Wake Forest vs. North Carolina tips off this Monday (1/22/24) at 7:00pm EST in Chapel Hill, NC as a home game for the Tar Heels. Get Wake Forest vs. North Carolina predictions, odds, and best bets below as our best bet is on Wake Forest +8 as they use their red-hot shooting momentum to keep this contest close.
Wake Forest Vs. North Carolina Prediction
North Carolina’s conference domination continues to roll after a ten-point victory over Boston College last Saturday, holding the Eagles to lowly shooting marks while setting a scoring pace too fast for them to keep up with. They now host the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, a red-hot shooting team who can really stretch out opposing perimeter defenses.
Wake Forest is currently the 12th best 3-point shooting team in the nation, making 39.3% of their attempts from deep this season. Not only do they excel from beyond the arc, but they are a lethal scoring offense as a whole by boasting an Effective Field Goal Percentage of 55.3%. That has led to an Adjusted Offensive Efficiency ranking of 28th in the nation, according to Kenpom.
Every ounce of that offensive production will be needed against a revamped UNC defense who has played like one of the defenses teams in the nation. The Tar Heels come into the contest ranked fourth in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency yet have been prone to allowing open looks from deep when failing to shift their coverage.
That spells potential doom against a Wake Forest offense whose production revolves around their guards. Their top three scorers all come from the guard position, all excelling at exploiting gaps in coverage for high quality shooting opportunities. Andrew Carr at the forward position also plays as a stretch big, allowing their guards to cut to the lane while Carr slips out for an open look. This also stretches Bacot away from the rim, giving the Demon Deacons higher quality looks at the rim as well.
Wake Forest Vs. North Carolina Prediction: Wake Forest +8
Wake Forest Vs. North Carolina Best Odds
After playing like one of the best teams in the nation, oddsmakers believe this is the Tar Heels game to lose as they opened UNC as a -8.5 favorite. Bettors believe the opener was an overreaction, betting Wake Forest down to as low as +7.5 in some shops. UNC has faced fairly cold offenses, now having to defend one of the hottest shooting units in the league.
As for the total, points are expected to be scored at a quick pace as oddsmakers opened the number at 154.5. Bettors believe points will come at a slightly faster pace by betting the over up to 156.5 as of writing. The over is intriguing with Wake Forest away shooting splits not being too much different from their overall marks, meaning they are in a good position to continue to thrive.
Wake Forest Vs. North Carolina Key Matchups
Can Wake Forest take advantage of UNC’s perimeter shooting woes?
Wake Forest’s Perimeter Defense Vs. UNC Three Point Shooting
While UNC has played as one of the more complete teams in the nation, they have been relatively cold from deep. They have been underwhelming from the perimeter in their last three contests, failing to stretch out opposing defenses by shooting just 33.8% from deep.
UNC works inside-out. Armando Bacot gets the post feed off the pin down. The familiar screen away for the post feeder. Cormac Ryan’s man is concerned about Bacot, can’t get to Ryan. Ingram & Ryan made six 3’s. That’s a big boost for the UNC offense. @HeelIllustrated pic.twitter.com/wSjxQOATum
— David Sisk (@CoachDavidSisk) January 18, 2024
That may be an issue should Wake Forest continue to thrive from the perimeter out of the gates, setting a scoring pace too fast for UNC to keep up with. The Demon Deacons do a moderate job at holding opposing perimeter success, allowing opposing offenses to shoot just 32.9% from three. This makes for an intriguing battle as Bacot has an advantage down low, forcing Wake Forest to throw help side coverage to get the ball out of his hands. With UNC running cold, the Demon Deacons can afford to sacrifice coverage to smother Bacot’s looks at the rim.
North Carolina Sports Betting Update
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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.