The #7 Blue Devils (16-4) will look to build on the success they had against their in-state rivals last season in the February 3rd Duke at North Carolina matchup. The #3 Tar Heels (17-4) were swept in the series last year by similar scores, 62-57 in Chapel Hill and 63-57 at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
North Carolina had a 10-game win streak snapped this week, falling 74-73 at Georgia Tech on Tuesday as -9 point favorites. The Tar Heels may have been looking ahead to Saturday’s meeting with Duke, and to be fair the Blue Devils also lost at Georgia Tech 72-68 in early December as -12.5 favorites. UNC is a -4.5 favorite in this matchup and a whopping 72% of the public is taking the Tar Heels and the points.
Why Duke Has Value at +4.5
The Blue Devils getting +4.5 points seems somewhat confusing considering North Carolina is coming off a loss while Duke has won 11 of their last 12. When you throw in the fact that Duke swept the season series last year – and has also won the last two in Chapel Hill – it’s hard to see why so much of the betting public is giving the -4.5 points on North Carolina.
Duke has battled injuries this season and has used 5-6 different starting lineups but they’re relatively healthy coming into this game. Mark Mitchell had 20 points and 12 rebounds in his first game back from a sprained knee and Jeremy Roach had 16 points last time out after he had missed some time last month.
Duke and North Carolina do seem very evenly matched in this game right down to the 16-4 and 17-4 records. UNC is #1 in the ACC in scoring – Duke is #2. The ‘Heels are 6th in the conference in scoring defense while the Blue Devils rank 4th. With such similar numbers, do you automatically take the +4.5 points here?
Why North Carolina Has Value at -4.5
Oddsmakers must see something to make the Tar Heels such a lofty favorite here, and they’re banking on Tuesday’s loss to the Yellow Jackets not making much of a dent on bettors’ expectations for UNC. Prior to the loss to Georgia Tech, North Carolina had been dominant with10 straight wins – 8 of them by double digits.
Going back to the Georgia Tech loss, that was the first time in 10 games that the Tar Heels had allowed an opponent to score over 70 points. North Carolina’s defensive efficiency is 4th best in the nation while Duke ranks just 30th in that category.
In addition to their stingy defense, UNC can play some offense as well ranking in the top 20th in efficiency on that end of the court as well. RJ Davis has been great with 21+ points in five of the last six and Armando Bacot is always capable of a big game with 13.4 points and 9.9 rebounds per game.
Free February 3rd Duke at North Carolina Betting Pick
Bacot is a load for UNC but he’s been held to 5, 5, and 9 points over his last three games. The Tar Heels are 9-0 at home this season however which makes this one tough to call. The two teams had very similar scores last year where they combined for roughly 120 points in both meetings. That makes Saturday night’s O/U of 152.5 seem way too high.
Free Pick: Under 152.5