Syracuse vs. North Carolina tips off this Saturday (1/13/24) at 12:00pm EST in Chapel Hill, NC as a home game for the Tar Heels. Get Syracuse vs. North Carolina predictions and best bets below as our best bet is on under 154 in what should be a defensive slugfest.
Syracuse Vs. North Carolina Prediction
Coming off a win against the North Carolina State Wolfpack, the North Carolina Tar Heels are now in sole possession of first place in the ACC. Their turnaround from last year’s poor performance has come from tweaks on offense, including Elliot Cadeau taking over as point guard, in addition to massive strides in defensive production.
Their defense will be on full display in their matchup against Syracuse as the Orange have struggled on the offensive end. Syracuse enters this contest ranked 143rd in adjusted offensive efficiency per Kenpom. They now have to find answers in a pinch against a North Carolina defense that holds opposing offenses to an impressive 45.3% Effective Field Goal Percentage, good for 24th best in the nation per TeamRankings.
A big reason for the Tar Heels impressive defensive metrics derives from their ability to limit perimeter success, holding opposing offenses to just 29.2% from deep. Syracuse runs rather small with no true scoring center, allowing UNC to stretch out to the perimeter while anchoring Bacot into the interior. This keeps UNC’s defenders’ hands in opposing shooters’ faces, most likely smothering the Cuse shot attempts from deep and holding them to minimal success.
On the defensive end, Syracuse ranks 38th in adjusted efficiency. Like UNC, Syracuse has also done a good job at limiting opposing three-point success as opposing offenses shoot a lowly 31.5% against them. That may revert UNC back to more interior scoring, using Bacot to their advantage against smaller competition, especially since their 7’4” center Naheem McLeod is out indefinitely with a foot injury.
Syracuse Vs. North Carolina Prediction: Under 154
Syracuse Vs. North Carolina Best Odds
With Syracuse currently going through a transition in coaching and new personnel, oddsmakers have this game pegged as the Tar Heels to lose by opening them as a -12.5 favorite. Bettors have yet to take a firm stand on either side of the number, keeping the spread the same as of writing. UNC is worth a play as they possess a higher chance for more scoring consistency.
Points are expected to be scored at a quick pace in this contest as oddsmakers opened the number at 154. Like the spread, bettors have yet to take a firm stand on either side of the total and have kept the number the same since the opener. Take the under as oddsmakers continue to undervalue the improved Tar Heels defense, shaping this game up to be a defensive slugfest.
Syracuse Vs. North Carolina Key Matchups
Can Armando Bacot hold the Cuse offense off the boards and limit second chance opportunities?
Battle of the Boards
A big factor towards cashing this bet is limiting opposing offensive rebounds as second chance points can kill an under ticket. Especially with both teams playing at an above average tempo with the Tar Heels ranking 64th in Adjusted Tempo and Syracuse at 41st.
Clemson doubled Armando Bacot on every post touch to begin the game. He had 3 assists out of the block that led Brownell to adjust & leave P.J. Hall on an island. Bacot was too much. 14 points, 16 rebounds. It’s over when he gets the ball this deep. @HeelIllustrated pic.twitter.com/bpG2JOThhN
— David Sisk (@CoachDavidSisk) January 7, 2024
That makes for an intriguing battle as Armando Bacot is a rebounding machine who has built a legendary career at crashing the boards. Luckily for the under, UNC is already most likely turning towards Bacot with a sizable advantage in the interior while also negating the Cuse second chance opportunities on the other end. Syracuse ranks 252nd in Total Rebound Rate at 48.3%, most likely ending their offensive possessions as soon as they miss from deep.
North Carolina Sports Betting Update
North Carolina sports betting is currently legal with online sportsbook operators expected to go live around March Madness. Though a formal launch date has not been set, legislators have marked June, 14 of this year as a formal deadline. Once sports betting is live, North Carolina residents will be able to take advantage of new user bonuses such as a 20% deposit match offer of up to $1,250 bonus from DraftKings North Carolina and a $1,000 first bet bonus from Caesars North Carolina to wager on their favorite 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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