Tonight’s matchup between Michigan State and North Carolina not only pits two of the nation’s most successful programs against each other, but also marks the first time a college basketball game is being played on an aircraft carrier. The Carrier Classic will be held this evening at 7PM Eastern Time aboard the USS Carl Vinson — the same carrier that buried Osama Bid Laden at sea just over six months ago.
This unique spectacle will be played in front of 7,000 fans including active service members and even President Obama. Perhaps that makes it less-than-surprising that this game is the most heavily bet of tonight’s basketball games. With over 3,000 bets, North Carolina is receiving 59% of spread bets as the betting line at Cris has shifted from -9.5 to -11 in favor of the Tar Heels. Oddly enough, the total has actually dropped from 137 to 135 despite a lop-sided betting percentage with 61% of the public taking the over and reports that it will not rain this evening.
A re-match of the 2009 championship, it is easy to see why the public seems willing to bet on North Carolina. The Tar Heels feature as many as five future first round draft picks with ACC pre-season player of the year Harrison Barnes in addition to John Henson, Tyler Zeller, Kendall Marshall and even freshman James McAdoo.
For the Spartans, their talent may be underwhelming but never discount a Tom Izzo led team. Brandon Wood, a post-grad transfer from Valparaiso, will make his debut for the Spartans after averaging 17 points per game for the Crusaders last season. Michigan State will also enjoy the debut of Branden Dawson, a 6’6″ freshman forward and McDonald’s All-American. Unfortunately, MSU will be playing without forward Delvon Roe who is out for the season with a knee injury.
Although this game is listed at UNC -11 at nearly every available book, those looking to bet on the Tar Heels can find lines of 10.5 at Wynn, Palms, Caesars and Olympic. A line move of 0.5 to 1.0 points can impact your expected winning percentage by 2%-5% so make sure you are gaining the best value by always shopping for the best line.
The following table shows the breakdown of moneyline betting percentages from our six contributing sportsbooks: