A couple of conference heavyweights meet up on Thursday in Greensboro for the ACC Tournament North Carolina vs Virginia betting matchup. The Tar Heels (20-12) made an improbable run to the 2022 National Championship, and they’re trying to do the same in 2023 boosted by a big 81-65 win over Boston College in their tourney opener on Wednesday.
Virginia (23-6) closed out the regular season as the #13 team in the AP Top 25, good enough to draw the #2 seed for the conference tournament. The two teams split their two games this year with each club getting a win at home, and UVA has picked up just a slight -1.5 favorite tag for the postseason meeting with over 60% of the betting public liking the Tar Heels.
Why North Carolina Can Cover +1.5 Points
Just the fact that North Carolina is only a +1.5 underdog in a #7 seed vs #2 seed matchup says a lot about this game. The Tar Heels have many of their key components back from last year’s deep tournament run, so the brevity of the moment does not affect the likes of Caleb Love, Armando Bacot, R.J. Davis, and Leaky Black.
Love had 22 points in Wednesday’s 85-61 win over Boston College while Davis added 18 as UNC easily covered the -11 point spread in their tournament opener. That was almost the perfect type of game for the Tar Heels – get their postseason jitters out of the way but also cruise to an easy win that didn’t take a lot out of the fatigue tank.
North Carolina was 12-3 at home this season, and although the Greensboro Coliseum is not the Dean Dome it’s still just a short 50 minute drive from Chapel Hill. This crowd should be predominantly pro-Tar Heels which is always something to take into account.
Why Virginia Can Cover -1.5 Points
It’s no secret what UVA’s game plan is heading into the ACC Tournament North Carolina vs Virginia matchup and that’s play sound defense and keep this a low scoring game. The Cavaliers got in trouble last month in their 71-63 loss in Chapel Hill, but played to their strengths in the 65-58 win over UNC at home on January 10th.
Perhaps the biggest reason to like UVA on Thursday night is nothing that the Cavaliers do, but more that North Carolina could have a limited Bacot (16.5 ppg, 10.8 rpg) after he turned an ankle on Wednesday vs. Boston College. Bacot played just 6 minutes in the 2nd half against BC and although that could have been because the Tar Heels had a big lead, sometimes injuries also don’t really set in until overnight.
Virginia does not have the offense to hang with North Carolina in a shootout, in fact the Cavaliers were the third lowest scoring team in the ACC this season (68.2 ppg). It’s all about defense for UVA who was 11th in the country allowing just 60.5 ppg on the year.
Free ACC Tournament North Carolina vs Virginia Betting Pick
Bacot’s health is a concern for the Tar Heels, but he’s a tough guy who should be able to battle through this game and at the very least be a big body down low. While Bacot is great, UNC is also incredibly deep and postseason battle tested and it’s just hard to trust Virginia’s lack of offense – even though their defense is elite.
Free Pick: North Carolina +1.5