Facing Off in Lawrence

The Houston Cougars take on the Kansas Jayhawks in Lawrence. The Jayhawks stand undefeated at home having won 15 straight in Allen Fieldhouse. However, Houston navigates its first Big 12 away contests since joining the conference this season.

Kansas excels from three-point range and the free throw stripe at home. They shoot 41% on threes and 78% at the line on their home floor. Meanwhile, Houston connects on just 46% of its two-point shot attempts in Big 12 road games so far. They also shoot a middling 71% at the foul line.

Houston struggled during the opening halves of several recent road games. They fell outright to both TCU and Iowa State on the road among other close calls and narrow escapes. The Jayhawks though just topped Oklahoma State at Allen Fieldhouse last time out. So they stay rested entering this matchup while Houston labored through an overtime clash with Texas.

I took Kansas at plus 2.5 points. They could certainly close as slim favorites which would make snagging the points valuable. Kansas has the offensive efficiency and defensive edges it needs to best Houston at home.

Tobacco Road Rivals Collide in Chapel Hill

The arch rivals Duke Blue Devils and North Carolina Tar Heels meet again in another historic showdown. Both ACC foes ride hot streaks having won 10 of their last 11 contests. But UNC just lost on the road to Georgia Tech in a shocking upset. While Duke has now captured three straight, including an impressive win over Miami.

Duke excels on offense, rating number one in ACC adjusted efficiency. Their defense also ranks top five nationally in adjusted efficiency. Though North Carolina crashes the boards well on both ends and defends better than their rival overall, at least by the metrics.

The Blue Devils have won four consecutive away games by at least eight points each this season. Last year, Duke swept the season series from the Heels too. They have come out on top in several recent head-to-head meetings in Chapel Hill.

I took Duke plus the 4.5 points offered. They certainly could win straight up. But the points provide insurance in what expects to be a tight matchup between determined foes.

Cats and Vols Search Rebound Wins After Upsets

The Kentucky Wildcats return home to Rupp Arena after falling on the road to Florida last time out. Tennessee also is smarting from its own home upset loss against Vanderbilt in confusing fashion.

For Kentucky, health concerns cloud the status of star freshman guard DJ Wagner. He missed the prior loss with an ankle injury after starting most of the year. The Wildcats stand just 2-2 without him this season. His scoring and playmaking prove vital to the team’s success.

At home, Kentucky rarely loses back-to-back games under John Calipari. And they have protected Rupp Arena exceptionally well in SEC contests over the last two seasons. Tennessee does boast the country’s best two-point shooting offense on the road. But Kentucky forces far fewer turnovers on their home floor compared to Tennessee’s stats away. If Wagner plays, I would back the Wildcats’ slight underdog line.

Tennessee has found betting success in North Carolina already with many residents placing bets using North Carolina sports betting apps. The launch of sportsbooks like FanDuel North Carolina and DraftKings North Carolina boosted overall betting interest. Many bettors also used North Carolina sportsbook promos from operators like BetMGM North Carolina. If Tennessee faces Duke or UNC later in March Madness, expect heavy action on Tennessee from North Carolina account holders if they offer compelling underdog odds.

✅ Fact Checked on February 3, 2024 by Ken Weaver