NCAAM Basketball Pick for January 3rd

North Carolina Tar Heels (12-2) at Florida State Seminoles (11-2)

The betting line information used for this article was taken from at 7:00 AM PST on 1-3-18. Some odds may have changed.

The four-game winning streak isn’t technically gone as last night we got a push. We were on Butler on the road getting seven points against Xavier. The game was very closely contested, and we had the cover intact with less than thirty seconds left on the clock, but alas a late free throw from the Musketeers, and we were sent home with a push.

It’s hard to call it a bad beat when we technically didn’t lose, but this one hurt. This game was close all night long, we deserved to get the cover. Today I will focus on an ACC matchup between two teams that have eyes on the league title, North Carolina and Florida State.

The North Carolina Tar Heels will travel to Tallahassee to face the Seminoles of Florida State. North Carolina is the defending national champion, and they are looking like they could repeat as they enter this game ranked number twelve in the country. They have won two straight since being shocked by Wofford.

The Seminoles are off to a great start this season as well, they are 11-2 and ranked number twenty-four nationally. The ‘Noles are coming off a rough stretch that has seen them lose two of their last four games, they dropped their last game to a very good Duke team. This game is currently at an even pick ‘em. The game total over-under is set at 165 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:00 PM PST from the Tucker Center in Tallahassee.

The North Carolina Tar Heels have a really good basketball team. They returned a lot of what won them the national championship last year and look poised for another deep run in March. The Heels have a couple of decent wins on the season, beating Tennessee, Michigan, Arkansas, and Ohio State, but the ACC is jam-packed with talent and the season starts now for the Heels as ACC play is in full swing.

The schedule is full of landmines looking to knock off the champs. They have games against Virginia, Notre Dame, Clemson, and Virginia Tech all this month. If North Carolina runs the table in January, they will likely find themselves back in the top five and in the conversation for a one seed in the NCAA tournament.

North Carolina is led by point guard Joel Berry. After missing the start of the season with an injury, Berry has come back and been better than ever. The senior leader is averaging a career-high 17 points a game to go with his three-plus assists a game and they will need him to lead them down the stretch if they want to have a real chance to win another title.

The wildcard for the Tar Heels is big man Luke Maye. Maye was just a small role player for the Heels last year, and he has exploded onto the national scene this year. After averaging just five points a game last year, Maye is now going for 18 a game this season. He is also dragging down 11 boards a game and shooting a sizzling 45% from behind the arc. If Maye can continue this level of production, the Heels are going to be a very tough out in March.

Florida State has one great win this season. They beat a very good Florida team early in the year. Besides that, the Seminoles don’t really have much to put on their resume. Wins over Kennesaw State, the Citadel, Fordham, and Tulane aren’t evoking a lot of confidence when you take a closer look at their stellar record.

I guess they have a moral victory in their last game as they kept the game close with Duke, but moral victories don’t get you into the NCAA tournament. There has been a lot of hype surrounding this team, and to be completely honest, I am not sure why. Yeah, the Florida win was a nice one, but the Gators also dropped a game to Loyola Chicago, and I don’t hear anyone trying to crown that team. I want to see this team get a legit win against a top twenty-five caliber team before I start talking about them as a legit contender in the ACC this year. They could do that tonight at home.

I just don’t think the Seminoles are quite ready for prime time. They have talent, they have beat up on a bunch of cupcakes this year and have run up a good record, but I am not going to say they are ready to compete with the champs. This line opened at North Carolina -1 point and quickly moved to even as the early bets were on the Seminoles.

I love getting the discount and at an even pick ‘em North Carolina has to be the side to back. Maybe Florida State will end up dominating ACC play and win 25 games on the season, but until they show me they can win a big conference matchup like this one, I have no choice but to jump on the other side and back North Carolina. Give me North Carolina is a hotly contested game that could very well come down to the final few possessions.

The Bet: North Carolina Tar Heels pick ‘em

Jason Gray / Author

Jason is a true Las Vegas insider as he has called the sports betting capital of the world his home for sixteen years. Jason started out his career in gaming by running the biggest poker tournaments in the world and managing some of the biggest sportsbooks on the strip. Jason has transitioned out of casino operations and has been covering sports betting for the sports geek for just over two years. His main focus is on baseball, college basketball, and the NFL