Virginia-UNC Betting Guide: UVA Has Owned Series, But Is It Overvalued?

Virginia-UNC Betting Guide: UVA Has Owned Series, But Is It Overvalued? article feature image
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USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kyle Guy and Nassir Little

Virginia-North Carolina Betting Odds

  • Odds: Virginia -1
  • Total: 141
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN

>> All odds as of 9:30 a.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and win probabilities on your bets.


Virginia must bounce back from a home loss to Duke on just two days rest. Trouble is, it comes in Chapel Hill against North Carolina.

UVA has owned this matchup in recent years, but will that continue? Our analysts dive in.

Market Moves for Virginia-North Carolina

Westgate opened at a pick’em on Sunday night, moved to Virginia -1, then moved back to a pick’em. More than 75% of bets we’re tracking are on Virginia as of Monday morning.

The total has dropped, as well, from 143 to 141. — Steve Petrella

Trends to Know

After losing to Duke on Saturday, can Virginia bounce back against North Carolina? History suggests UVA will cover.

Since 2005, top 10 teams coming off a loss have gone 86-68-6 (56%) ATS when facing a ranked opponent in their next game. If they are an underdog, like the Hoos, they have gone 32-19-3 ATS. — John Ewing

Roy Williams and Tony Bennett have faced off 15 times since Bennett moved from Washington State to Charlottesville in 2009. In that span, Williams is 5-10 (33.3%) ATS against Bennett, failing to cover the spread in his last three games. Since 2009, Roy Williams’ least profitable opposing coach is Bennett, losing UNC backers 5.4 units. — Evan Abrams

When Virginia Has the Ball

Virginia has to execute in the half-court, particularly inside the arc. Within ACC games, North Carolina ranks only 10th best in 2P% defense. It doesn’t have to rely on the 3P against the Tar Heels.

The Cavaliers should be able to run their half-court offense and produce high percentage shots. In UNC’s four losses, their opponents have shot the following 2P percentages: 57.1%, 62.5%, 48.7%, 60.7%.

Of course, shooting the 3-pointer well would be a huge bonus for UVA. In those same four losses, North Carolina’s opponents have shot a combined 43% (42 of 98) from 3-point range. Virginia is one of the few teams that has the personnel to be efficient from both inside and outside the arc. The Cavaliers are the furthest thing from a one-dimensional team.

Given North Carolina’s average of 30.2 defensive rebounds per game (fifth nationally), it’s important that Virginia gets quality attempts as often as possible.

The Cavaliers are good but not great on the offensive boards. They average 9.5 offensive rebounds per game, which ranks 226th nationally. Against the fast break offense of North Carolina, the Cavaliers will be unlikely to exceed that average. — Mike Randle

When UNC Has the Ball

Duke exposed Virginia’s less deterrent pack-line defense on Saturday, shooting 54.2% from inside the arc. The Blue Devils’ surprising perimeter offense aided their looks, but Williams’ bunch has exhibited its stellar long-range shooting (37.6%) all season.

The Tar Heels present a size advantage on the Cavaliers, allowing them to control the pace via the 13th- and 26th-highest defensive and offensive rebounding rate, respectively. Speeding up Virginia, which plays at the slowest Adjusted Tempo (59.4 possessions per 40 minutes), should allow the Cavaliers to dictate positioning inside.

North Carolina owns the 109th-highest 2-point scoring rate (51.5%) while Virginia’s opponents have strung together the 73rd-highest scoring percentage (52.4%) in the nation. Expect Cam Johnson and Co. to have success in that area, as this one won’t be an automatic bounce-back spot for Tony Bennett’s bunch. — Eli Hershkovich

Stuckey: UVA Has Controlled Pace in this Series

You can’t talk about these teams without talking about the contrast in tempo. UNC ranks in the top 5 in Adjusted Tempo, per KenPom, while UVA sits dead last out of 353 D-1 teams. UVA has won the battle of tempo the past few meetings, which is one of the reasons they have won three straight in this series by final scores of:

  • 71-63
  • 61-49
  • 53-43

In fact, since Bennett took over as head coach in Charlottesville in March 2009, the Cavaliers have faced the Tar Heels 15 total times.

Virginia has won eight of 15, but more noteworthy is the fact that only two of those 15 have had more than 140 total points. The over/under for tonight is set at 142.

From a situational perspective, I think this is a much tougher spot for UVA. I know the trend Ewing pointed out favors ranked teams in general, but getting up for a road game at UNC is a tough ask after that emotional home prime-time loss to Duke, which essentially ended any shot of winning the ACC regular season title again.

Meanwhile, UNC survived an overtime scare and not only can keep pace with Duke in the loss column in the standings, it will be out for revenge after losing twice to the Wahoos last year, including once in the ACC tourney.

Locky: Ignore Historical Trends Here

Williams’ Tar Heels can really look like world-beaters against a lot of different opponents — the way they run, offensive rebound, and score can just absolutely blow teams out of the building. I initially had circled this weekend in advance coming into the year, because it strangely presents ol’ Roy with the two coaches he’s had incredible difficulties with through the years, back to back.

Jim Larranaga on Saturday showed once again how he can do something with nothing, as the Hurricanes almost pulled off a massive upset (Miami with the points was one of the few things I got right Saturday).

Now, it’s Bennett coming to town, and the Tar Heels historically struggle vs. his teams quite a bit too. There’s a problem here, though, with that type of surface analysis, and why sometimes spots don’t materialize like you think they will in November — Virginia is getting more credit than I originally anticipated, and is getting credit when it shouldn’t be.

So despite historical trends between the coaches, the exact conditions of this matchup Monday make me think North Carolina getting any points might be a great idea.

This line has opened a pick, and has been bet to Virginia -1 at several offshores. And that is rather interesting because UNC is in a pretty cushy spot, playing its third straight home game. The overtime Saturday shouldn’t present much in the way of a fatigue “spot” because Carolina plays so many guys anyway (what’s five more minutes when your rotation is about 100 players?).

Virginia’s road games haven’t been particularly challenging in terms of opponent, but already lost at Cameron (and remember, Duke was absolutely not 100 percent for that game), and UVA really could have lost to NC State. The Cavaliers blew out Clemson, which is great, I guess?

On this kind of a turnaround, playing a shorter rotation than their opponent, I don’t really want any part of Virginia here. It would be one thing if the market was much more down on it after the Duke game, but when factoring in Carolina’s home-court advantage (let’s say 3.5 points conservatively for a game like this).

The Pick: I’m not at all comfortable saying Virginia is 4.5 points better at this moment in time under these circumstances, which is what the market is implying. It’s Carolina or pass for me with the game hovering at a pick, and if Carolina ever gets to +1.5/+2, I’d start to become really interested. — Ken Barkley