NCAA Tournament Betting: Michigan State vs. North Carolina Picks, Prop Bets and Odds

Skyler Carlin
Skyler Carlin@skyler_carlin
NCAA Tournament Betting: Michigan State vs. North Carolina Picks, Prop Bets and Odds

Very few things on the sports calendar can match the excitement and unpredictability of the NCAA Tournament. So why not add betting to the mix via the college basketball odds at FanDuel Sportsbook?

The 2024 edition of the big dance has arrived, and here at FanDuel Research, we'll have you covered with a betting guide for each game.

Following an action-packed first day of the First Round in the NCAA Tournament, the Michigan State Spartans and the North Carolina Tar Heels are set to face each other in the Second Round. In a matchup between two storied college basketball programs on Saturday, which bets should interest you?

All college basketball odds come from FanDuel Sportsbook, and lines may change after this article is published.

NCAA Tournament Betting Picks

Michigan State vs. North Carolina Betting Odds

Date and Time: Saturday, March 23rd at 5:30 p.m. ET

Spread: North Carolina -3.5 (-114)

Total: 140.5


  • Michigan State: +136
  • North Carolina: -164

Michigan State vs. North Carolina Statistical Breakdown

Advanced stats from KenPom, Bart Torvik and numberFire.

Michigan State Spartans

  • numberFire Ranking: 18th
  • Bart Torvik Ranking: 23rd
  • KenPom Ranking: 18th
    • Adjusted Defensive Efficiency Ranking: 8th
    • Adjusted Offensive Efficiency Ranking: 57th
    • Adjusted Tempo Ranking: 305th

North Carolina Tar Heels

  • numberFire Ranking: 7th
  • Bart Torvik Ranking: 9th
  • KenPom Ranking: 9th
    • Adjusted Defensive Efficiency Ranking: 6th
    • Adjusted Offensive Efficiency Ranking: 24th
    • Adjusted Tempo Ranking: 41st

Michigan State vs. North Carolina Best Bet

North Carolina -3.5 (-114)

Betting against a Tom Izzo team as a lower seed can be a risky endeavor in the NCAA Tournament. But with North Carolina being a much better squad than the Mississippi State Bulldogs -- who Michigan State defeated in the First Round -- we'll be siding with the Tar Heels in Saturday's much-anticipated contest.

While the Spartans cruised to an 18-point victory over the Bulldogs, the Tar Heels also handled business by securing a 28-point win over the Wagner Seahawks in the Round of 64. Besides North Carolina being able to make this a pace-up matchup for Michigan State with the 46th adjusted tempo (70.4), per Bart Torvik's stats, it's going to be tough for the Spartans to slow down RJ Davis (21.4 PPG) and Armando Bacot (14.3 PPG, 10.3 RPG).

The Spartans may also have an issue slowing down the game due to them being 260th in free-throw rate (29.9%). When Michigan State took on Mississippi State, there wasn't a single free throw taken in the first half of the contest.

Davis could really cause problems for a Michigan State team that is 307th in three-point rate on defense (41.3%) after he has knocked down three-plus shots from beyond the arc in three consecutive games. Bacot could wreak havoc on the boards with the Spartans being 163rd in defensive rebound rate (28.7%) and 137th in offensive rebound rate (29.9%).

I don't feel extremely confident taking North Carolina to cover against a Michigan State team that seems like it is flipping the switch in March again. At the same time, the Tar Heels are a 1 seed for a reason and have the eighth-shortest odds to win the National Championship (+2000).

Michigan State vs. North Carolina Prop Bet

Armando Bacot Over 23.5 Points + Rebounds (-106)

As mentioned above, Bacot could dominate the glass in this game given Michigan State's inconsistencies in the rebounding department. Izzo and the Spartans are undoubtedly going to spend time trying to draw up a game plan that can contain Bacot, but the experienced big man is taking his game to another level at the perfect time.

Since the start of the ACC Tournament, Bacot has notched 24-plus points and rebounds in four straight outings. Bacot has recorded a double-double in 10 of his last 14 games, and he has posted at least 24 points-plus-rebounds in 20 of his 35 contests this season -- including 30-plus points and rebounds in three consecutive appearances.

With Bacot shooting a career-best 78% from the free-throw line this season, it should be noted that Michigan State is 176th in free-throw rate on defense (32.6%). If Bacot can avoid getting into foul trouble in what could be a physical matchup, he is primed to extend his streak of logging 24-plus points and rebounds on Saturday.

If you’re betting on any NCAA basketball action on March 23rd, take advantage of FanDuel Sportsbook’s Profit Boost Token! See the promotions page for more information.

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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.