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North Carolina vs Baylor East Region Picks: Hot On Your Tar Heels

They may only be a No. 8 seed but UNC is fresh off a 42-point stomping of Marquette and have the talent to go toe-to-toe with anyone, including top-seeded Baylor. Read more in our March Madness picks and predictions for North Carolina vs. Baylor.

Last Updated: Mar 19, 2022 7:45 AM ET Read Time: 4 min

The North Carolina Tar Heels have been inconsistent for most of the season. But after a 95-63 blowout win against Marquette, the Tar Heels could be a real threat in the East Region and beyond. 

But it won't get any easier — facing the No. 1-seeded Baylor Bears next.

The defending champs took care of business in its first March Madness game, beating Norfolk State 85-49. Despite all of the upsets happening in the tournament, Baylor didn’t look rattled at all. 

Here are our March Madness picks and predictions for the Round of 32 matchup between North Carolina and Baylor.

North Carolina vs Baylor odds

This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.

Baylor opened as a 6-point favorite but quickly dropped to -5.5. The total, on the other hand, opened at 149.5 and is sitting mostly at 149s across the board. 

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until tip-off and be sure to check out the full college basketball odds before placing your bets.

North Carolina vs Baylor predictions

Predictions made on 3/18/2022 at 8:00 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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North Carolina vs Baylor game info

Location: Dickies Arena, Fort Worth, TX
Date: Saturday, March 19, 2022
Tip-off: 1:00 p.m. ET

North Carolina vs Baylor betting preview


North Carolina: Dawson Garcia F (Out), Anthony Harris G (Out).
Baylor: LJ Cryer (Out), Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua F (Out), Langston Love G (Out).
Find our latest NCAA basketball injury reports.

Betting trend to know

North Carolina is 6-1-1 against the spread in its last eight games vs. teams with winning straight-up records. Find more NCAA betting trends for North Carolina vs. Baylor.

North Carolina vs Baylor picks and predictions

Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.

Spread analysis

In an inconsistent season, the North Carolina Tar Heels have still put up really good numbers on the offensive end. North Carolina has a 52.2% effective field goal percentage and has hit 36.2% from downtown along with 50.8% from inside. 

What makes North Carolina truly effective on the offensive end is that the Tar Heels turn the ball over just 16.4% while grabbing 30.7% of offensive rebounds. On the defensive glass is the one area that Baylor hasn’t been great in defensively. The Bears are giving up 28.8% of offensive rebounds on the defensive end, which is 211th in the nation and well below average.  

Outside of the glass, the Bears continue to play really good defense. Teams are shooting 29.7% from deep and 49.1% from inside the arc. On top of that, Baylor is forcing 22.9% turnovers and keeping fouls to a minimum. 

On the offensive end, Baylor is extremely solid on the offensive glass, earning 36.6% of offensive rebounds. But that number will likely decrease against North Carolina. The Tar Heels are only allowing 21% offensive rebounds on the year, a second-best mark in the nation. 

From a shooting standpoint, Baylor is still knocking down 34.8% from deep and 54% from inside the arc this season. 

Defensively, North Carolina is allowing teams to shoot 34.6% from deep and 48.1% from inside. Baylor should find success in both areas offensively but again, North Carolina is only allowing 21% offensive rebounds and keeping fouls to a very low rate this season.

If the Bears start to miss some good looks, North Carolina will hang around. I'm taking them with the points.

Prediction: North Carolina +5.5 (-110)

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Over/Under analysis

North Carolina isn’t going to allow many second chances but the reality is, the Tar Heels still only force 14.1% turnovers. Baylor's offense ranks second in adjusted offensive efficiency and should consistently get good looks in this game.

On the other hand, North Carolina should be able to have more success on the offensive glass and earn multiple second-chance opportunities to score. 

Both teams run their offenses at an above-average space and while fouls won’t be an issue for either team, good looks will come from both sides. Baylor will get many more opportunities to score from deep while North Carolina will stay the course inside the arc. 

Both teams can score against any type of defense. Take the Over.

Prediction: Over 149 (-110)

Best bet

This game comes down to North Carolina and rebounding. If North Carolina can dominate the offensive glass and keep Baylor off the offensive glass like the Tar Heels have done to most teams this season, the Tar Heels could end up pulling off a huge upset in the East Region. 

The reality is, despite North Carolina being a No. 8 seed, the talent level of the Tar Heels is just as elite as Baylor's. Baylor is more connected and a better basketball team overall, but again, North Carolina can compete against any team in the nation with the skillset of the roster. 

I’ll grab North Carolina +5.5 in this game. 

Pick: North Carolina +5.5 (-110)

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