NCAAB Georgia Tech Vs. North Carolina Odds, Picks, Predictions (12/10/22)

Is North Carolina the most disappointing preseason number one team in college basketball history? While I have not looked back in years past to compare, it sure feels like it as they are in the midst of a four-game losing streak. Worse yet, star player Armando Bacot is dealing with a nagging shoulder injury. Can the Tar Heels get back on track in their ACC home opener against Georgia Tech?

Georgia Tech Vs. North Carolina Odds

Oddsmakers think so as they opened the Tar Heels as a -13.5 favorite. Bettors are slightly skeptical, backing Georgia Tech down to +12.5. Even with the injury uncertainty of Armando Bacot, the Tar Heels should still outclass the Yellow Jackets on both ends of the court with more emphasis on their guard play with Caleb Love and RJ Davis leading the show.

As for the total, points are expected to be scored at a flash as oddsmakers opened the total at 142.5. Bettors are in agreement as they have backed the over by taking it as high as 143 in some shops. While the UNC offense is one of the best in the nation, their defense has fallen off a cliff and will give Georgia Tech ample opportunities to keep scoring pace with the Tar Heels.

Georgia Tech Vs. North Carolina Prediction & Pick

The Pick: Over 142.5

With that said, I will take the over at no higher than 143 as UNC has failed to prove that they can stop a nosebleed on the defensive end while raining down points on the other end. The perfect recipe for an over, giving a high-quality chance of points being scored on both ends, even if Georgia’s Adjusted Offensive Efficiency is only 143rd in the nation.

My opinion does not change whether Armando Bacot gives it a go tomorrow or not as the middle of the paint will be exploitable for the Yellow Jackets guards all game. The UNC bigs of Bacot and Pete Nance have struggled to force low quality opportunities down low, leaving the middle of the paint open for opposing offenses to get high quality scoring opportunities.

While Bacot’s scoring prowess has been sorely missed on the offensive end, UNC has still been able to generate scoring production during his absence. This is in large part of UNC having arguably the best duo of guards running the show up top who are more than able to beat you in all three levels.

Georgia Tech does not provide the most elite defense, only ranking 102nd in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency. They do excel at guarding the perimeter, allowing offenses to hit only at 28.3% from deep. Should UNC not be able to hit at a consistent rate from deep, they will be able to exploit the middle with Caleb Love dribbling off of screens and being an elite finisher near the rim.

Georgia Tech Vs. North Carolina Key Matchups

Can UNC’s secondary scoring be able to step up? Will both teams generate second chance points on the boards?

UNC secondary scoring vs Georgia Tech defense

With Bacot still unconfirmed, this shifts the offensive load on guards Caleb Love and RJ Davis. But can anyone else step up to diversify the scoring output?

This sets up nicely for Pete Nance who will most likely slot in at center with the Tar Heels going with a smaller lineup. He has proven to be a capable scorer when called upon, averaging 12.9 points per game with a decent three-point average.

Leaky Black is predominantly known as one of the best on ball defenders in the league but may be asked to use his athleticism to attack the rim more. If he could round into a fifth scorer, the Tar Heels starting lineup would go back to being the most dangerous unit in the league.

Battle of the boards

One of the staples of the Tar Heels since the Dean Smith era has been their ability to crash the boards and create second chance opportunities. UNC will keep that same identity, even while potentially missing Bacot, with every other starter averaging 4.0 rebounds per game or more.

Georgia Tech is also a fantastic rebounding unit, garnering second chance opportunities themselves to chip away at our over ticket as well. With UNC playing an ooh-lay style of defense and allowing clean looks at the rim, the Yellow Jackets should see their fair share of points.

Verdict

Until UNC can prove they have the ability to play defense, I will take the over as Georgia Tech can maintain scoring pace as well as haul in offensive rebounds for second chance opportunities.

Kody is a sports betting writer here at Lineups. He specializes in college sports as well as the NFL and NBA. He won’t quit believing in the Lions Super Bowl chances even when they are eliminated.

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