College Basketball Betting: North Carolina Looks to Complete Season Sweep Over NC State

Riley Thomas
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College Basketball Betting: North Carolina Looks to Complete Season Sweep Over NC State

With only three games remaining before the postseason tips off, North Carolina is looking to clinch a regular season title in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).

The Tar Heels have a one-game lead over Duke for first place in the conference standings. If UNC wins their next two games, they will at least clinch a tie for the regular season title. Of course, winning out would guarantee North Carolina taking home the title. One thing's for sure -- the regular season finale between UNC and Duke is gearing up to be a big one.

Saturday's matchup against NC State is vital as North Carolina hopes to take one step closer to the ACC title. The Wolfpack are also on the outside looking in for the NCAA Tournament. Saturday brings a quad one opportunity against the Tar Heels; a win would likely keep NC State's March Madness dreams alive.

According to FanDuel Sportsbook's college basketball odds, North Carolina is favored by 11.5 points. Let's break down the matchup. What could be the best bet for this ACC clash?

All NCAA basketball odds via FanDuel Sportsbook.

NC State-North Carolina Betting Odds

Betting Odds: Spread, Moneyline and Total

Tipoff: Saturday (Mar. 2), 4:00 p.m. ET on ESPN

Spread: North Carolina -11.5 (-102)


  • NC State: +470
  • North Carolina: -670

Total: 152.5 (-110/-110)

NC State at North Carolina Matchup Analysis

The Tar Heels cruised to a 67-54 win in the previous head-to-head matchup on January 10th. UNC was favored by only 2.5 points in this one. Could Saturday's game feature a more lopsided result with the Heels listed as double-digit favorites?

Since January 6th, NC State has been held to under 60 points on only two occasions. One was against Virginia, who features KenPom's 10th-best adjusted defensive efficiency. This says a lot about North Carolina's defense (seventh-best adjusted defensive efficiency). Slowing the Wolfpack is no easy task, for the offense ranks in the 70th percentile with 76.2 points per game (PPG) while attempting 40.6 two-pointers per game (86th percentile).

The Tar Heels erased this strength in the last matchup as NC State totaled only 24 points in the paint with a 27.3% field goal percentage (FG%). UNC features a daunting defensive frontcourt with Harrison Ingram (2.40) and Armando Bacot (2.55), who both hold Defensive Bayesian Performance Ratings (DBPR) of at least 2.40, per EvanMiya. For NC State, Jayden Taylor (11.8 PPG), DJ Burns Jr. (11.8 PPG), and Casey Morsell (11.6 PPG) all take over 55.0% of their shots at the rim.

Bart Torvik labels only 30.6% of opponent field goals as close twos against North Carolina (93rd percentile). This exceptional interior defense could present many problems for the Wolfpack yet again.

An NC State defense that ranks 84th in KenPom's adjusted defensive efficiency could also be exposed. The Wolfpack's biggest challenge will likely be finding ways to slow one of the nation's top players -- RJ Davis (21.7 PPG). The senior guard comes off a 42-point explosion -- which was a career-high -- and is averaging 23.3 PPG over his previous six outings. NC State's backcourt of DJ Horne (0.79) and Morsell (1.06) have underwhelming DBPRs, giving Davis another opportunity to shine.

NC State at North Carolina Best Bet

Under 152.5 (-110)

Following the matchup analysis, it's clear why North Carolina is viewed as a heavy favorite on Saturday. But is the spread low enough to back the Tar Heels?

I'm avoiding the point spread and instead leaning on the total. The 152.5 total is a pretty significant number that will require some serious points. In the previous head-to-head collision, the total was set at 154. The under easily hit with the two teams combining for only 121 points. I expect a similar result for the upcoming matchup.

UNC's elite interior defense is still a very real problem for the Wolfpack. NC State takes only 34.3% of their shots from three-point land, which ranks in the bottom half of college basketball. Plus, they convert only 34.1% of their three-pointers (bottom 48%). DJ Horne (17.5 PPG) is really the only reliable shooter in the lineup as he cashes in 42.9% of his threes.

This is exactly the problem, though. If NC State cannot regularly score around the rim, the offense seems to almost entirely hinge on Horne's play. This will likely lead to a poor offensive showing against one of the nation's best teams.

With UNC converting 35.4% of their threes (72nd percentile), the Wolfpack have a decent chance of slowing this attack as they give up only 20.1 three-point shots per game (74th percentile). This worked out in NC State's favor in the previous matchup with the Tar Heels making only 7 of 21 attempts from deep (33.3%).

Ultimately, I believe this total will fall short of 153 due to North Carolina's strong defense and the Wolfpack's ability to limit the three-ball.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.