Recency bias is fresh in the betting public’s minds heading into the ACC Tournament Virginia vs North Carolina betting matchup. Everybody remembers the Tar Heels shellacking Duke 94-81 at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday, and now 66% of the bets are on UNC -4 in their postseason opener against Virginia.
Make no mistake, the Tar Heels are clicking at the right time, but Virginia has a game under their belt at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and 19-12 absolutely need a win to be considered for the NCAA Tournament. The Cavaliers edged Louisville 51-50 on Wednesday, but will likely need a better performance to keep up with the ‘Heels on Thursday night.
Virginia Has Fared Well in This Series
North Carolina earned the #3 seed in the conference tournament behind a 15-5 record in the ACC this year (losing the tie breaker to Notre Dame for the #2 seed). Virginia was the 6th seed after going 12-8 in conference play this season, but don’t count the Cavaliers out in this spot as they have won 7 of the last 8 head to head matchups with UNC.
With Wednesday’s second consecutive win over Louisville, UVA has climbed within a game of the magical 20-win mark that looks so appealing to selection committee members. Virginia only has about an 8% chance of making the tournament ahead of Thursday night’s win, but taking down #25 North Carolina would at minimum double that percentage.
Virginia held Louisville to 50 points on Wednesday, a performance that isn’t a complete shocker considering the Cavaliers ranked 12th in the country allowing just 60.4 ppg this season. That was also tops in the ACC, but the big issue is that North Carolina is coming off a 94-point outburst over Duke and was 3rd in the conference scoring 78.6 ppg.
Tar Heels In a Possible Letdown?
North Carolina looked great on Saturday, and you know they wanted the win over their rival Duke to hand Mike Krzyzewski one last loss on the court named after him before riding off into retirement after the season. The only major problem with that huge win though is that it does leave the Tar Heels up for a possible emotional letdown on Thursday night.
Some other things working against North Carolina is that Virginia has already had a game to get comfortable playing at the Barclays Center, and this is also Tar Heels’ coach Hubert Davis’ first time in the ACC Tournament (as a coach) since taking over for Roy Williams in the offseason.
Of course it’s not all doom and gloom for UNC, who has momentum coming into the postseason with a five game win streak down the stretch. The Tar Heels also have what many people thought was the ACC’s best player this season in Armando Bacot (16.6 ppg / 12.5 rpg) who was huge in the 74-58 home win over Virginia on January 8th with an eye-popping 29 points and 22 rebounds.
Free ACC Tournament Virginia vs North Carolina Betting Pick
Not to get the tin foil out but there seems like something is up with North Carolina being just a -4 point favorite here. Bacot was absolutely dominant in the first game with Virginia and the Tar Heels’ big win over Duke is fresh on bettors’ minds heading into this game.
UNC is in a letdown spot though after the win over Duke. Davis has never been here as head coach of the Tar Heels and Virginia’s defense can downright annoy you.
Virginia 61 – North Carolina 62
Free Pick: Virginia +4