Duke opens as favorite over North Carolina in Final Four and to win NCAA men's basketball championship

Duke heads into the Final Four as the consensus favorite to win the national title at sportsbooks, but the Blue Devils will have to get past archrival North Carolina to get to the championship game.

Duke has been installed as a 4.5-point favorite over the Tar Heels in their Final Four showdown Saturday in New Orleans. Kansas is a 4-point favorite over Villanova in the other national semifinal.

Caesars Sportsbook has Duke at +150 in its updated odds to win the national championship. Kansas is next at +190, followed by Villanova at +450 and North Carolina at +550.

The Tar Heels ended the Cinderella run of 15-seed Saint Peter's on Sunday to earn a spot in the Final Four. They'll take on Duke for the third time this season. The Blue Devils were favored in the first two meetings with North Carolina, including by 11 at home on March 5, in coach Mike Krzyzewski's final game at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Tar Heels won that game 94-81 in one of the largest point-spread upsets in the rivalry in recent years.

Duke was a popular national-title pick for bettors prior to the tournament. More bets were placed on the Blue Devils than any other team at Caesars Sportsbook, and FanDuel reported taking a $300,000 bet on the Blue Devils at 17-1. If Duke wins the national championship, the bet would pay a net $5.1 million.