NCAA Basketball Picks: North Carolina vs. Wake Forest

Jeff Grant

Wednesday, January 21, 2015 1:39 PM GMT

Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015 1:39 PM GMT

Wake Forest has earned top spot as our NCAA Basketball pick against North Carolina as they will benefit greatly from some time off the court under its first year head coach.

Life On the Road
North Carolina is aiming for a 3-0 start on the road in Atlantic Coast Conference play, which is important to consider when looking over the NCAA Basketball betting odds , as it has also won its last three games overall despite not covering the number in that span.

The Tar Heels are 60-32 on the road in conference play the last 12 seasons under longtime head coach Roy Williams, but they suffered a 73-67 setback as 6.5-point road favorites in their last trip to Winston Salem, NC.

Since the start of the 2012-13 campaign, the program is 1-2 SUATS as road favorites of 6.5 to 9 points, with the UNDER going 3-0 in that situation.

 

Take a Breath
Wake Forest received a welcome break from conference play since dropping a 86-83 overtime decision to the Syracuse Orange as 9.5-point road underdogs on Jan. 13, which can’t be ignored when making your NCAA Basketball picks as it continues to learn a new system under head coach Danny Manning.

The Demon Deacons are capable of matching the Tar Heels depth in this matchup—finishing with a 31-3 edge in bench scoring over the Orange last time out.

Over the last two-plus seasons, the squad is 3-1 SUATS as home underdogs of 6.5 to 9 points.

 

Guard Play
The Tar Heels are capable of making a long run in the 2015 NCAA Tournament if Marcus Paige plays at a high level, but it’s important to point out that he’s been dealing with plantar fasciitis recently.

Paige leads North Carolina players in averaging 31.0 minutes per game, while reserve point guards Joel Berry II, Luke Davis and Stilman White are out of action due to other ailments.

 

Hammer the Glass

The Demon Deacons were out-rebounded by a 79-52 combined margin in splitting last year’s regular-season series against the Tar Heels, but that number could tighten in 2014-15, as they rank 17th nationally with a +7.8 edge in that category.

In conference play, Wake Forest is being led by Cody Miller-McIntyre and Devin Thomas on the floor, as they average 6.6 and 9.0 boards respectively over that span.

 

Prediction
The Demon Deacons have gone 5-0 SU and 4-0-1 ATS in their last five games when playing with seven or more days of rest, while the underdog has also grabbed the cash in six of the last eight meetings in this in-state rivalry.

Free NCAA Basketball Pick:  Wake Forest +7.5 at Bookmaker

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