The intrastate college basketball showdown between North Carolina vs. North Carolina State tips off this Wednesday (1/10/24) at 8:00pm EST in Raleigh North Carolina as a home game for the Wolfpack. Get North Carolina vs. North Carolina State predictions and best bets below as our best bet is on North Carolina State +4.5 as their guard heavy attack breaks the UNC defense.
North Carolina Vs. North Carolina State Prediction
With North Carolina G Elliot Cadeau playing more of a true point guard role this season, RJ Davis has been able to feed off him as more of a dual threat player in the backcourt. With RJ Davis commanding defensive attention while Elliot has the ball, this has also freed up the paint for star big man Armando Bacot to get easy scoring opportunities down low.
While this game plan has been successful for the Tar Heels against their recent competition, they now run into a North Carolina State team who is designed to give the Tar Heels fits. Forward DJ Burns Jr plays as more of a true big man, anchoring the paint while surrounded by court stretching guards. This allows NC State to sacrifice interior coverage with Burns bodying Bacot while their guards are in a better position to get a hand in the face of their shooters.
With North Carolina’s scoring pace expected to slow down, it will be up to the Wolfpack’s offense to keep this within the number. They rank 69th in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency per Kenpom, basing their production from their guard play as three of their four double digit scorers come from that position. Like their ability to get stretched out on defense, the Wolfpack guards do the same on the other end which opens up lanes for their off-ball scorers to exploit.
North Carolina State’s offensive production takes a massive boost when they get the benefit of playing on their home court. As a whole, North Carolina State’s Effective Field Goal Percentage clocks in at 51.2% per TeamRankings. When at home, that percentage shoots up to 56.2% which indicates that they are more than capable of staying within scoring pace. Factor in their guards crashing to the glass at a high rate and second chance points will be limited for UNC as well.
North Carolina Vs. North Carolina State Prediction: North Carolina State +4.5
North Carolina Vs. North Carolina State Best Odds
With an identity set to give UNC fits, oddsmakers have this as a tight contest by opening North Carolina as a -4.5 road favorite. Bettors are backing the idea of a potential upset, betting the Wolfpack down to +3.5 in some shops. Expect their stretched-out style of play to give UNC fits on both ends, keeping the contest close enough for a potential upset.
As for the total, points are expected to be scored at a quick pace as oddsmakers opened the number at 153.5. Bettors believe points will come at a slightly faster pace, backing the over up to 154.5 as of writing. The over brings some intrigue as the Wolfpack’s offense plays at a far better rate when at home, yet UNC’s potential shooting woes brings too much variance for a bet.
North Carolina Vs. North Carolina State Key Matchups
Can DJ Burns Jr find offensive success against Armando Bacot?
DJ Burns Jr Vs. Armando Bacot
It’s a battle of the bigs as Burns will need to have success on both the offensive and defensive end to win this game. He has been a productive scorer for the Wolfpack so far this season, averaging a modest 12.6 points per game as their true big man.
DJ Burns Jr. (@beastboyburns) fakes out the defender and puts in the game winner with 0.4 seconds left to go. NC State beats Notre Dame 54-52 to begin conference play (Video via @MrMatthew_CFB) pic.twitter.com/vOmkAqvjDZ
— NCAA Buzzer Beaters & Game Winners (@NCAABuzzerBters) January 4, 2024
With the Wolfpack going guard heavy, Burns finds himself with plenty of singular coverage as opposing defenses have to stretch out to guard the perimeter. Bacot is no slouch on defense, yet he can shy away knowing that he is too valuable to get into foul trouble. With Burns playing a very physical style of play down low, expect him to capitalize on plenty of high-quality scoring opportunities.
North Carolina Sports Betting Update
North Carolina sports betting is set to go live anytime between Super Bowl and June 14, 2024. Early reports from state legislators say that the goal is to have it up and running by March Madness, though a formal date has not been set yet as of writing. Were North Carolina to launch ahead of March Madness, basketball fans across the state would be able to place wagers on all tournament games. Moreover, individuals will also be able to place these wagers using bonuses such as the $1 get $365 in bonus bets offer from Bet365 North Carolina and the Bet $5 Get $150 in bonus bets offer from FanDuel to wager on their favorite in-state teams.
For up-to-date North Carolina sports betting coverage — including the best new user promo codes — check out the “NC Sports Betting” tab on Lineups.
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