The No. 1 team in the country has not played like a No. 1 team. North Carolina is ranked No. 1 because it was the preseason No. 1 team and has not lost a game…yet.
However, the Tar Heels are working on brand name and reputation as those who bet online have not been impressed. They are not the hottest or the most imposing team in the country.
Overall, they have looked ordinary in their first four games and they have a lot of work to do. They face Portland on Thursday in Portland and this should be an easy win for them, though.
The question is can they cover the college basketball odds?
North Carolina Tar Heels
The Tar Heels have not overwhelmed inferior opponents so far, and that’s a concern if you’re making your college basketball picks here.
They have won every game but they have not looked especially convincing. Should this be cause for alarm in the Carolina camp? Probably not.
Hubert Davis needed 3 1/2 months last season to get the Tar Heels to play their best basketball. Once they got rolling in late February, they didn’t stop.
It’s true that teams should not count on getting hot at the end of the season, but it does mean that if the journey is a little bumpy, the Tar Heels can ride through the ups and downs and become a better team when they absolutely have to.
The main producer so far is big man Armando Bacot. He is averaging 18.3 points and 11.8 rebounds per game.
He is shooting 51.2% from the field and is doing a lot of different things to help his team win.
North Carolina needs the backcourt to step up and provide more help for Bacot and the rest of the team when UNC goes up against the higher-caliber competition.
The Pilots are guided by coach Shantay Legans, one of the up-and-coming young coaches in college basketball.
Legans, 41, has made Portland competitive in a deep and contentious West Coast Conference.
Portland is not in the top tier of the WCC, but the Pilots are no longer the doormat they were before Legans took over the program.
Portland is 4-2, with its two losses coming against Seattle and Kent State, mid-major teams which were expected to be good.
Those aren’t bad losses, but they do reflect the extent to which Portland still has to grow and evolve in order to compete at an even higher level.
North Carolina vs Portland Game Injuries
North Carolina vs Portland Head-to-Head
These two schools have met only one time, in 2017. North Carolina won, 102-78.
North Carolina vs Portland Game Information
- Game: North Carolina vs Portland
- Location: Moda Center, Portland, Oregon
- Day/Time: Thursday, Nov. 24th, 1:00 p.m. ET
- North Carolina vs Portland Live Stream: TBS.com
North Carolina vs Portland Betting Lines
North Carolina vs Portland Prediction
The Tar Heels probably won’t crush Portland, so that makes it difficult to lay the points in the sportsbook. However, as with most of the other games they have played, they will be good enough to win by more than 10 points.
That being the case, you can lay the big number on the Moneyline if you bet online but otherwise, take North Carolina with the points.
The North Carolina Tar Heels are listed at -1445 in our Vegas NCAAF lines. This means that if you wager $100 on Tar Heels, you have a chance to win $7. The Portland Pilots are +865, offering a chance to win $865 on a $100 wager.
The implied probability attached to the betting lines gives North Carolina a 93.53% chance to win, with Portland at 10.36%.