Easy Home Openers For UNC & UVA To Begin ACC Play

Jay Pryce

Saturday, December 30, 2017 1:28 PM UTC

Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017 1:28 PM UTC

No. 13 North Carolina and No. 9 Virginia are heavy chalk in their ACC home openers, hosting Wake Forest and Boston College as 15.5-point and 16-point favorites respectively. Neither number is enough. Check out our top picks here.

Wake Forest vs No. 13 North Carolina (-16)

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Free NCAAB Pick: North Carolina -16Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

Wake Forest (7-5 SU, 4-5 ATS) hasn’t beaten a ranked ACC opponent on the road since January 2010. The betting market believes there is little chance the program upsets North Carolina (11-2 SU, 8-4 ATS) at Dean Smith Center Saturday, catching 16 points on the college basketball oddsboard. Wofford pulled off a miracle 79-75 win as 25.5-point underdogs the last time the Tar Heels played in Chapel Hill. It’s just the fifth time in the last 11 years North Carolina lost outright as home when a favorite of 11 points or more.

The Demon Deacons own the 28th most efficient offense in the nation per KenPom, averaging 78.7 points per game on 49.4 percent shooting. The bulk of their scoring comes from a pair of junior guards: Keyshawn Woods (16.0 ppg) and Bryant Crawford (15.3 ppg). The starting five are relatively small with just one player standing over 6-foot-8 tall. Center Doral Moore, a 7-foot-1 junior, leads the country with a 81.8 percent field goal percentage.

Wake’s small lineup will suffer against a good rebounding UNC team, preventing second-chance opportunities under the hoop. Wake relies on putbacks, owning a 33.6 percent offensive rebounding rate (38th nationally). The Tar Heels, however, allow just 19.3 percent opponent offensive boards, third in the country. That’s only 20.8 per game, which is ultra low considering the Tar Heels play at the 13th fastest clip in the nation.

These rebounds lead to extra transition opportunities for Wake’s opponents, which is UNC’s bread and butter. The Deacs are 0-4 ATS versus teams allowing 24 offensive boards per game or less this season, each opponent surpassing its projected team total by an average of 4.1 points. As of publication, the Tar Heels are expected to put up 89 points (-16, 162 game total). We believe 90-plus is achievable. Since 2006, UNC is 28-6-3 ATS versus ACC opponents at Smith Center when scoring 84 or more in game. Lay the points with the home team here.

Boston College vs No. 9 Virginia (-15.5)

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Free NCAAB Pick: Virginia -16Best Line Offered: at Heritage

Virginia (11-1 SU, 7-2 ATS) owns the No. 1 adjusted efficient defense in the nation, allowing 52.3 points per game on 35.9 percent shooting. To challenge the Cavaliers, teams have to be able to move the ball crisply, create shooting space, and take advantage of limited open looks. Boston College (10-3 SU, 3-4 ATS) is not designed to do this.

The Eagles often rely on isolation opportunities and drives to the basket from their two top scorers: guards Ky Bowman (16.6 ppg) and Jerome Robinson (16.5 ppg). The team dishes out just 13.8 helpers per contest. This equates to an assist per 49.2 percent of field goals made. This isn’t good enough to break down UVA’s defense.

The Cavaliers have gifted 60 points or more three times this season. Each occurred in a trio of matchups against opponents with an assist/field goals made rate better than 55 percent on the year (VCU, West Virginia, and Davidson). These teams are X’s and O’s specialists or excel at transition basketball. BC is neither. UVA allows 48.1 points per game to opponents in eight matchups with a lower assists/FGM percentage, yet to surrender more than 55 points in any game.

Lying -15.5 points doesn’t serve up a ton of value with the Cavs likely to pull back late. Backing UVA against the spread in the first half is the best option with BC unlikely to be prepped for the defensive storm awaiting. Cavs jump out to a double-digit lead before the break and win easily.

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