Last Updated Mar 25, 2022, 10:11 PM

UNC Tar Heels vs. UCLA Bruins Picks, Predictions, Odds

In a ACC/Pac-12 tilt in the Sweet 16 of the East Region, the North Carolina Tar Heels face the UCLA Bruins this Friday night at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Tip-off on CBS is slated for 9:39 p.m. (ET).

Score Prediction

UCLA 74, North Carolina 73

Best Bet

UNC -2.5 (-110)

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UNC TAR HEELS vs. UCLA BRUINS PREDICTIONS

After falling to Virginia Tech by 13 points as a three-point favorite in the recent ACC Tournament, North Carolina began its run to the Sweet 16 with a 32-point beatdown over Marquette as a four-point favorite. Closing as 5.5-point underdogs in the next round against No. 1 Baylor, the Tar Heels held off the Bears in overtime by seven points.

UCLA came up short against Arizona in the Pac-12 Tournament title game by eight points as a two point underdog. After squeezing past Akron in the opening round of this tournament by four points as 13.5-point favorites, the Bruins asserted themselves against Saint Mary’s with a solid 16-point victory on Saturday favored by three on the closing spread.

Having North Carolina this deep in the NCAA Tournament is an exciting twist and I do not think the Tar Heels are just happy to be in the 16-team field. Beating Baylor in overtime has given this team quite a bit of momentum that could be enough to carry them to the Elite 8. Hedging myself a bit, I have UCLA winning straight-up and North Carolina covering in a game that can go either way.

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UNC TAR HEELS vs. UCLA BRUINS BETTING ODDS

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UNC TAR HEELS vs. UCLA BRUINS BETTING RESOURCES

  • Date: Friday, March 25, 2022
  • Matchup: No. 8 vs. No. 4
  • Region: East
  • Venue: Wells Fargo Center
  • Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • TV-Time: CBS - 9:39 p.m. ET

UNC TAR HEELS BETTING ANALYSIS

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 26-9
  • ATS: 18-16-1
  • O/U: 21-14

Going back to a win against Virginia Tech on Feb. 19, the Tar Heels are 8-1 SU in their last nine games with a profitable 7-2 record against the spread during that same span. The 93-86 overtime upset against Baylor went well OVER the closing 149-point line and it has now gone OVER in five of their last seven games.

North Carolina finished second in the ACC’s final standings at 15-5 SU. This is part of an overall record of 26-9. The Tar Heels are 18-16-1 ATS this season with a 4-5 record ATS closing as underdogs. They are 3-4 against the closing number in seven previous neutral-site games. The total has gone OVER in 21 of the 35 games played.


In a wild finish against Baylor, North Carolina blew a 25-point lead in the second half with Brady Manek getting ejected and Caleb Love fouling out. The difference was RJ Davis with a career-high 30 points. Armando Bacot was also a major factor in the upset with 15 points and 16 rebounds.

The Tar Heels have averaged 78 points a game this season and given up an average of 72 points on defense. They have shot 45.3% from the field and 36.2% from three-point range while averaging 39.8 rebounds a game.

UCLA BRUINS BETTING ANALYSIS

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 27-7
  • ATS: 18-15-1
  • O/U: 17-16-1

The Bruins’ only SU loss in their last eight games came against Arizona in that 84-76 setback in the Pac-12 Tournament Championship. They are 5-3 ATS during these last eight contests. The total went OVER 126 points in the 72-56 second round victory against Saint Mary’s and it has gone OVER in six of UCLA’s last eight games.

At 15-5 SU in conference play, the Bruins were three games behind Arizona for the Pac-12 regular season title. They are 27-7 SU overall with an 18-15-1 record ATS. Closing as favorites in 30 of their 34 games played, they are 17-12-1 ATS when laying points. UCLA is 3-4 ATS in seven previous games played at a neutral site.

Four of the Bruins’ five starters scored in double figures in the win against Saint Mary’s as part of a well-balanced offensive effort. Guard Johnny Juzang has been the team’s leading scorer this season with 15.7 points per game and guard Jaime Jaquez Jr. is second on that list with 14 points and a team-high 5.7 rebounds.

UCLA is averaging 75.8 points a game and allowing 64.5 points on defense. The team is shooting 45% from the field and 35.1% outside the three-point line. The Bruins matchup well under the boards with an average of 37.1 rebounds a game.

UCLA has won eight straight NCAA Tournament games against a lower seed. (AP)

INSIDE THE STATS - UNC TAR HEELS

  • Record: 26-9
  • PS/G: 78.5 (25th)
  • PA/G: 71.9 (253rd)

INSIDE THE STATS - UCLA BRUINS

  • Record: 27-7
  • PS/G: 75.7 (55th)
  • PA/G: 64.2 (38th)

KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH

  • UNC: Armando Bacot - F (16.4 ppg, 12.5 rpg)
  • UNC: Caleb Love - G (15.3 ppg)
  • UCLA: Johnny Juzang - G (15.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg)
  • UCLA: Tyger Campbell - G (11.8 ppg, 4.2 apg)

UNC TAR HEELS vs. UCLA BRUINS BETTING CONCLUSION

With both teams playing at top form at the right time of the year, this could be the most entertaining matchup on Friday’s four-game schedule in the Sweet 16. While you cannot go wrong with a small play on the OVER at 141.5 points, my best bet is still North Carolina and the 2.5 points.

MARCH MADNESS PICK RESOURCES

UNC TAR HEELS vs. UCLA BRUINS BETTING TRENDS

  • UCLA has won eight straight NCAA Tournament games when facing a lower seed.
  • UCLA has gone into overtime in two of its last three NCAA Tournament games when facing a Top 8 seed at night.
  • UNC has seen 147 or more total points in seven of its last eight NCAA Tournament games.
  • UNC has lost 1H in seven of its last eight games when facing an AP-ranked school at night.
  • UCLA has allowed 70 points or less in nine straight games when facing a non-AP-ranked school.
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