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Kentucky Wildcats vs. North Carolina Tar Heels Odds & Preview

The No. 14 Kentucky Wildcats are headed to Atlanta for a battle with the No. 9 North Carolina Tar Heels this Saturday, Dec. 16, as part of the CBS Sports Classic. The programs are two of the biggest draws in college sports, and we have the best betting odds and preview for the game.

Betting Odds for Kentucky vs. North Carolina

Although both are among the best offenses in college hoops, the Wildcats are more well-rounded, which should serve them well tonight. 

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This season’s Wildcats and Tar Heels teams are top 20 in the country in scoring, so this one could be explosive from start to finish. High-scoring affairs are some of the best to wager on, and thanks to nearly $5,000 in bonuses available with the best Kentucky sports betting promos, you can get in on the action with house money. Click any of the links below to claim an offer or the game.

Offensive Efficiency is Tar Heels’ Achilles Heel

North Carolina averages 85 points per game (17th in college hoops). However, 61% of that scoring comes just three players — RJ Davis, Armando Bacot, and Harrison Ingram. Davis is the leading scorer, putting up 21 points per game (top 20). However, he is 6-feet tall and plays as a volume scoring guard. In their two losses this season, he shot 41% from the field and dished two assists. 

His scoring is essential to the Tar Heels’ success, and he usually delivers. However, how he delivers matters, and quite often, it’s inefficient. Davis’ style of play has a significant impact on the team’s 45% shooting percentage, which is ranked 138th in the country. Shooting poorly against a team like Kentucky is a recipe for disaster due to how well Kentucky distributes and scores the ball. 

For Davis to overcome his shooting challenges, he’ll have to be successful against one of the taller back courts in the country. The Wildcats starting guards are 6-foot-4 and 6-foot-6. Length is a challenge for Davis, and Kentucky has plenty of it on the perimeter. If Davis can’t find a way to be efficient in this contest, North Carolina’s chances to win this game decline drastically. 

Wildcats’ Three-Point Shooting a Gift and a Curse

The Wildcats don’t have a scoring option as potent as Davis, but they do have a system based on ball movement and an abundance of shooters to take advantage of it. Kentucky is seventh in the country in assists per game, averaging 19.6. It is also third in the country in 3-point shooting percentage. They connect on a whopping 41.4% of their looks from deep, making it challenging for many teams to keep pace. 

However, they have the tendency to fall in love with the deep shot, especially since they don’t have a player capable of creating their own shot consistently. In their two losses, they shot 31% or worse from deep. UNC’s 3-point defense isn’t the best, so there is a chance Kentucky could see a lot of good looks. However, the final outcome is dependent on them knocking down the shots. 

Prediction: Wildcats Will Cover

In tightly contested games, the team that moves the ball around the most usually has the upper hand in college hoops. That’s an edge that clearly favors Kentucky. The last time they played, Kentucky shot 53% from deep in a 29-point victory. Although different teams, the playing styles are similar, which is why we give Kentucky the edge yet again.

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