UNC College Basketball Odds Vs. Tennessee: Will Tar Heels Cover In ACC/SEC Challenge?

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Written By Eli Hershkovich | Last Updated
UNC Basketball Odds

Among the ACC/SEC Challenge odds, No. 10 Tennessee isn’t seen as the better team in the betting market, stationed as a road underdog at No. 17 North Carolina. The Tar Heels are to win outright, with a total of . Will the Tar Heels cover this top-25 non-conference game? Let’s dive into UNC basketball odds against the Volunteers, including key metrics and matchups to hone in on.

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UNC Basketball odds vs. Tennessee

Sportsbooks in North Carolina are projected to go live in 2024, providing potential legal online wagering for March Madness odds

How Did We Get Here?

Per my college basketball power rankings, I have the Vols stationed ahead of the Tar Heels — even if that means agreeing with voters with a non-betting agenda to fulfill. Although Tennessee already has two losses, it fell to highly ranked Purdue and Kansas respectably at the Maui Invitational. The refs turned the matchup against the Boilermakers into a free-throw bonanza, and the Vols couldn’t buy any perimeter efficiency (9-for-33) against the Jayhawks.

On the flip side, UNC basketball odds cashed in twice at the Battle 4 Atlantis, blitzing Northern Iowa in the second half before knocking off a transfer-heavy Arkansas team. Sandwiched between those games, offseason darling Villanova upended the Tar Heels in overtime.

Appraising Home-Court

True home-court edges are typically valued between 3.5 and 4.5 points to the spread in college basketball betting models. While there are certainly exceptions, this game isn’t one of them. Not only will these teams square off at the hostile Dean E. Smith Center, but Tennessee is also coming off consecutive losses. Factor in bettors’ recency bias and UNC basketball odds aren’t surprising.

For context, Haslametrics has a projected final score of 72.4-68.3, favoring the Tar Heels. Erik Haslam, the owner of the college basketball analytics site, will join me on the Outside Shots podcast throughout the season.

Cleaning Up The Glass

Tennessee has struggled to manufacture second-chance shots after big men Olivier Nkamhoua, Uros Plavsic, and Julian Phillips departed. Granted, it’s battled the likes of Zach Edey and Hunter Dickinson, two Wooden Award favorites. Therefore, its issues in that department are warranted, especially in a six-game sample size.

But it won’t get any easier against 6-foot-10 Armando Bacot, who boasts a top-25 rebounding clip at both ends. The veteran center springs the Tar Heels’ transition attack, which one would expect to be hyper-efficient. But they’ve accumulated an ordinary 1.02 PPP with fast-break opportunities. If their size advantage doesn’t contribute to more scoring on the move, they may continue to experience some growing pains against one of college basketball’s premier defenses.

While UNC boasts a bevy of playmakers, like longtime Tar Heel R.J. Davis, Stanford transfer Harrison Ingram, and five-star frosh Elliott Cadeau, the Vols allow just 0.74 PPP in half-court sets (per Synergy). Their physical play triggers their success, compiling their fair share of takeaways in the process. Hubert Davis hasn’t been plagued by turnovers to date, but it hasn’t faced a test quite like Rick Barnes’ defense.

UNC Injury To Monitor

During Thursday’s loss to Villanova, starting wing Cormac Ryan injured his ankle on a free-throw miss. Davis hasn’t specified whether the Notre Dame transfer would miss this game. Keep an eye on his status ahead of tip-off, as Ryan is a heralded 3-point marksman despite his slow start from deep (28.6%).

UNC Basketball Player Props

UNC Basketball Odds: Props and Futures

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