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North Carolina/North Carolina State Square Off in Tobacco Road Rumble

North Carolina State enters tonight’s game playing its best basketball of the season as the Wolfpack have won and covered six of their last nine games.  More importantly, North Carolina State takes the floor with legitimate revenge after suffering a humiliating 84-70 loss to the Tar Heels earlier this month, which is significant in that the Wolfpack are a profitable 8-1 ATS at home revenging a loss. Meanwhile, North Carolina arrives in town off back-to-back home wins over Duke and Wake Forest, which is noteworthy in that the Tar Heels are a money-burning 24-41 ATS following two or more consecutive home wins.

Fundamental Analysis: North Carolina State

Offense:

North Carolina State is averaging 70.4 points per game against teams that would combine to allow 66.0 points per game, thereby making the Wolfpack 4.4 points per game better than average offensively.  However, the Wolfpack are 12-4 on their home floor where they are averaging 74.8 points per game on 48.4% shooting from the field.  Head coach Mark Gottfried has been pleased with his team’s improvement against zone defenses.  “We’re seeing a lot of zone,” Gottfried said.  “There was a point earlier in the year we struggled against it but we’re getting more confident against a zone.  The ball is moving better.”  Overall, North Carolina State possesses a 0.9 points per game advantage offensively over the Tar Heels’ stop unit.

Defense:

The Wolfpack’s recent improvement, as cited earlier herein, has been based upon an improved defense that is limiting opponents to a mere 63.0 points over the last five games.  While North Carolina State is only 1.4 points per game better than average defensively overall (68.9 points per game to teams that would combine to average 70.3 points per game), those numbers do not accurately reflect the current state of the Wolfpack’s defense.  And, I believe North Carolina’s renewed commitment on the defensive end of the floor is enough to contain a Tar Heel offense that is averaging 74.1 points per game versus conference foes and 71.8 points per game on the road (25.6% 3-PT).

My math model only favors North Carolina by three points so we are getting solid line value together with the strong technical analysis favoring the Wolfpack.  Motivation also favors North Carolina State as coach Gottfried’s squad is looking to enhance their postseason resume before turning it over to the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee. “We have 17 wins,” Gottfried said.  “We are hungry.” “I think everybody on our team knows that we’ve got to win these games for us to get in the tournament,” sophomore point guard Tyler Lewis said.  “We’re on the bubble, so every game matters for us right now.”

In contrast, North Carolina is likely exhaling after winning four games in six days, including a signature upset over Duke.  North Carolina is also dealing with injuries as Kennedy Meeks has spent the past few days with his left foot in a boot, while Leslie McDonald stated on Tuesday that his ankle was still bothering him.  Grab the generous points with the live home underdog and invest with confidence.

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