North Carolina Tar Heels vs Auburn Tigers Pick
Auburn Tigers (28-9 SU, 19-16-1 ATS) vs. North Carolina Tar Heels (29-6 SU, 22-11-2 ATS)
When: Friday, March 29, 2019 – 7:29 p.m. ET
Where: Sprint Center, Kansas City, Missouri
Point Spread: AUB +5.5 / UNC -5.5 (BetOnline Sportsbook)
Total: O/U 164.5
Last Time Out: Auburn beat Kansas 89-75; North Carolina beat Washington 81-59
Scouting the Tigers:
Auburn lit up the scoreboard in their round of 32 game and in turn earned their way to the Sweet 16. This was a much more complete performance after they tried to give the game away to New Mexico State in their opening round. The Tigers have clearly shown they have the talent to beat anybody in the country but have also shown a lot of their success will rely on their three-point shooting. The Tigers are looking for their first ever Elite 8 appearance but will have to take down a sound Tar Heels squad to do so.
Scouting the Tar Heels:
North Carolina has gone under the radar in a way because of Duke and the return of Zion. Especially back in the ACC tournament semifinals where the Tar Heels were unable to beat Duke for the third time. The Tar Heels have been one of the most impressive teams in the tournament so far. Unlike Duke, they were never in danger of losing either game and are looking like a legitimate National Championship contender. This Sweet 16 game will obviously be their toughest test so far, and now we will now see if the Tar Heels can continue their deep run.
Notable Betting Trends:
Both teams have been solid against the spread recently, with the Tigers going 6-4 and the Tar Heels going 7-3. An interesting trend shows that the Tar Heels play great basketball after coming off a win by 20 points or more. In this regard they are 9-1 straight up and 7-2-1 against the spread. As for Auburn they are 5-2 straight up and 4-3 against the spread when they win their previous game by 10 to 19 points. These numbers are still decent, but it shows that North Carolina has been superior after coming off a blowout win. Another trend to watch out for deals with the scoring for each team. There is no question that both teams love to score the ball and it shows as Auburn is averaging 79.8 points per game and North Carolina is averaging 86 points per game. When Auburn reaches the 85-point mark in a game, they are 11-0. When North Carolina scores 85 points they are 17-1. Keep this in mind as this game could come down to whoever reaches 85 points first wins.
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Auburn will Cover if:
They continue to light it up from behind the arc. It happened in the SEC Championship and it happened in the game against Kansas. Auburn just could not seem to miss at times from the three-point line and went 13 of 30. Bryce Brown was the guy who did the most damage as he went 7 of 11 from deep range and tallied 25 points. This shooting must continue for the Tigers if they expect to hang with the Tar Heels. If they start to go cold from the field, the Tar Heels will hurt them with their fast break points and Auburn could find themselves buried in a deep hole.
North Carolina will Cover if:
Nassir Little can play. Little is dealing with an illness right now and it is unclear if he will be able to play in the game against Auburn. The reason why Little is so important to the Tar Heels is because he adds yet another weapon that can take over a game. Sure, the Tar Heels have guys like Cameron Johnson, Coby White and Luke Maye, but when you throw even more guys into the mix, it makes it that much harder for Auburn to defend at a high level. Through two games so far, Little has scored 39 total points, which shows how vital he is and can be if the Tar Heels are going to continue winning in this tournament.
Matt’s Pick for Auburn vs. North Carolina:
This is going to be an exciting game with a lot of scoring. The top sportsbooks have the Tar Heels as a 5.5-point favorite and has the total set at 164.5. I think the Tar Heels have too many weapons on the offensive side and their quick style of play will cause problems for the Tigers. The Tar Heels have previous experience in games that are this big and therefore I am backing them to win and cover in this Sweet 16 game.
Matt’s College Basketball Pick: North Carolina Tar Heels -5.5
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