UCLA (4) has defeated Akron and Saint Mary’s in the first two rounds, led by a stifling defense that has held both opponents under 57 points. Junior guard Jaime Jaquez Jr. suffered an ankle injury in the win over Saint Mary’s, however, putting his status in question for the Sweet 16 matchup against North Carolina (8).
The Tar Heels are coming off an upset victory over the number-one seed Baylor Bears. North Carolina blew a 25-point lead but ultimately was able to hang on in overtime.
We’ve got an intriguing matchup between two storied programs here. This game has the makings of a classic with last year’s Final Four finalist UCLA taking on one of the hottest teams in college basketball.
UCLA vs North Carolina Odds
UCLA vs North Carolina March Madness odds are provided by Caesars and are current as of Monday, March 21, at 12 p.m. ET.
- Moneyline: UCLA (-135) vs North Carolina (+115)
- Spread: UCLA -2 (-110) vs North Carolina +2 (-110)
- Over/Under: Over 142 (-110) / Under 142 (-110)
- Implied Score: UCLA 72, North Carolina 70
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UCLA vs North Carolina Prediction
UCLA is one of the most balanced teams in the tournament, currently ranked 12th on offense and 13th on defense per Pomeroy’s rankings. Their defense limited Saint Mary’s and Akron to 40% from the field. The Bruins forced a combined 18 turnovers in those two wins.
North Carolina is firing on all cylinders on offense, putting up a combined 188 points in their two wins.
Even though the second game went to overtime, they still had 80 points after regulation. The Tar Heels have been prolific from long-range, knocking down 24 threes in this tournament.
This is projected to be a close game, which is reflected in the point spread. While I love the balance of the Bruins, especially with how their defense is playing right now, I’m riding with the team that is playing their best basketball right now.
If Manek had not fouled out, North Carolina would have likely blown out Baylor. Look out for the Tar Heels.
UCLA vs North Carolina Score Pick
UNC 77, UCLA 72
North Carolina has won four of their last five games, each by double-digits against tough opponents like Baylor, Marquette, and Duke.
UCLA took care of business against Saint Mary’s, but they’re playing a Tar Heels team that no one wants to face right now.
UCLA vs North Carolina Best Bets
Over 142 Total Points (-110) at Caesars
Wager: 1 Unit
I know that UCLA is playing great defense, but North Carolina’s offense just torched Baylor, which was the 12th-ranked defense in the country, per KenPom.
UNC is tied for 69th in pace, while UCLA is tied for 271st. This means that the Tar Heels’ up-tempo style could force the Bruins into a similar approach. We call this a pace-up spot.
That bodes well for the Over as our CBB bet of the day.
North Carolina +2 (-110) at Caesars
Wager: 1 Unit
This line is short for good reason, as the Tar Heels have a great chance to win outright and continue their Cinderella run through the tournament.
It’s interesting to think about what this spread would look like had UNC hadn’t almost blown the game against Baylor.
- Want to place a parlay for this March Madness game? Click to read our UCLA vs UNC Same-Game Parlay.
If Manek doesn’t foul out and the Tar Heels win by 15-plus, they would likely be favored in this matchup.
Ride with North Carolina in this spot.