Blue Devils Keep It Close In Season Finale At UNC

Duke Blue Devils players gathered around with coach

Saturday, March 4, 2017 4:35 PM GMT

The rivalry between Duke and North Carolina finds the Tar Heels favored at home on the college basketball odds against the Blue Devils. Is the market right? Find out here.

At this stage of their rivalry, and this point in the 2016-17 college basketball season, one must wonder what else there is to say about the Duke Blue Devils and North Carolina Tar Heels. That notion seems especially appropriate in advance of their Saturday meeting sine North Carolina has already wrapped up the No. 1 seed in the ACC Tournament.

Duke does have something to play for when the teams tip in Chapel Hill a little after 8:15 PM (ET) on ESPN, that being to put itself into the best position possible to earn the No. 2 seed next week in Brooklyn. BetOnline started UNC -6, the spread since jumping up a half, and we're looking at 157 for the scoreboard target.

Despite losing to Virginia earlier this week, the Tar Heels locked up the regular season title. Duke is two games south of the Heels and needs a win to ensure one of the top 4 seeds and accompanying 2-round byes for the conference smackdown.

 

Heels Flat In Loss At Virginia

The 244th meeting between these two would have meant so much more had Duke (23-7 straight up, 11-18 against the spread) lost one fewer ACC game up to now. Playing .500 on the road would've turned that trick, the Blue Devils 3-5 on the ACC highway and covering the spreads in just two of those eight contests. Mike Krzyzewski's crew at least comes into this one on a winning not after holding on for a 75-70 win Tuesday against Florida State, the victory halting a 2-game skid.

North Carolina (25-6 SU, 16-14 ATS) looked very much like a team with nothing to play for Monday in a 53-43 loss at Virginia as 3½ point road chalk on the NCAA basketball odds. It was a throwback defensive effort on both sides along with the refs letting both teams play with the pair combining for just 15 free throw attempts the entire game. Roy Williams is still trying to find some flow and rhythm to his rotation that has been down a man with the season-ending knee injury Kenny Williams suffered in mid-February, but nobody's really been able to pick up the sophomore's presence on the offensive end.

 

Duke Looking For 1st Season Sweep Since 2013

UNC has a sturdy 134-109 advantage in the rivalry, but Duke has had the Tar Heels' number recently with dubyas in seven of the last nine clashes. The Blue Devils used a strong second half to nab an 86-78 victory a little more than three weeks ago in Durham, Coach K's side favored by 2½ at the closing bell with the final pushing a 164 point total. Duke has won the last two played on this floor, rallying late a year ago for a 74-73 triumph as an 8½ point 'dog.

These two have been engaging in close encounters the past couple of years, and I like that continuing with my free college basketball pick on the visitors plus the points.

 Free NCAAB Pick: Duke +6½ Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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