North Carolina is one of the nation’s hotbeds for college basketball and basketball fandom, going back decades. With that, North Carolina-based teams are some of the most bet-on teams in college sports. When you think of North Carolina college basketball teams, your brain goes to the ACC schools.
Everyone knows about the storied traditions at Duke and North Carolina, whose Final Four odds tanked after a slow start this season. Other in-state ACC teams NC State, and Wake Forest have strong traditions as well. Yet, of those four teams, not a single one has a better than .500 record against the spread this season. For sports bettors wagering on North Carolina teams, four lesser-known North Carolina colleges have been gems against the spread all season.
North Carolina Colleges Against the Spread this Season
With 19 colleges in North Carolina playing Division I basketball, we have ranked how each has done against the spread this season.
North Carolina D1 Teams Record Against the Spread % of Games Covered
North Carolina Central 8-1-1 88.9%
UNC Wilmington 10-3 76.9%
Queens 9-3 75%
Charlotte 10-4 71.4%
East Carolina 10-5 66.7%
Gardner Webb 7-5 58.3%
North Carolina A&T 7-5 58.3%
Duke 7-7 50%
Wake Forest 7-7 50%
High Point 6-6 50%
Appalachian State 6-6 50%
Davidson 6-7 46.2%
North Carolina State 6-7-2 46.2%
UNC Asheville 6-7 46.2%
Western Carolina 5-7 41.7%
Elon 5-8 38.5%
UNC Greensboro 5-8 38.5%
Campbell 4-8 33.3%
North Carolina 4-9-1 30.8%
As you can see, there are four college teams in North Carolina with 70% or higher cover rates against the spread. For reference, 30 teams in all of America have a coverage percentage above 70%. With 363 Division I men’s basketball teams, being in the top 30 puts a team in the top 8%.
The four North Carolina colleges doing this are North Carolina Central, UNC-Wilmington, Queens, and Charlotte. There are a lot of factors that contribute to why each of these teams is covering at such a high rate. First, each team is better than odds makers thought going into the college basketball season.
Another significant factor is that North Carolina has a ton of basketball talent at the high school level. Each of these four teams has rosters with a lot of players from North Carolina. The state of North Carolina is 10th in the country for players born in the state making it to the NBA all time.
Let’s take a brief look at each of the four teams:
What’s taking so long?: NC may soon be surrounded by sports betting states
North Carolina Central Eagles (8-1-1 ATS)
The Eagles are 7-7 overall on the year but are covering at an 88.9% rate going 8-1-1 against the spread. That cover rate ranks second in the nation behind Florida Atlantic. Their ATS record does not have as many games as their overall record because games against non-Division I teams often are not lined games. The Eagles, who are located in Durham, have only been favored in one game. NC Central did cover in that lone game but have been outright winners in two games as underdogs.
Next game: NC Central at Morgan State — Saturday, Jan. 7 (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference opener)
The money is there: What kind of sports betting revenue is North Carolina missing out on?
UNC Wilmington Seahawks (10-3 ATS)
The Seahawks are 12-3 on the season and are covering 76.9% of their games, going 10-3 against the spread. UNC-Wilmington has not lost a single game outright as the favorite. The Seahawks may also be the best moneyline bet in all of college basketball. UNC-Wilmington has won outright four times in seven chances as the underdog, including two games in which the Seahawks’ opposition was favored by more than five points.
Next game: UNC-Wilmington at Elon — Wednesday, Jan. 4 (UNCW favored by 9.5 points at DraftKings Sportsbook)
Where can you bet?: Gambling options in and near North Carolina
Queens Royals (9-3 ATS)
The Charlotte-based Royals are 11-4 on the season and cover 75% of their games, going 9-3 against the spread. Queens is solid all around, whether playing as the favorite or underdog. The Royals have won all four games when favored and covered three of those four. Queens is a strong bet as a moneyline underdog. Going 4-4 on the year as a dog translates to positive betting if one was to have bet on all eight Queens moneylines.
Queens is likely doing well because the market has not yet caught up to it. This is the Royals’ first season in Division I after a strong run in Division II. They made the Division II NCAA Tournament in each of their last seven seasons at that level. The highlights include a Final Four appearance in 2018, and a 31-win performance last season that didn’t end until the regional championship game.
Next game: Queens at Bellarmine — Thursday, Jan. 5 (Bellarmine is the reigning Atlantic Sun Tournament champion)
New game in town: Behind the scenes at North Carolina’s latest retail sportsbook
Charlotte 49ers (10-4 ATS)
The last of the betting gems in North Carolina, the 49ers are 10-4 overall on the season. Charlotte is covering 75% of their games, going 10-4 against the spread, as every game the 49ers have played in has had betting odds. The 49ers have been favored in 11 of their 14 games and impressively have won and covered nine of those matchups. As each other team mentioned, the 49ers are also a strong moneyline underdog bet. Only three times have the 49ers’ opposition been favored, but Charlotte has won outright in two of those games.
Next game: Charlotte at Florida International — Thursday, Jan. 5 (FIU has the nation’s 10th-worst cover rate at 27.3%)
AP Photo/John S. Peterson