North Carolina Tar Heels at NC State Wolfpack NCAAM Pick – January 27, 2020

We picked up another win last night, this time by backing the Creighton Blue Jays as home favorites against the Xavier Musketeers. The Blue Jays had dominated teams on their home floor this season, to the tune of an 11-1 record, with ten of those eleven wins coming by at least nine points. So, when I saw the opportunity to back them at just -5-points, against an Xavier team they had just beaten by twelve points on the road a couple of weeks before, I jumped all over it.

The game was nearly a carbon copy of the first time these two teams matched up. The Musketeers dominated the glass once again and took fifteen more field goals than Creighton did. But in the end, it did not matter as the Blue Jays outshot Xavier by a wide margin and got to the free-throw line twenty-six times. The Blue Jays jumped out to an early double-digit lead and the win was never in doubt in the second half, and we cashed yet another ticket.

The win was a big one for Creighton as they now move into third place in the Big East standings, two games behind Seton Hall, and solidified themselves as an NCAA tournament-level team. For Xavier, they can’t figure things out in the Big East as they are just 2-5 in conference play, and they are quickly sliding to the wrong side of the bubble with their league play struggles. For today’s daily betting pick, we will head to the ACC, where the North Carolina Wolfpack host the North Carolina Tar Heels.

Today’s Game

  • North Carolina Tar Heels (9-10) at North Carolina State Wolfpack (14-6)
  • PNC Arena, Raleigh
  • 4:00 PM PST
  • TV: ESPN

The North Carolina Tar Heels set out on the road tonight, looking for just their second road win of the season and their first since November 8th. The Heels will play at North Carolina State, against their in-state rivals, the Wolfpack. North Carolina got back into the win column in their last game, snapping a nasty five-game losing streak, and are hoping to build on that momentum tonight.

For NC State, the Wolfpack are looking to take advantage of the struggling Tar Heels and defeat them on their home floor tonight for the first time since 2013. NC State is undefeated at home in ACC play and picked up a huge upset win on the road at Virginia last week. The Wolfpack look poised to make a return trip to the NCAA tournament this season after missing out on the Big Dance last year.

Spread:

  • North Carolina +5.5 (-110)
  • NC State -5.5 (-110)
Money line:

  • North Carolina +195
  • NC State -225
Total Points:

  • Over 147.5 (-115)
  • Under 147.5 (-105)

North Carolina Tar Heels

Roy Williams famously called this Tar Heels team the least talented team he has ever coached earlier this season. And when you look at their results, it is hard to argue with him. Since losing superstar freshman Cole Anthony to an injury, this team has looked completely lost. The Heels lost ten out of their previous thirteen games before knocking off Miami in their last game.

And while North Carolina has played an aggressive schedule, their SOS is currently sitting at 25th, not all of these losses have come to good teams. They lost to Wofford, Pittsburgh twice, and Clemson and all of those teams are outside of the top-80 on kenpom and don’t project to be NCAA tournament teams.

They have won just three games since Anthony got hurt. Two of those wins came over awful UCLA and Miami teams, that will likely finish the season with losing records, and one came against Yale, an Ivy team that while decent, it isn’t a win worth writing home about, makes you wonder if this team has any shot of competing in the ACC the rest of the way out.

North Carolina State Wolfpack

Heading into Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech, NC State looked like a team that was building up a lot of momentum. They had won four out of their previous five games in ACC play, including quality wins over Notre Dame and Virginia. But the Wolfpack suffered a classic let down game against the Yellow Jackets and lost to a Georgia Tech team that was 8-11 entering play.

Will NC State find a way to recapture that momentum and beat up on their weakened big brother North Carolina, tonight at home? The Tar Heels are currently ranked at 89th on kenpom, which would be the lowest-ranked team to beat the Wolfpack this year, if they can’t find a way to win the game at home.

Who Do I Like?

It is very rare that NC State has a better team than North Carolina, but that is certainly the case in this matchup tonight. When you look at the Tar Heels road record, they are 0-3 in ACC play, and all of those losses came to teams in fifth place or worse in the league. And even going back to when Cole Anthony was still on the team, the Tar heels have just one true road win this season, coming over UNC Wilmington, a team outside of the top-300 right now.

And on the flip side, when you look at NC State, they have done a tremendous job of protecting their home floor this season. The Wolfpack lost on the opening night of the season at home against a Georgia Tech team that just seemingly has their number, but since then, NC State has won eleven straight home games. That includes a signature win in the non-conference over Wisconsin, and three ACC conference play wins.

The Bet

I think NC State takes out their years of built-up frustration and destroys Roy William’s Tar Heels team tonight. North Carolina has shown zero ability to win on the road, against any level of competition, and I think that they get blown out tonight in Raleigh.

I am a little surprised that this number has not moved towards North Carolina as they have been trading on their name all season long and have been attracting decent action as road underdogs despite being awful in those games. The Tar Heels are just 6-13 against the spread this season.

Maybe the public has learned their lesson at this point? I doubt that, but I wouldn’t at all be shocked to see this line move at least some towards the Tar Heels before tipoff. That being said, I do see some tremendous value at the current number of NC State -5.5 and will lock this one in now at that price. Give me the North Carolina State Wolfpack tonight as home favorites against the Tar Heels of North Carolina!

The Bet: NC State -5.5

My Pick
NC STATE WOLFPACK -5.5
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