UNC College Basketball Odds Vs. Kentucky: Will Tar Heels Cover In CBS Sports Classic?

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Written By Eli Hershkovich | Last Updated
UNC Basketball Odds

No. 9 North Carolina is stationed as a favorite against No. 14 Kentucky for Saturday’s CBS Sports Classic in Atlanta. The Wildcats are underdogs to win outright, with a total of . Will the Tar Heels cover the point spread in this top-15 non-conference showdown? Let’s dig into UNC basketball odds versus the ‘Cats, including key metrics and matchups to hone in on.

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UNC Basketball odds vs. Kentucky

Sportsbooks in North Carolina are projected to go live in the new year, providing legal online wagering for March Madness odds and more. Over in the Bluegrass State, Kentucky sports betting launched in September.

How Did We Get Here?

Not only does North Carolina have a more impressive resume, already knocking off No. 12 Tennessee, but the Tar Heels have also cured their perimeter shooting woes from 2022-23. In fact, RJ Davis & Co. rank in the 94th percentile of spot-up jumpers, tallying 1.10 points per possession (via Synergy). For context, they notched 0.90 PPP last season.

Conversely, Kentucky’s lone marquee win came against the fraudulent Miami Hurricanes. But like UNC, the Wildcats’ have greatly refined their shotmaking as well. Freshmen Reed Sheppard, Rob Dillingham, and veteran Antonio Reeves have all manufactured at least a 43.0% clip from behind the arc. The recent insertion of five-star big Aaron Bradshaw, who was recovering from foot surgery, also gifts them a much-needed rim presence at both ends.

The Bacot Conundrum

There’s no doubting the value of 6-foot-11 senior Armando Bacot. He’s elite on the boards, including a top-60 offensive rebounding rate, and a productive post-up threat. The Tar Heels have allowed Bacot to hedge ball screens more often this season, making Kentucky’s five-out offense a bit less daunting to defend.

However, his biggest defensive flaw is pick-and-roll coverage. The Wildcats’ efficiency with this set ranks in the 99th percentile. I’d only expect their employment of it to increase with Bradshaw in the fold, plus Ugo Onyenso returning from his own foot issue. The 7-foot Onyenso will also present John Calipari with another physical body to throw at Bacot defensively. Kentucky’s rim protection hasn’t been very effective, but the metrics are worth taking with a grain of salt since Bradshaw and Onyenso haven’t been available for much of the way.

Utilizing Power Ratings

Per my college basketball power rankings, my raw numbers surprisingly favor the ‘Cats by less than a half-point on a neutral. Meanwhile, Haslametrics forecasts a final score of 87.5-83.2, favoring UNC basketball odds. Erik Haslam, who owns the college basketball analytics site, will join me on the Outside Shots podcast throughout the season.

UConn vs. North Carolina Player Props

UNC Basketball Odds: Props and Futures

Player props will typically post the day of the game. This table will autofill once available at sportsbooks.


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