 points and four more by double digits. UMBC is coming off an impressive run in the America East Tournament, avenging two of those losses by upsetting the top-seeded Vermont Catamounts 65-62 as 10-point underdogs in the championship game.

Virginia, at +550 on the overall odds to win the NCAA Tournament, is riding an eight-game winning streak straight up (4-4 against the spread), capped by the school's third title run in the ACC Tournament.

Two other huge favorites in Round of 64 action on Friday include the second-seeded Purdue Boilermakers (28-6) versus the 15th-seeded Cal State-Fullerton Titans (20-11) in the East Region and the second-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels (25-10) against the 15th-seeded Lipscomb Bison (23-9) in the West. The 11th-ranked Boilermakers are listed as 20.5-point favorites while the 10th-ranked Tar Heels are 19.5-point chalk.

There are also four very competitive matchups on Friday with point spreads of less than two points separating schools.

In the East Region, the seventh-seeded Arkansas Razorbacks (23-11) find themselves as 1.5-point underdogs against the 10th-seeded Butler Bulldogs (20-13) despite having a better record and higher seed. In the West, the ninth-seeded Florida State Seminoles (20-11) are in a similar situation versus the eighth-seeded Missouri Tigers (20-12), sitting as 1-point favorites as the lower seed.

Arkansas and Missouri are not getting much respect from bettors out of the SEC. The Tigers in particular were not impressive in the conference tournament, with highly-touted freshman Michael Porter Jr. struggling in his return from back surgery.

In addition, the South Region has two more close games according to oddsmakers. The seventh-seeded Nevada Wolf Pack (27-7) will meet the 10th-seeded Texas Longhorns (19-14) as 1-point favorites before the Creighton Bluejays (21-11) take on the ninth-seeded Kansas State Wildcats (22-11) as 1.5-point favorites.

Related slideshow: 2017-18 college basketball season (Provided by photo services)

St. Bonaventure's LaDarien Griffin (15) dunks as UCLA's Kris Wilkes (13) looks on during the first half of a First Four game of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament, Tuesday, March 13, 2018, in Dayton, Ohio. 2017-18 college basketball season


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