Wake Forest Sizable Dog in North Carolina
The North Carolina Tar Heels were the preseason No. 1 team in the country, but they have not lived up to that billing at all.
They are 9-5 and – just like last season – enter January with a very uncertain road ahead and no certainties about making the NCAA Tournament.
The Tar Heels need to get on a run, just as they did a year ago. That’ll have to start against Wake Forest, who they host on Wednesday in a key ACC game. Let’s take a closer look at the college basketball odds.
Wake Forest Must Maintain Urgency
The Demon Deacons scored a few big wins in the ACC in recent weeks. They beat Duke on Dec. 20 in a complete performance, beating the Blue Devils by 11 points. Then they outlasted Virginia Tech, 77-75, on Dec. 31.
Those who bet online saw this team go through a rough period in the middle of December, losing a big lead at home to LSU and then getting crushed by Rutgers, but coach Steve Forbes has been able to get his team to bounce back.
This is the resilience Wake Forest needs to be robustly competitive in the ACC and make a real push for the NCAA Tournament berth, which narrowly eluded the Demon Deacons last season.
Wake Forest needs to continue to display the urgency which was very apparent in these last two games against Duke and Virginia Tech. If the Deacs continue to score in the mid-70s or higher, they aren’t going to lose often in the ACC.
Tar Heels Fresh off Another Disappointing Loss
The Tar Heels won games against Big Ten teams Michigan and Ohio State in the pre-Christmas portion of their December schedule, but they took a step back in ACC play on Dec. 30 when they lost to Pittsburgh, 76-74.
North Carolina led by nine points midway through the second half but did not play consistent defense against the Panthers.
Pitt’s Jamarius Burton scored 31 points against Carolina, and that’s the kind of performance the Tar Heels have to be able to prevent. They should not be allowing one player to torch them like that.
This team continues to fail to play elite at both ends of the floor for extended periods of time. If one side of the ball is doing well, the other side slips. This continues to dog the Tar Heels in a very uneven and inconsistent season.
Wake Forest vs North Carolina Game Injuries
Wake Forest vs North Carolina Head-to-Head
These teams last met in January 2022. Wake Forest won 98-76. UNC leads the all-time series, 109-51.
Wake Forest vs North Carolina Game Information
- Game: Wake Forest (10-14, 2-1 ACC) vs North Carolina (9-5, 1-2)
- Location: Dean Smith Center, Chapel Hill, NC
- Day/Time: Wednesday, Jan. 4, 9:00 p.m. ET
- Wake Forest vs North Carolina Live stream: TBS.com
Wake Forest vs North Carolina Betting Lines
Wake Forest vs North Carolina Picks & Prediction
The North Carolina loss to Pittsburgh heightens the level of urgency attached to this game. North Carolina is very much a bubble team for the NCAA Tournament – even if they’re a huge favorite in the sportsbook here.
If the field of 68 teams was selected today, it’s not a total lock that the Tar Heels would be included. So they really need this game.
Wake Forest does as well, but Carolina coming off a loss – whereas Wake Forest just defeated Virginia Tech – will give North Carolina much more urgency.
Playing at home will help, too. North Carolina will win, probably by seven to 10 points. It’s not enough to take them with your college basketball picks against the spread, though.
North Carolina is listed at -550 in our Vegas lines. This means that if you wager $100 on the Tar Heels, you have a chance to win $18. Wake Forest is +415, offering a chance to win $415 on a $100 wager.
The implied probability attached to the betting lines gives the Demon Deacons a 19.42% chance to win, with the Tar Heels at 84.62%.