With four losses in their last five games, North Carolina has moved perilously close to the wrong side of the March Madness bubble. A loss in today’s visit to rival NC State (1:00 pm ET, ESPN) will push them even closer to the real possibility of missing out on the Big Dance.
The Tar Heels (16-10, 8-7 ACC) are one of the “Last Four In” in Joe Lunardi’s latest ESPN Bracketology update and the first team out in CBS’s bracket projections, and wins are needed if they want to secure a spot in the field of 68.
Often enough, their in-state rivals find themselves in this position, but at present, the Wolfpack (20-7, 10-6 ACC) are solidly in the field, coming in as a #8 seed at ESPN and a #9 seed at CBS.
With three straight home games against UNC, Wake Forest, and Clemson, NC State has a chance to damage a trio of bubble teams while strengthening their place in the field.
Will they start this stretch by hurting the Heels today? Read on for our North Carolina vs NC State basketball prediction, as well as our picks for this important ACC rivalry matchup.
North Carolina vs NC State Odds
Odds are via BetOnline as of Sunday, February 19, 2023, at 1:45 am ET. This article may also include odds from our other recommended legal sports betting sites.
- North Carolina +2.5 (-110)
- NC State -2.5 (-110)
- Over 151.5 (-110)
- Under 151.5 (-110)
- North Carolina +114
- NC State -137
Will North Carolina Fail on the Road Yet Again?
North Carolina’s latest setback, an 80-72 loss to Miami on Wednesday, came at home. But if the Tar Heels miss out on March Madness a year after making the championship game, their struggles on the road will be the biggest culprit.
UNC has just two wins in seven road games in ACC play, and their most recent road loss, a 92-85 loss at Wake Forest twelve days ago is especially glaring given that the Demon Deacons are also on the bubble.
The Tar Heels also haven’t fared very well against teams that are currently in the field. Even if you don’t remove Clemson, who might be bumped out of the field after Saturday’s loss at Louisville, UNC has just two wins in ten games this season against teams who are currently in Lunardi’s bracket.
Where to Bet on North Carolina vs NC State
The other came against NC State in the first meeting between these two teams, an 80-69 win in Chapel Hill on January 21.
But can they reverse their road fortunes to get the sweep of the Wolfpack? The odds are certainly not favorable.
NC State had a disappointing three-point loss in a winnable game at Syracuse on Tuesday, but they have been tough to beat at home. Since losing their ACC opener at home against Pitt, the Wolfpack have won six straight at home, including a blowout win over Duke and an OT win over Miami, the conference’s second-best team.
North Carolina vs NC State Prediction and Picks
Tar Heels vs Wolfpack Prediction: NC State to win
Tar Heels vs Wolfpack Picks: NC State ML (Best Value: Bovada Sportsbook) & North Carolina/NC State over 151.5 (Best Value: BetOnline & BetMGM)
In addition to their excellent home record, the Wolfpack have another impressive trend to uphold in this matchup, as they have yet to lose consecutive games this season.
I expect that trend to continue and for NC State to pick up a win that will push them closer to being a March Madness lock and push their rivals closer to the NIT.
NC State didn’t shoot the ball well at all at Syracuse, making just 41.7% (30 of 72) of their shots overall and 26.5% (9 of 34) from three.
But based on their results following losses this season, we should see a better showing against UNC. In all seven of their losses, the Wolfpack have been held under 75 points. In the first six instances, they rebounded by scoring 76, 94, 92, 84, 85, and 92 points in going a perfect 6-0.
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Today’s schedule certainly isn’t as action-packed as yesterday’s, but there are still a number of good options on the board, so don’t hesitate to make the most of that deal.