North Carolina vs Virginia Odds, Picks and Predictions: David Puts in Work for Tar Heels

UNC's been struggling to hold onto its top status in the ACC, but our college basketball picks think RJ Davis won't shy away from the spotlight in a big matchup with Virginia.

Feb 24, 2024 • 09:46 ET • 4 min read
RJ Davis NCAAB
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The 10th-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels are tied atop the ACC with long-time rival Duke, the No. 8-ranked team in the country.
 
Right below them are the Virginia Cavaliers, who could put a serious dent in Carolina’s conference title hopes, while putting them in position for a late charge of their own, if they can top the Tar Heels at home Saturday.
 
Despite just a single loss in 15 home games this year, the unranked Cavaliers are still 3-point home dogs in the college basketball odds
 
Who gets a leg up in this crucial ACC tilt? Read below as I offer my free North Carolina vs Virginia preview below, and college basketball picks and predictions for Saturday, February 24.

North Carolina vs Virginia best odds

North Carolina vs Virginia picks and predictions

Currently alone in third, just two games behind UNC and Duke, the Virginia Cavaliers are the definition of a rockfight. 
 
You know it’s a lunch-pail special when you’re going up against a Cavaliers side that operates at KenPom’s lowest-ranked tempo — dead last out of 362 schools.
 
The Cavaliers also happen to rank as KenPom’s ninth-best unit in defensive efficiency, and they rank third in the nation, surrendering a paltry 58.6 points per game, limiting the opponents to a bleak 39.8% shooting mark from the field.
 
While that should at least set off some pessimism when targeting the ACC’s leading scorer, Carolina’s RJ Davis, it shouldn't deter you from a very reachable 19.5-point scoring line set for him Saturday. 

Davis, who is averaging 21.3 points per game — which ranks ninth in the nation — is the frontman for the conference’s top-scoring team, pouring in 82.8 points per contest.
 
He’s coming off a 20-point, five-assist effort in UNC’s 96-81 win against Virginia Tech last time out, and he’s gone for better than 20 in eight of his last 11 games.
 
This will be the first Davis will see the Cavaliers since last year’s ACC Tourney quarterfinal, when he lit Virginia on fire, dropping 24 points on 8-for-14 shooting, including a solid 4-for-8 mark from downtown.
 
There’s no stage fright in visiting gyms, either. Davis is scoring 21.4 points per game in the Smith Center over 15 games, and 21.2 points in 11 road games this season.
 
The key is getting enough shots up. Davis averages 17.5 field goal attempts per game on the road, but Virginia allows just 52.3 field goal attempts per game, the sixth-best mark in college basketball.
 
With the high stakes involved, the Carolina game plan should be to get Davis involved early and often. 

My best bet: RJ Davis Over 19.5 points (-110 at DraftKings

North Carolina vs Virginia same-game parlay

RJ Davis Over 19.5 points

Armando Bacot Over 9.5 rebounds

Virginia moneyline

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We’ve targeted Davis in the UNC backcourt, and I’d like to add his frontcourt teammate, senior big man Armando Bacot.
 
The 6-foot-11 Bacot is 11th in the nation in rebounding, pulling down 10.3 boards per game, and he’s been cleaning glass of late.
 
Last game, he had 12 boards against Virginia Tech, to go along with the 25 points, matching his highest scoring output of the season. That came after a 14-point, 10-rebound game in a loss to Syracuse. 
 
During this stretch, he’s also pulled down 15 boards against Miami, while notching 20+ point double-doubles against Clemson (13 rebounds) and Duke (10 rebounds).
 
Virginia also happens to rank dead last in rebounding in the ACC, pulling down just 32.3 per game. 
Bacot is in prime position to make it six straight games with 10 or more rebounds.
 
The reason UNC is even tied with Duke atop the ACC is their shaky conference play, as they’ve alternated wins and losses over the last six games.
 
While this run includes a win over Duke and Clemson, who currently ranks fifth, there are also ugly losses to Georgia Tech — who have just four conference wins all year — and Syracuse, who sit ninth in the ACC with an 8-8 mark.
 
Virginia has also won 24 of its last 25 games at John Paul Jones Arena and five straight over North Carolina at home. The Cavaliers also boast a solid 7-3 record against UNC in the last 10.

Learn how to bet a same-game parlay with these helpful tips and strategies.

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North Carolina vs Virginia spread and Over/Under analysis

Since opening at 1.5 points, the spread has stayed mostly at 2.5 points, though some books have the line as high as 3.5 points.
 
Both teams have winning records against the spread: Virginia is 14-12-1 ATS, while North Carolina sports a 14-11-1 ATS mark.
 
Since opening at 129.5 points, the total has only risen by two points, to 131.5.
 
Virginia has seen the Under hit in 16 of its 27 games on the year, while UNC is split down the middle with its Over/Under record at 13-13-0.

North Carolina vs Virginia betting trend to know

The Under is 6-3-1 in the last 10 meetings between these teams. Find more college basketball betting trends for North Carolina vs. Virginia.

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North Carolina vs Virginia game info

Location: John Paul Jones Arena, Charlottesville, VA
Date: Saturday, February 24, 2024
Tip-off: 4:00 p.m. ET
TV: ESPN

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