North Carolina Tar Heels at Notre Dame Fighting Irish NCAAM Pick – February 17, 2020

We picked up a nice win yesterday when we backed the San Diego State Aztecs as -5.5-point favorites, on the road, against the Boise State Broncos. I mentioned in my pick yesterday that I rarely lay wood on the road in conference games, but felt that there was a major gap in talent between these two teams and that while I hated fading home teams, that was the right play. So, I backed the undefeated Aztecs and expected an easy victory.

And that is exactly what happened. Just like the first time these two teams matched up, the Broncos were severely overmatched, and the game was not competitive. The Aztecs had a fourteen-point lead by halftime and poured it on in the second half, leading by as many as nineteen points. San Diego State won by seventeen, and easily covered the number.

The Aztecs continue to chase history as they are now 26-0 and are closing in on an undefeated regular season. San Diego State has just three games left on their regular-season schedule, and they will be prohibitive favorites in each game as they look to finish their season in record-breaking fashion. For today’s daily betting pick, we will head to the ACC, where the Notre Dame Fighting Irish host the North Carolina Tar Heels.

Today’s Game

  • North Carolina Tar Heels (10-15) at Notre Dame Fighting Irish (15-10)
  • 4:00 PM PST
  • Joyce Center, Notre Dame
  • TV: ESPN

Desperately in need of a win, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish will host the North Carolina Tar Heels tonight. The Irish have lost back to back games after winning four straight in early February and need a win to get their season back on track. Notre Dame has seven wins over the top-100 this year, but they must continue to win games if they want a realistic shot at an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament. Five of the Irish’s next six games come against teams that are projected to miss the tournament, and the Irish need to win all of those games.

For North Carolina, the Tar Heels have been much improved since seeing star freshman Cole Anthony rejoin the team, but while they have been competitive, they are 0-5 since his return. The Heels would need a miracle to make the NCAA tournament at this point, as they are in last place in the ACC standings, with a 3-11 record.

Spread:

  • North Carolina +3 (-110)
  • Notre Dame -3 (-110)
Money line:

  • North Carolina +145
  • Notre Dame -165
Total Points:

  • Over 147.5 (-110)
  • Under 147.5 (-110)

North Carolina Tar Heels

What a disappointing return to the court it has been for Cole Anthony. Right before the projected first rounder returned to the team, the Heels had won back to back games for the first time in a month, and his return gave Carolina a glimpse of hope to make the NCAA tournament. But unfortunately for Carolina fans, they have lost five straight since his return and their NCAA tournament dream is all but over.

In that five-game stretch, all three home losses were absolutely heartbreaking, as they blew a huge lead against Duke, lost at the buzzer to Virginia, and lost by one point to Boston College. But on the road, the Tar Heels have been very disappointing. They got blown out at Wake Forrest and lost at Florida State. The Heels are just 2-6 in true road games this year, with one of those wins coming over a UNC Wilmington team that is outside of the top-300.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

The Irish looked like they were left for dead heading into February as they were just 11-8 overall, and 2-6 in ACC play. But the four straight wins they were able to pick up, all coming against top-100 teams, has now given them a path to the madness. And when you look at how this team has performed at home, they have done a great job of protecting their home court.

Notre Dame is 12-3 at home, and four out of their last six games come in South Bend. This gives me some optimism that the Irish can finish strong and sneak into the tournament. But for that to happen, they must win tonight over the struggling Tar Heels.

Who Do I Like?

For the life of me, I can’t understand why the public always likes to back road teams in league play. Nearly every day, the public backs the road teams and pushes the number away from the home team. This allows us to back that home team at a more attractive price than we deserve and get paid. This line opened up at Notre Dame -4-points and to be honest, I felt that the Irish were being undervalued at that number.

Kenpom has the Irish winning this one by six points, so being able to get a two-point premium over the analytics was already a high-value spot. But the public does what it always seems to do, and jumped on the wrong side, and backed North Carolina, pushing the number to where it stands now, at Notre Dame -3-points.

The Bet

My two favorite plays in college basketball are to bet home teams in league play and to fade the general betting public. I get to do both of those tonight in this one. I liked the Irish at -4, and I love them now at -3. If the action keeps coming in on Carolina, and it just might, I will likely bet this one again if I can get a better number before tipoff.

The Heels have been awful all season long, with or without Cole Anthony, when on the road. And while they have had some really close losses to good teams at home in the last couple of weeks, that “success” has not translated to the road. I think they lose this game, and possibly by double-digits. Give me the Notre Dame Fighting Irish tonight at home, laying -3-points.

The Bet: Notre Dame Fighting Irish -3

My Pick
Notre Dame Fighting Irish -3
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