Skip to main content
Armando Bacot #5 of the North Carolina Tar Heels battles Efton Reid III as we look at our NC State vs. UNC prediction for Saturday
Armando Bacot #5 of the North Carolina Tar Heels battles Efton Reid III #4 of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons for a rebound during the first half of the game at the Dean E. Smith Center. Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images via AFP.

In-state rivals NC State and UNC square off as the college basketball regular season winds down, and we offer our best NC State vs. UNC prediction based on the best college basketball odds.

NC State (17-11, 9-8 ACC) has lost four of its last five road games and four of its last six overall. As a result, the Wolfpack likely need to win the ACC tournament to earn a bid to the NCAA tournament.

NC State entered Friday ranked 80th in the NET and had a 2-5 record in Quad 1 games, and it's failed to win more than two straight contests since Jan. 6.

For its part, North Carolina (22-6, 14-3 ACC) has a one-game lead over Duke for the ACC regular-season title and is a serious contender by our March Madness odds.

The Tar Heels picked up only two wins from five games from late January to mid-February, but they bounced back with three straight victories.

DraftKings prices North Carolina at +800 to earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, and it would likely need to win out and win the ACC tournament to be in consideration for a spot on the top line.

Here is our best NC State vs. UNC prediction and our college basketball picks (odds via our best March Madness betting sites; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

NC State vs. UNC prediction

Over 153 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Best odds: -110 via bet365

NC State and UNC played a low-scoring 67-54 affair in their first meeting in Raleigh earlier this season, but that sort of defensive struggle is uncommon between these rivals. In 13 of the prior 15 matchups, the winning team scored at least 77 points, with the two teams combining for 150-plus points 11 times in that span. 

North Carolina has held its last two opponents to an average of 57.5 points per game, but we are not buying much stock in that. Those two games were against an offensively inept Virginia squad and a shorthanded Miami team without Nigel Pack, who is tied for second on the team in scoring at 13.7 points per game.

The Tar Heels are likely to regress defensively from a squad that has held opponents to a league-best 29.5% shooting from 3-point range in ACC play, starting with a stellar game from Wolfpack guard DJ Horne, whose 42.9% 3-point shooting percentage ranks second-best in the conference.

Both teams want to play a high-possession game, with their tempos ranking in the top six of the conference. And we expect a much better game this time around from Tar Heels forward Armando Bacot, who was held to nine points on 3-for-7 shooting in the first game (he played just 23 minutes), but has averaged 16.1 points per game over his last seven outings.

North Carolina should score the majority of the points, as it averages 86.5 points per game in ACC home games this season, with 85 or more points in five of eight.

Not intended for use in MA
Affiliate Disclosure: Sportsbook Review may receive advertising commissions for visits to a sportsbook

North Carolina sports betting pre-launch offers

Editor's note: With North Carolina sports betting set to launch on March 11, check out our best North Carolina sports betting apps and the best North Carolina sportsbook promos! 21+ and present in NC. Take advantage of these pre-launch offers!

FanDuel (Up to $300 in bonus bets) | Caesars (Seven 100% profit boosts) | bet365 (Up to $1,100 in bonus bets) | DraftKings (Up to $300 in bonus bets) | BetMGM ($200 in bonus bets) | Fanatics ($1,000 in bonus bets)

Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER

NC State vs. UNC best odds

bet365 (-110)

Over (-112)Over (-110)Over (-110)Over (-110)Over (-110)

As Over backers, we are immediately drawn to the slightly lower totals at DraftKings and bet365, and choose bet365 as our go-to shop given that it charges slightly less in juice than DraftKings. We would play this number up to 153.5, but are taking advantage of the 153s that are available.

The Over is 14-6-1 when NC State has 2-3 days off, which is does having last played on Tuesday, and is 6-3 in its nine games as underdogs. Similarly, the Over is a profitable 7-5-1 when UNC is a home favorite as opposed to the Under cashing in eight of its nine road games overall.

NC State vs. UNC odds

NC State vs. UNC odds analysis

There has been interesting line movement on the total, as the number either rose or lowered depending on the sportsbook. FanDuel and DraftKings got to their current numbers from opening totals of 151.5 and 152.5, respectively. Conversely, Caesars and bet365 have slightly lowered from opening numbers of 154.0. Early wagers are 60/40 in support of the Over.

All of our top sportsbooks are in unison with a point spread of North Carolina -10.5, and DraftKings is the only shop that has the underdogs juiced to -112. FanDuel, BetMGM, and DraftKings were the only three of our top sports betting sites to reach a high of -12.5 on Friday night, while Caesars and bet365 have come down to their current numbers from a high of -12. Sharp action is likely on the underdog Wolfpack, as the line has shaded in their favor despite receiving just 43% of the betting action.

NC State vs. UNC game info

  • When: Saturday, March 2 at 4 p.m. ET
  • Where: Dean E. Smith Center, Chapel Hill, NC
  • How to watch: ESPN

NC State-UNC prediction made 3/2 at 6:40 a.m. ET.

Here are our best March Madness betting sites:

(21+. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER)
* Bonuses not applicable in Ontario.

Related pages