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Kentucky vs. North Carolina betting trends, expert picks and predictions

Breaking down Cats vs. Heels with predictions.

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NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at North Carolina David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Looking to get their season back on track, the Kentucky Wildcats face the North Carolina Tar Heels Today in Cleveland at the CBS Sports Classic.

A rematch from two years ago, in a game which Ashton Hagans dominated at both ends of the floor, the two historic programs will face off once again with plenty of new faces suiting up for the respective programs.

The Wildcats, in the midst of their worst start in decades, will look to knock off the No. 22 Tar Heels. Though fans haven’t been much of a factor in this young season, Saturday’s game will be a true neutral site.

Will Kentucky be able to take advantage? Or will their struggles continue?

Odds

According to pregame.com, Kentucky opened as a 3-point underdog to North Carolina. Since then, the Tar Heels have actually been bet up to -3.5 favorites. The over/under total opened at 139 and has since moved slightly to 140. ESPN’s Basketball Power Index currently gives North Carolina a 65.9% chance of victory.

Betting Trends

Kentucky

  • Kentucky is 10-5 ATS in their last 15 games.
  • The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Kentucky’s last 5 games.
  • Kentucky is 1-4 SU in their last 5 games.
  • The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Kentucky’s last 6 games against an opponent in the Atlantic Coast conference.
  • Kentucky is 1-5 SU in their last 6 games played in December.
  • Kentucky is 10-2 SU in their last 12 games played on a Saturday.
  • Kentucky is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games when playing as the underdog.
  • The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Kentucky’s last 5 games played on a Saturday when at home.

North Carolina

  • The total has gone UNDER in 7 of North Carolina’s last 8 games.
  • North Carolina is 8-4 SU in their last 12 games.
  • North Carolina is 2-5 SU in their last 7 games against Kentucky.
  • The total has gone UNDER in 5 of North Carolina’s last 6 games this season.
  • The total has gone UNDER in 7 of North Carolina’s last 8 games against an opponent in the Southeastern conference.
  • North Carolina is 0-4-1 ATS in their last 5 games played in December.
  • North Carolina is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games played on a Saturday.
  • North Carolina is 7-1 SU in their last 8 games when playing as the favorite.

Expert Picks

Three of ESPN’s four expert pickers went with the Tar Heels.

Brad Cunningham of the Action Network is siding with Kentucky’s +3.5-point spread.

Only one of Cats Illustrated’s three writers is picking Kentucky.

Scores and Stats is predicting a narrow finish of 71-68 in favor of the Tar Heels.

KenPom is going with a 71-69 win for North Carolina.

TeamRankings has the Tar Heels winning 70-67, but numberFire is predicting a 72-71 Kentucky victory.

Prediction

Kentucky’s offense has been all but a joy to watch early on this year. Granted, a team full of new faces could use more time to gel (especially during a year full of COVID). However, the reality is Kentucky has to learn on the fly and now is the time to figure things out. Our eyes tend to tell us the truth, so it’s hard to unsee the dreadful struggles on offense Kentucky has experienced the last few weeks. Their defensive intensity will keep them in it, but the Wildcats will ultimately fall to another opponent this weekend and move to 1-5.

Final Score: North Carolina 61, Kentucky 53