March Madness Betting: Wisconsin vs. North Carolina Sweet Sixteen

frank-kaminsky-wisconsinWisconsin and North Carolina meet in the Sweet Sixteen this year in what’s a marquee game from a March Madness betting perspective. The Tar Heels have been a very attractive wager in nine Sweet Sixteen trips since 1996 – going 9-0 straight-up and 6-3 ATS in these appearances. But will they be able to keep up this impressive record against the mighty No. 1 seed Badgers?

It’s tough to say, but the No. 4 seed Tar Heels do have a realistic opportunity to cover the spread at Here’s a look at our line heading into the game on March 26th (Thursday) at 5:45pm ET:

No. 4 North Carolina (-110)
No. 1 Wisconsin -6.5 (-110)

Aside from the outstanding Sweet Sixteen betting performances in recent times by North Carolina, they are also 7-2 SU and 6-3 ATS in their last nine games this year. One of their ATS losses came via a 67-65 first-round victory over No. 13 seed Harvard, while North Carolina’s second-round matchup was much easier as they earned an 87-78 win over Arkansas.

However, there are also a couple of factors working against the Tar Heels, with the first being that starting power forward Kennedy Meeks isn’t expected to play against Wisconsin. He sprained his knee against Arkansas and will likely leave North Carolina with 11.6 PPG and 7.4 RPG worth of production that needs filling. Another reason to worry about North Carolina in this contest is that they are 0-5 SU and ATS when being an NCAA Tournament underdog since 2000.

kennedy-meeks-ncAs for Wisconsin, they haven’t fared well ATS during 2015 March Madness. The Badgers beat Coastal Carolina 86-72 after being favored by 20 points, and they made it past Oregon 72-65 despite being a 12.5-point favorite. In their last 19 contests, Wisconsin is 18-1 SU and just 8-10-1 ATS.

Obviously this is a pretty grim proposition to Wisconsin betting enthusiasts like Phil Hellmuth. However, it is worth mentioning that the Badgers are 2-0 ATS in their last two games against the Tar Heels and 5-2 ATS in their last seven Sweet Sixteen games.

Another advantage for Wisconsin regarding their ability to beat the spread is that, assuming Meeks can’t play, Badgers star Frank Kaminsky will be matched up against backup PF Isaiah Hicks (6.6 PPG, 2.9 RPG). The latter is serviceable, having started three games, but this is also Kaminsky (18.4 PPG, 8.1 RPG) that we’re talking about – one of the best college players in the nation.

From an overall standpoint, No. 1 seeds are 22-8 SU over the last 30 contests against No. 4 seeds. However, it should be added that they’ve only gone 3-2 SU in the last five games against the fourth seed.

There are certainly a lot of factors at play here on both sides. Wisconsin figures to get by North Carolina and on to their second-straight Elite Eight. However, the Tar Heels are a quality team that’s definitely capable of beating the favored Badgers.