NCAA Basketball Picks: Bet North Carolina -10 Against Pittsburgh

Ross Benjamin

Saturday, February 13, 2016 9:58 PM GMT

Our NCAA Basketball handicapping professional provides us with a convincing betting preview article on Sunday’s game between Pittsburgh and North Carolina.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: North Carolina -10
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

 

Sunday ACC Battle in Chapel Hill
The #9 North Carolina Tar Heels will host Pittsburgh in a Sunday ACC battle. The opening tip at the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina is slated for 1:00 PM ET. Current (2/13) college basketball betting odds at SportsBetting indicate that North Carolina is a 10.0 point favorite on the NCAA Basketball odds board. This will be the first meeting of the season between these ACC rivals. Pittsburgh captured the lone encounter a season ago with an 89-76 win as a 3.5 point home underdog. The Panthers also eliminated North Carolina from the 2014 ACC Tournament.

 

Falling from Grace
I was very high on this Pittsburgh team earlier this season, and thought they had a legitimate chance at making a deep NCAA Tournament run. They very well can still do so, but a lot has to change between then and now. Pittsburgh’s major concern at the moment is their defensive play since ACC play began. During its last five games alone, Pittsburgh has allowed opponents to shoot 47.9% from the field, and connect on a sizzling hot 42.9% of their three point attempts. Another issue has been their play on the offensive end of the floor in recent road games. During its last four away contests, Pittsburgh is shooting an awful 37.8% from the floor. When you couple those shooting woes with their defensive struggles, it certainly isn’t conducive to a winning formula. The Panthers won their first three ACC games, and has since gone a dismal 3-5 versus conference opponents.

 

Holding Serve at Home
North Carolina is 12-0 at home this season, and has won by a lofty average of 20.1 points per game. The smallest margin of victory in Chapel Hill has been by 8 points, and that happened on three separate occasions. Tar Heels fans can take a bit of comfort in knowing their team has shown signs breaking out of their shooting slump. North Carolina has shot 48.6% from the field over its last two games. That’s certainly a welcomed sight, especially considering they shot a combined 40.5% in the preceding five games prior to those last two contests. North Carolina has been an outstanding rebound team all season, and that’s evidenced by a +9.5 advantage per contest this season. Despite the level of competition getting tougher in ACC play, North Carolina continues to have an impressive +6.2 rebound per game differential during conference action. That facet of their game can pay large dividends on Sunday, versus a Panther squad which is -2.0 per contest on the boards over its previous six outings.

 

Final Take and Pick
North Carolina won’t take kindly to losing twice in a row to Pittsburgh. They’ll catch the Panthers at the right time on Sunday. Pittsburgh’s level of confidence has undoubtedly waned during the past few weeks. Then there’s the Tar Heels strong home court advantage to factor in. I like the home favorite in this matchup for one of my Sunday NCAA Basketball picks.