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Cormac Ryan of the North Carolina Tar Heels reacts after making a 3-pointer against the Tennessee Volunteers during the first half at the Dean E. Smith Center as we look at our Miami-UNC prediction.
Cormac Ryan of the North Carolina Tar Heels reacts after making a 3-pointer against the Tennessee Volunteers during the first half at the Dean E. Smith Center. Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images/AFP.

Our Miami-UNC prediction based on the best college basketball odds expects Cormac Ryan to keep sizzling and carry a struggling Tar Heels team.

While the North Carolina Tar Heels remain among the favorites by the March Madness odds across our best sports betting sites, they're clinging to their top-10 spot after a few head-scratching losses. They'll look to stave off another upset against the Miami Hurricanes in an ACC clash that tips off Monday at 7 p.m. ET.

After a strong start to the season, UNC has dropped three of its last seven games with all three losses coming against unranked opponents following a 10-game winning streak. Despite a close call against Virginia, Cormac Ryan led the offense while securing a crucial victory for the Tar Heels.

Now Hubert Davis' squad faces a struggling Miami squad that hasn't look anything like last year's team that reached the Final Four. Jim Larranaga and Co. won't be getting an invite to the Big Dance in March, as the 'Canes defense has been a major issue and should struggle to contain the Tar Heels, especially with Ryan's play as of late.

To accompany our college basketball best bests for Monday, here is our best Miami vs. UNC prediction and our college basketball picks (odds via our best March Madness betting sites; Pick confidence is based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Miami vs. North Carolina prediction

Cormac Ryan Over 14.5 points ⭐⭐⭐

Best odds: +120 via bet365

North Carolina boasts star power with point guard RJ Davis primed to make the All-American team, and forward Armando Bacot one of the most decorated bigs in ACC history. Between Davis, Bacot, and Stanford transfer Harrison Ingram, UNC trots out one of the best big threes in the country.

But its senior Cormac Ryan who has been the most significant difference-maker during the Tar Heels' late-season struggles.

The 6-foot-5 sharpshooter is a two-time transfer who has ended up being one of the best acquisitions in the ACC this season.

A multi-year starter at Notre Dame, Ryan is averaging 11.1 points per game during his first season in Chapel Hill, but he's really been taking his game up a notch late in the campaign. Ryan is averaging 17.3 points and 4.7 threes per outing while shooting 51.8% from behind the arc over his last three games. His range has been a complete game-changer for an offense that was already one of the best in the country, and it sits 24th in adjusted offensive efficiency, according to KenPom. 

His hot streak should continue against a Miami Hurricanes defense that’s ranked 135th in adjusted defensive efficiency and 12th in team DBPR in the ACC, according to Evan Miyakawa. Miami is allowing 73.2 points per game this season and has been at its worst on the perimeter. Opponents are averaging 9.4 threes per game against the Canes, the eighth most in the country. Miami has seen the second most 3-point shots per game against in the country this season at 28.6. Ryan should be excited to get in on the fun.

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Miami vs. UNC best odds

bet365 (+120)

Cormac Ryan Over 14.5 pointsN/AN/AN/ACormac Ryan Over 14.5 points

Due to Ryan’s recent hot streak, our best sportsbooks are setting this line at 13.5 points vs. Miami, and there’s far less value in those odds than the alternative line of 14.5. BetMGM, Caesar, DraftKings, and bet365 are placing the odds on Ryan going Over 13.5 points between -115 and -125. For just one more point it becomes a much sweeter deal.

Only DraftKings is posting an alternate line of 14.5 points for Ryan, with bet365 giving us slightly better value with its 15-point milestone line. Given Ryan’s tasty matchup against this Miami defense, he should get the opportunity to earn that extra point, especially since he’s averaging 7.6 3-point attempts per game over his last eight outings.

Miami vs. UNC odds

Miami vs. UNC odds analysis

While North Carolina has been struggling in recent weeks, it’s still one of the best programs in the country and a heavy home favorite against Miami. The Tar Heels opened as a 13.5 to 14.5-point favorite at our best live betting sites and they remain there. On the low end, BetMGM is putting UNC -13.5 at -115. Meanwhile on the high end, FanDuel has the Heels -14.5 at -105. North Carolina is 16-11 against the spread this campaign and Miami is 13-13-2. 

With the high-scoring ability both offenses possess, and the poor defensive play of the Hurricanes, the game total opened as high as 154.5 at our best sports betting apps. There’s been some slight movement with the total trending up to 154.5 at most books. The Canes are 13-15 to the Over this season while the Tar Heels are 13-13-1.

Miami vs. UNC game info

  • When: Monday, Feb. 26 at 7:00 p.m. ET
  • Where: Dean E. Smith Center, Chapel Hill, NC
  • How to watch: ESPN

Miami-North Carolina prediction made 2/26/24 at 9:30 a.m. ET.

Here are our best March Madness betting sites:

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