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Cole Anthony Looks to Lead UNC to Upset Win at Florida State as 9.5-Point Underdogs

Cole Anthony
Cole Anthony looks to get UNC's season back on track against Florida State. Photo from @wnfz (Twitter)
  • No. 5 Florida State hasn’t lost at home since Jan. 12, 2019
  • Unranked UNC, which started the year in the top ten, has lost six of its past eight games
  • The Tar Heels beat the Seminoles, 77-59, in Chapel Hill last season

Cole Anthony is back, but the winning ways have yet to return for unranked North Carolina (10-11, 2-4 away). On Monday, the Tar Heels go on the road to face No. 5 Florida State (18-3, 10-0 home) at 7 p.m. at the Donald L. Tucker Center — looking for a signature win with their top freshman in tow.

The Seminoles remain on the outside looking in for the 2020 NCAA Tournament odds, while the Tar Heels are simply trying to get back to playing .500 basketball.

Here’s a look at the North Carolina vs. Florida State odds for Monday’s matchup:

North Carolina vs. Florida State Odds

Team Moneyline Spread Over/Under
UNC +405 +9.5 (-110) Over 143 (-110)
Florida State -510 -9.5 (-110) Under 143 (-110)

Odds taken Feb. 3rd

How much of a difference maker can Anthony be? Having only lost three games — all to quality opponents — is there a risk that Florida State could slip up? Analysis and advice can be found below.

The Anthony Effect

Cole Anthony deserves the hype and attention he has received. Anthony, the No. 4 recruit from 2019, as rated by 247 Sports, has posted 19.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game in 10 games with UNC.

He missed 11 games with a knee injury before returning Saturday in a stunning 71-70 home loss to Boston College (a game in which UNC were 12.5-point favorites).

It’s difficult to blame Anthony for the loss, though, as he posted a game-high 26 points — including a perfect 14-for-14 from the free throw line.

Still, his injection into the lineup was supposed to lead to better results for a Tar Heels team that was a top-10 team in the preseason. Perhaps some recalibration is required for the team, adjusting to the return of its young star.

Home Cooking

Since Valentine’s Day in 2018, Florida State is an astounding 28-1 at home. That includes a perfect 10-0 mark this year, with seven of those wins coming by 12 or more points.

The Seminoles have had two of their tightest home matchups lately, though, with a four-point win over Virginia on Jan. 15 and a one-point win over Notre Dame on Jan. 25. Florida State did not cover in either game.

Still, it’s worth noting that the Seminoles’ capacity crowd, mixed with its strong defense (No. 23 in defensive efficiency, according to KenPom), can be a lethal mixture for opponents.

ATS Analysis

UNC is just 7-14 against the spread this season, but they’ve won three of their past four ATS. The Tar Heels have only been a 9-point underdog or greater once this season, when they narrowly covered a 14-point spread in a loss to Gonzaga.

Florida State is 10-11 ATS this year, which includes four ATS losses in their past six games.

The Seminoles are accustomed to being sizeable favorites, but they are only 4-6 ATS when playing as a 9-point favorite or greater. They haven’t lost any of those games straight-up, for what it’s worth.

Decision Time

Florida State’s recent ATS woes are concerning, and UNC only figures to keep improving with Anthony getting back into a groove. This Tar Heels team was in the preseason top-10 for a reason.

With Anthony, the Tar Heels started the season 5-0. Then they faltered a bit, which led to a 4-7 record in his absence. Now he’s back and there’s reason to believe he can help UNC make a late-season push.

Though UNC doesn’t have a great chance to win this game outright, they should be able to keep it close enough to at least cover.

Pick: UNC, +9.5 (-110)

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