College Basketball Betting – North Carolina Tar Heels at Miami Hurricanes

Written by:
Phil Simon
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The North Carolina Tar Heels picked up their first ACC win of the season in a game they weren’t even scheduled to play. That’s life in the COVID world, I guess. The Heels stopped a two-game losing streak with a narrow win over Notre Dame in a game hastily put together after each team lost an opponent to the virus and subsequent protocols. The Heels look to keep the Miami Hurricanes out of the win column in league action when the schools get together in Florida for a Tuesday night tilt. The Canes dropped their last two games by a total of three points and are currently 0-3 in ACC action.  Bookmaker.eu offers a generous welcome bonus (max bonus $1600)

North Carolina Tar Heels at Miami Hurricanes
Date and Time: Tuesday, January 5, 2021, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Watsco Center, Coral Gables, FL
Opening College Basketball Odds: (check back later)
North Carolina at Miami TV Coverage: ESPN

Odds Analysis

The line for this game hasn’t been posted at the time of this writing but you can bet the Tar Heels will be giving points like they’ve done in all but two of their games this season. UNC was positioned as a 10-point home favorite against Notre Dame getting a bucket in the waning seconds to avoid a second straight upset. The Heels won the game 66-65 but failed to cover in a third straight game moving to 1-6 ATS in their last seven. They dropped consecutive games to NC State and Georgia Tech prior to that victory and are 6-4 SU. Miami has stumbled after opening the season with three victories. A loss to Clemson over the weekend was their second straight and fourth in five games. The Canes are 4-4 SU and ATS and they’ve played over the total in each of the last three games.

North Carolina Tar Heels

Some of the blueblood programs have gotten off to rocky starts and the Heels are right there among them. Their biggest issue has been slow starts, which have put them in a hole early leaving them scraping to climb out of. And a few times the deficit was too much to overcome. The Heels feel behind NC State by 17 late in the first half and couldn’t complete the comeback, falling 79-76. They also faced a 16-point deficit in losses to Iowa and Texas, and rallied from double-digit holes to beat UNLV, NC Central and Kentucky.

That is obviously not a recipe for success and Roy Williams changed up his starting lineup for the Georgia Tech game. Instead of falling behind and playing catch up, the Heels let a second half lead slip away getting outscored 19-6 down the stretch in the 72-67 loss. Though the result was the same the manner in which it came was different, and that’s something Williams can live with. He can’t live with the high number of turnovers, though. UNC coughed it up 18 times in the Tech loss.

Working with a young team during the pandemic hasn’t been easy. Practice time was limited, exhibition games scrapped and there’s only been a handful of non-conference games. The Heels are learning on the fly, though they appear to be better with Day’Ron Sharpe in the starting lineup. The 6-11 freshman is a load near the basket and had his best game of the season against Notre Dame with 25 points and nine rebounds. He scored just 20 points total in the previous three games.

Miami Hurricanes

The Canes aren’t too far off, but they better start finishing some of these games to get back in the race. They had a four point lead over Clemson with 65 seconds remaining but were outscored 5-0 down the stretch turning the ball over twice. They never had a chance at a potential game-winning shot in the 66-65 setback. Miami lost its last two games by the slimmest of margins and has dropped four of five overall.

There is some potential good news, though. Injuries played a role in the skid with All-ACC guard Chris Lykes and Kameron McGusty on the shelf. Without the backcourt performers the Canes committed 19 turnovers in the 80-78 loss to Virginia Tech. McGusty was back on the floor Saturday contributing nine points in 28 minutes off the bench. There is a chance Lykes can return on Tuesday. He’s played just two games averaging 15.5 points and 5.5 assists.

Isaiah Wong has picked up the scoring slack with Lykes on the shelf averaging a team-best 17.9 points. But the Canes have struggled without two of their top offensive threats scoring 68.8 points per game while shooting 28 percent from three-point range.

Bet North Carolina at Miami at BookMaker.eu

North Carolina has a much deeper bench and the young players should only get better as they spend more time together. Sharpe had his way with Notre Dame last game giving him a huge boost of confidence. His insertion in the starting lineup also gave the Heels a much needed jolt of energy out of the gate. The Canes will struggle defensively to stop UNC’s big man and I see the Heels winning a huge road test.

College Basketball Score Prediction: North Carolina 75, Miami 64

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