College basketball betting: No. 4 Virginia goes down as a huge favorite vs. San Francisco

Frank Schwab
·2 min read

It’s not quite losing to a 16 seed in March Madness, but Virginia was dealt the first major upset of the college basketball season.

Virginia, ranked No. 4, was a double-digit favorite over San Francisco. USF had already lost 76-68 to UMass Lowell this season.

And San Francisco ended up with the upset. The Dons won 61-60, with Virginia missing a 3-pointer in the final seconds. At least those who bet Virginia as a big favorite knew for a long time they had no chance to cover.

Virginia was a big favorite

Virginia was between a 14- and 15.5-point favorite at various sportsbooks before the game. It happened on a Friday morning with college football games going on, so the game at Mohegan Sun Casino probably didn’t get a lot of betting attention. It got interesting when USF had a lead after halftime and kept it for most of the second half.

San Francisco started very slowly but was able to get hot from 3. The Dons hit 13-of-28 3-point shots, a huge factor in the win. Virginia has its famous packline defense that strangles anything inside the line, so a team like USF needs to hit some threes to win.

Of course, the upset loss brought back some bad memories for Virginia, which was the first No. 1 seed in NCAA tournament history to lose in the first round. Of course, they won an NCAA championship the next season and technically are still defending champs.

San Francisco's Khalil Shabazz, center, watches his 3-point basket go in against Virginia. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
San Francisco's Khalil Shabazz, center, watches his 3-point basket go in against Virginia. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

USF hit key shots

The Cavaliers were one of the four clear favorites to win the title going into the season at BetMGM. They finished last season strong, always play good defense and were expected to be better on offense with pieces like newcomer Sam Hauser, a Marquette transfer.

Part of Virginia’s slow-tempo, defense-first style is they’ll find themselves in close games more often than not. Then if a team like USF can string together some big 3-pointers, it’ll be in danger of losing to an inferior team.

The season is young and Virginia should be just fine. But if you expected some chaos during this weird college basketball season, you have one large upset just three days into it.

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