College Basketball Picks: North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Virginia Cavaliers

North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Virginia Cavaliers
Monday, 1/20/14, 7:00 PM EST
Opening Point Spread:  Virginia -7.5
Current Betting Line:  Virginia -7
Opening Total:  128
Current Total:  129
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The home team is 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings between North Carolina and Virginia
The home team is 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings between North Carolina and Virginia

North Carolina snapped a three-game losing streak last Saturday, as it picked up a 82-71 victory over the Boston College Eagles as 11.5-point home favorites, while going OVER the betting total for the first time in six contests.  The Tar Heels have won 10 of their last 12 games versus the Cavaliers, which is important to consider when making your college basketball betting picks.  The program is 5-3 SU in Charlottesville under head coach Roy Williams.  North Carolina is 0-3 SU and 1-2 ATS as road underdogs of 6.5 to 9 points the last two-plus seasons.

The Tar Heels are shooting just 39.8 percent overall and 21.7 from three-point range in four ACC games, which is hard to ignore when looking over the college basketball odds page.  North Carolina is knocking down just 62 percent of its free throws this season—on pace to be the worst figure in program history.  Sophomore point guard Marcus Paige will need to play a huge game to pull off an upset in this spot, as he’s drained 64.4 percent of his three-point shots.

Virginia is set to make its second straight appearance on ESPN’s Big Monday, as it looks to improve upon its 4-1 start in conference play.  The Cavaliers rank fourth nationally in allowing just 56.6 points per game—limiting foes to just 3.7 in fast-break opportunities.  Defensively, the team has held 16 of 18 opponents below 50 percent shooting from the field, while it also out-rebounded 14 of 18 foes.  Virginia is 10-2 SU and 9-1 ATS when playing with one or less days rest the last two-plus seasons.

The Cavaliers are outscoring their opponents by a 451-308 margin in terms of bench points, with a reserve leading the team in scoring in six games during the 2013-14 campaign.  Virginia is led on the offensive end by Joe Harris, but he’s averaging just 11.3 points a contest, which would be the lowest program scoring leader in 61 seasons of ACC action.

Sports bettors will likely back the Cavaliers due to the home team being 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings.

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