Tobacco Road is going to be lit on Thursday as the #8 Duke Blue Devils travel 10 miles to face the #22 North Carolina Tar Heels. You might think that UNC has the natural edge being at home as -1 favorites, but this is one rivalry where the visitors turn it up a notch in front of a hostile crowd. In fact, the home team is just 12-25-1 ATS in the last 38 meetings between these two teams. Bettors seem well aware of this stat for the 2/8 college basketball free pick as 77% of the public is favoring Duke, the 7th most popular wager of tonight’s slate.
Joel Berry lighting up rivalry week: “I love being a part of the Duke-Carolina rivalry. N.C. State, I just don’t consider that as being a rivalry. We just don’t like them. It’s not a rivalry like Duke and North Carolina.” Story: https://t.co/ttv4A9MWvc #UNC pic.twitter.com/tVknOY09xJ
— InsideCarolina (@InsideCarolina) February 6, 2018
Duke’s Frontcourt Their Biggest Advantage
UNC starts a small lineup and one that is offensive minded. This means that Duke has a huge advantage in the 2/8 college basketball free pick when the Blue Devils’ 6’11” Marvin Bagley III and 6’10” Wendell Carter, Jr. match up against the Heels 6’8″ Luke Maye and 6’6″ Theo Pinson. That duo for Duke combined for 33 points and 22 rebounds and got 22 points from Gary Trent, Jr in their last contest. That game proved that the Blue Devils defensive inefficiencies are their biggest weaknesses as they lost 77-91 to St. John’s.
Duke has the #1 scoring offense in the country and will be up against a North Carolina defense that is in the bottom of the nation in three point shooting percentage by opponents. Since UNC will have to double down on the inside, Duke can get an easy win – IF Trent and Grayson Allen are hitting from the outside. Duke has a very talented roster, per usual, but they have still lost three of their last nine games.
North Carolina Will Need to Rely on Their Guard Play
Maye is coming off of a 26 point performance to help North Carolina snap a three game losing streak in a win over Pittsburgh the last time out. The big man will have to be huge again in the 2/8 college basketball free pick but it could be G Joel Berry II that has to shoulder the load against his rivals. Allen and Trevon Duval are defensive liabilities as St. Johns G Shamorie Ponds proved with 33 points Saturday. Unfortunately Berry has struggled at home this season, failing to score over 17 points in his last five games at the Dean Dome including disappearing with just 6 in 41 minutes in a loss to NC State.
If Berry can get going, the Tar Heels can offset the mismatch on the interior with their strong perimeter play. 6’8″ guard Cameron Johnson can present matchup problems for Duke and he’s coming off a 32 point performance two games ago against Clemson. The UNC offense is 30th in the country in scoring and has went for 90+ in two of the last three.
2/8 College Basketball Free Pick Betting
Duke and North Carolina are 50 and 50 in there last 100 games 😱 #DukeVsUNC
— Biguccigreg (@biguccigreg) February 8, 2018
Duke has won 13 of the last 20 games in this matchup which includes six straight when they’ve won the rebounding margin. The Blue Devils pure size advantage up front should give them the edge on the boards in this contest yet again. Duke is 4-0 ATS their last four after a SU loss and are 10-3-1 ATS their last 14 road games. The Blue Devils are 3-0-1 ATS the last four in Chapel Hill – and they’re just too talented of a team for North Carolina to contend with tonight.
Free Pick: Duke Blue Devils +1