UNC-Louisville Betting Guide: Will Shooting Regression Come For Either Team?

UNC-Louisville Betting Guide: Will Shooting Regression Come For Either Team? article feature image

USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Nassir LIttle and Dwayne Sutton

UNC-Louisville Betting Odds, Pick

  • Spread: UNC -1.5
  • Total: 156
  • Time: 2 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN

About a season ahead of schedule, Louisville is not only competing in the ACC, but tied atop the league with Duke and Virginia at 7-1.

The Cardinals welcome North Carolina to town exactly three weeks after stomping the Heels by 21 in Chapel Hill. Is a repeat in store, or will UNC exact revenge?

>> All odds as of 11 a.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time CBB odds and win probabilities on your bets.

Market Moves for UNC-Louisville

Louisville opened -1 offshore, but heavy action on the Tar Heels quickly moved the line to UNC -1.5 on Friday night.

South Point in Las Vegas has already gone to -2.5 as of 8 a.m. Saturday morning. Steve Petrella

Trends to Know for UNC-Louisville

Louisville is hosting North Carolina in a matchup of Top 25 teams. Since 2005, when ranked teams meet in ACC play, the squad with home court advantage has gone 77-59-7 (57%) against the spread. John Ewing

If North Carolina closes as an underdog, history says the Tar Heels could be in some trouble.

Roy Williams is 21-38-2 (35.6%) ATS as an underdog over the past decade. And when the Tar Heels have played as an underdog against a conference opponent in this spot, they’re 11-25-2 (30.6%) ATS. Evan Abrams

Chris Mack is putting on his best defensive performance as a head coach since 2014-15 with Xavier, as Louisville is allowing just 67.6 points per game this season, including allowing under 55 points in consecutive games entering Saturday.

Over the past decade, Williams is 3-10 straight-up and ATS against teams that have allowed 55 or fewer points in consecutive games, including an eight-game losing streak both SU and ATS. Abrams

When UNC Has the Ball

Although UNC boasts the 14th-highest average height in college basketball, Williams’ unit has generated just a 48.7 FG% from inside the perimeter in ACC play.

It’s aimed to space the floor more often, and it’s succeeded with a 40.5% 3-point clip. But Louisville is letting up the second-lowest eFG% (45.3%) in league play, along with limiting its conference foes to the third-lowest scoring rate from behind the arc (28.5%).

Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Coby White

Expect Tar Heels point guard Coby White — their second-league scorer (15.2 points per game) and third-best 3-point shooter (38.3%) — to struggle generating offense against the Cardinals’ much-improved ball pressure.

White also owns a 21.4% turnover rate, which won’t bode well against a unit with the third-highest opponents turnover rate (20.8%) amid its ACC slate.

In Louisville’s 21-point win at UNC on Jan. 12, which sparked six consecutive outright victories, Chris Mack’s crew held White to just four points — all of them via free throws. He had four turnovers as well.

Look for the Cardinals’ defense to aid the team’s ability to control the tempo and keep UNC from thriving with its run-and-gun attack. Eli Hershkovich

When Louisville Has the Ball

The Cardinals are the 13th best team in adjusted offensive efficiency. However, the catalyst for their scoring is Jordan Nwora (18.2 ppg). The sophomore forward is Louisville’s leading scorer and has 10 games of 20-plus points.

The key for the Cardinals is getting offensive balance.

In that Jan. 12 game, Louisville featured four players with double-digit scoring. Nwora, Dwayne Sutton and Steven Enoch all scored 17 points each. And in their 71-58 home loss to Kentucky, only Nwora and Christian Cunningham had 10 or more points.

The other offensive key for Louisville is 3-point efficiency.

In their first game against UNC, the Cardinals shot 42.3% (11-of-26) from beyond the arc. North Carolina has been vulnerable to the 3-pointer, allowing 33.1% in their ACC conference games. However, in the Tar Heels’ four losses this season, they’ve allowed their opponents to shoot 43% (42-of-98).

For the Cardinals to win, they need to shoot well from 3.

I don’t think that shooting performance happens again, though. So I’m backing UNC at -1.5. Mike Randle

3-Point Regression Coming?

Three weeks ago against Louisville, North Carolina shot an abysmal 3-of-22 from 3-point range. Even shooting 30% puts the Heels back in that game.

Since that loss, UNC hasn’t shot below 43% from distance in any of their four games — significantly better than its 37.9% mark for the season.

Though Carolina will have improved shooting from the last time these two met, it won’t be as good as the last four games. Louisville also shot the lights out last time against UNC.

That has me leaning under, particularly in the first half once that line opens around 78. The first-half under matches one of our Bet Labs PRO systems that’s hit at 56.4% since 2005 over a 3,000-plus game sample. Petrella