NCAA Basketball Picks Duke vs. North Carolina

Jeff Grant

Thursday, February 20, 2014 2:21 PM GMT

The North Carolina Tar Heels are one of the best perimeter defensive teams in the country, but they may struggle in that department against the Duke Blue Devils Thursday. Let’s take a closer look at the NCAA basketball odds for this ACC matchup at the Smith Center, with the opening tip scheduled for 9:00 p.m. ET on ESPN.

From way downtown

Duke is 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS over its last four games, as it comes off a 68-51 victory over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets as 11-point road favorites Tuesday—improving to 20-2 SU on the season when taking on an unranked opponent.

The Blue Devils are shooting 41.6 percent from beyond the arc this season, which would rank as the third-highest clip in school history.

Over the last two-plus seasons, the program is 1-2 SUATS as road favorites of three or fewer points.

Streaking

North Carolina has won and covered the number in its last seven contests, including a 81-75 victory over the Florida State Seminoles as 1.5-point road favorites Monday, while going OVER the betting total for a second consecutive affair.

The Tar Heels are certainly capable of springing the upset when looking over the SBR Odds page, considering they lead the ACC in allowing opponent to shoot just 30.7 percent from the three-point area during league play.

Parker

Jabari Parker is currently averaging team highs of 19.2 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, as he attempts to become the first Duke freshman to lead the squad in both of those categories.

Parker logged his ACC-leading ninth double-double with 16 points and 14 boards versus the Yellow Jackets last time out.

Series history

The Tar Heels own a 132-104 SU advantage against the Blue Devils, including a 15-13 mark when playing at this venue.

It’s important to point out that North Carolina has dropped the last seven meetings when playing the first game of the regular season series in Chapel Hill.

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Blue Devils as one of their NCAA basketball picks, as the road team has covered the number in 22 of the last 30 installments of this rivalry.

Pick: Duke Blue Devils -1.5

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