Odds and Ends: Why is Clemson a Significant Underdog at UNC?

The Clemson Tigers men’s basketball team takes on the North Carolina Tar Heels today at 2 p.m. with one of the more suspicious point spreads on the deep Saturday slate. 

In the sports betting market, the Tar Heels are a 7-point favorite over the Tigers inside the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. 

But why?

UNC is just 7-16-1 against the spread this season. The Heels (15-9 overall, 7-6 ACC) have only covered the spread three times since the New Year. Two of those have been at home. 

They are also coming off of a bad performance. UNC lost 92-85 at Wake Forest on Tuesday, but the Heels trailed by 22 at halftime and lost as a favorite. 

Rumors swirled all week about potential locker room issues.

However, it’s not like Clemson (18-6, 10-3) is a well-oiled machine right now. Brad Brownell’s squad is coming off back-to-back losses for the first time in ACC play.

They’re no longer looking down at everybody else in the league standings. There’s a logjam at the top now with Virginia, Pittsburgh and Miami joining the Tigers with 10 ACC wins. 

Clemson hopes the week off will heal bumps and bruises, help them get their legs back and assimilate a few players who have been out with injuries but recently returned to the lineups.

It’s an odd line from oddsmakers. Why would anybody back the Tar Heels to cover that many points? They haven’t covered the spread against the Tigers since UNC was a 7.5-point favorite in 2018.

Here are a few other betting and game notes:

— Clemson won the last meeting in Chapel Hill 79-76 in overtime back in 2020 to end an incredible 59-game losing streak at UNC. 

— The Tigers are 12-12 ATS this season and they haven’t covered the last three games. 

— Four of the previous five meetings between Clemson and North Carolina have been decided by three points or less. 

— UNC is an atrocious 3-point shooting team, ranking 329th nationally in percentage. 

— The Tar Heels still rank inside the top 50 in scoring while the Tigers have fallen outside the top 100 in scoring defense. 

— Hunter Tyson is having a monster season, averaging 16.1 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. 

— This could be a battle for ACC Player of the Year as UNC’s Armando Bacot averages a double-double with 17.5 points and 11.3 rebounds per game.

— Only Bacot has more double-doubles in the ACC than Tyson (13).

— Clemson will have guards Brevin Galloway, Chase Hunter and Alex Hemenway all healthy and available for just the second time since Dec. 17.

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