Pitt vs North Carolina Odds & Prediction: Bet Wednesday’s ACC Underdog
Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images. Pictured: Jamarius Burton (Pitt)
Pitt vs North Carolina Odds
-105o / -115u
|North Carolina Odds|
-105o / -115u
Pittsburgh will travel to Chapel Hill to take on North Carolina for the second time this season.
In the first meeting between these two, Pittsburgh was able to come away with the win as a 6.5-point underdog. The Panthers were led by senior forward Jamarius Burton, who exploded for 31 points.
Since then, Pittsburgh has won five of its eight ACC games, including wins over Virginia, Wake Forest and Miami.
On the other side, North Carolina has won four games in a row since it was defeated by Virginia on Jan. 10. This has resulted in the Tar Heels sitting just one game behind Pittsburgh in the ACC standings at 7-3.
To pick which team will take this opportunity to close the gap on Clemson at the top of the ACC standings, let’s take a look at the odds and make a prediction for Pittsburgh vs. North Carolina.
Pittsburgh sits in sole possession of the third place in the ACC standings due to its balanced play on both ends of the floor.
On the offensive side, Pittsburgh has been able to extend defenses with its outside shooting. The Panthers attempt 44.9% of their field goals from beyond the arc, resulting in 36.9% of their total points.
In addition, Pittsburgh has been able to win one-on-one matchups to create success on the interior. This interior success was on full display in its first matchup with North Carolina, as Pittsburgh shot 24-of-38 from 2-point range.
Much of these high-percentage, close-range shots can be attributed to the 31-point performance from Burton. Although this level of production may be viewed as an outlier, Burton is averaging 16.1 points per game, including a 19-point performance against No. 23 Miami on Saturday.
I expect these types of numbers to continue against a Tar Heels defense giving up 59.2% of its points from 2-point range in conference play, the highest rate in the ACC.
Overall, expect Pittsburgh to have a balanced offensive attack given North Carolina’s inability to prevent penetration.
Although North Carolina has fallen short of its preseason projections, the Tar Heels are still trending up at the right time.
North Carolina sits in sole possession of third place in the ACC, with its only losses coming on the road to Pittsburgh and No. 6 Virginia.
The biggest area the Tar Heels have struggled in is creating pressure on the defensive end. North Carolina is forcing turnovers on just 16% of its opponents’ possession (322nd nationally).
This inability to make their opponents uncomfortable has resulted in teams averaging 72 points per game (227th nationally).
Against Pittsburgh, this lack of pressure will be problematic given the playmaking ability of Blake Hinson and Burton, as they are averaging 32.5 combined points per game.
Their play is critical against a North Carolina frontcourt that is used to having the upper hand.
In particular, North Carolina’s Leaky Black leads the team in defensive BPR, ranking a full .69 points ahead of any other teammate.
Despite this defensive production, Hinson and Burton combined for 47 points in their first matchup with the Tar Heels.
UNC had nothing for Jamarius Burton. 14-17 from two for 31 points. Too strong for the Carolina guards. The team defense was good early. Good help, good rotations. But they could not keep Pitt in front of them in 1-on-1 matchups. @HeelIllustrated pic.twitter.com/twOtgyRz8j
— David Sisk (@CoachDavidSisk) December 31, 2022
On the other end, North Carolina has been at its best offensively by creating contact and getting to the charity stripe. The Tar Heels score 23.2% of their points from the free-throw line, the ninth-highest rate in the country.
Unfortunately for North Carolina, Pittsburgh has been able to defend without fouling, allowing just 16.7% of its points from the free-throw line.
Without this same production from the charity stripe, I do not expect North Carolina to be able to greatly outpace the Panthers on Wednesday night.
Pitt vs North Carolina Betting Pick
Although this is a great situational spot to back a North Carolina team looking for revenge on its home floor, I believe Pittsburgh has what it takes to be competitive.
Additionally, North Carolina has struggled to pull away from teams this season, with an average margin of victory of 7.2 points. This number is under the opening total of UNC -8.5.
I do not believe North Carolina has improved enough to justify a 13-point swing from the first meeting between these two.
Pick: Pittsburgh +9 (Play to +8)
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