Betting Insights: North Carolina's National Championship Odds
After being deemed the preseason No. 1 ranked team in the country, the North Carolina Tar Heels have done little to prove it was worthy of such an honor. With their 9-4 start to the season, ranking 20th on KenPom.com, they look closer to the team we saw throughout the 2021-22 regular season than the team we saw make a run to the national title game.
There is still plenty of time to right the ship and become a national championship contender, but plenty needs to be addressed between now and March. How have the odds reacted to UNC’s start? Let’s look at the futures betting market at the BetMGM Sportsbook to gain some insight.
National Championship Movement (Open, Current)
North Carolina +1400 to +2500
Gonzaga +1200 to +1600
Duke +800 to +2200
National Championship Betting Insights @ BetMGM
Percentage of market’s tickets: 7.2%
Percentage of market’s handle: 9.4%
The offense certainly is not the weakness of UNC’s game in 2022-23. The Tar Heels rank 11th in offensive efficiency on KenPom and have notched 80 or more points in eight of their 13 contests this season. They seem to face adversity running up the scoring against quality opponents.
Apart from a 103-101 quadruple overtime epic against Alabama, they scored 65, 65, and 72 points against potential tournament teams Iowa State, Indiana, and Virginia Tech during a four-game losing streak. But there is hope, as things may be trending in the right direction following two strong wins against Ohio State and Michigan to conclude non-conference play.
Head coach Hubert Davis is rocking his “Iron Five,” made up of Caleb Love, Armando Bacot, RJ Davis, Pete Nance, and Leaky Black. They make up over 80 percent of the team’s minutes with a short bench at their disposal. It didn’t seem to slow them down last year, but you always wonder how a team that sees such little rest fares down the stretch of a long season.
When preseason All-American Bacot eats, so does everyone else. In the last nine games where the big man had more than 20 points, the Heels are 9-0. He brings a beautiful combination of frontcourt offensive prowess and tenacious rebounding to a team that is not afraid to feed him the ball. Bacot will be in contention for the league’s Player of the Year award come March.
In the nicest way possible, someone should probably tell Love to stop shooting the three-ball. The junior is converting his triples at just a 28.6 percent clip yet averages seven attempts per game. Love’s strength seems to come at the rim this season.
After shooting 34.8 and 38 percent on two-pointers in his first two seasons in Chapel Hill, the Missouri native is now making a stunning 52.7 percent of those attempts. If he could shift his focus toward inside the arc, he’d become a far more valuable asset on the offensive end.
Davis has already proven to both Tar Heel fans and the entire country that he is worthy of this job. For a team that is coming off a national championship game appearance, they deserve a bit more patience than most.
The talent is there, but getting the team to play through each other and avoiding constant defensive lapses will be their ticket back to elite status. Wait to see if the Tar Heels can kick off the ACC with a strong start before buying low on their national title chances.
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