Duke needed a crazy comeback at Cameron to clip Carolina three weeks ago. Can the Dukies pull off the season sweep of the Tar Heels Saturday night at the Dean Dome? And how do we handicap this event against the spread?
Dukies-Heels Betting Odds
The NCAA Basketball odds opened their betting on this game with Carolina favored by a point and a half, the total offered at 157. In the early betting the spread was holding steady, but the total dropped to 155.
Also, as of Saturday morning Bovada was listing Duke at 17/2 to win the national championship, with Carolina getting 33/1.
Dukies-Heels: Let's Get it On
Duke has won 10 games in a row, after disposing of Wake Forest Wednesday night 94-51. The Blue Devils led 12-0 out of the gate, 52-15 at the half and cruised from there, easily covering as 17-point favorites. Duke shot 58 percent from the field Wednesday, and made 13 of 25 three-point attempts.
Last Saturday the Blue Devils beat Syracuse 73-54, covering at -12.
At 27-3 overall, 14-3 in conference play Duke can clinch the two seed for next week's ACC tournament, and would be a No. 1 seed for the the NCAA tournament if the bracket were created today.
North Carolina had lost five of seven, but has won two in a row, after bombing Georgia Tech Tuesday 81-49. The Heels led by 18 at the half and pushed it from there, easily covering the spread as six-point favorites. For the night Carolina shot 53 percent from the floor, while holding the Yellowjackets to just 33 percent shooting.
Last Saturday the Heels won at Miami 73-64, covering at -1.
At 21-9 overall, 11-6 in ACC play Carolina is tied with Louisville for the four spot in the ACC. A top-four finish would come in handy, as the top four spots earn “double-byes” for the conference tournament.
Dukies-Heels Recent Rivalry
Duke beat Carolina in a barn-burner in Durham three weeks ago, rallying to force OT, prevailing in the extra period 92-90. The Dukies led by seven at the half, trailed by seven with less than two minutes to go, but got a little lucky as Carolina turned the ball over and missed a couple of key free-throws, allowing Duke to tie the game, and eventually win.
On the night the Blue Devils shot 51 percent from the floor and made 10 of 16 shots from 3-point range. But Duke never came close to covering the spread as an eight-point home favorite.
Also, that game played OVER its total of 154 without any help from overtime.
The Blue Devils have won six of the last eight meetings, although they're only 4-4 ATS over that span.
Dukies-Heels Key Stats
Duke is shooting 50 percent from the floor this season, which ranks third-best in the nation, 39 percent from 3-point range, which is pretty good, and 69 percent from the free-throw line. The Blue Devils are also holding foes to just under 43 percent FG shooting.
Carolina is shooting 47 percent from the floor, only 33 percent from long range and 69 percent from the stripe, while holding foes to 39 percent FG shooting.
Dukies-Heels Betting Trends
Duke is trending OVER this season by a 17-11 margin, as Dukies games have averaged 146 points.
Carolina is 16-11 on the totals, as Heels games have also averaged 146 points.
Duke is 8-8-1 ATS in ACC play, only 3-5 ATS in conference road games.
The visiting team is 12-4 ATS over the last 16 meetings in this rivalry.
Dukies-Heels Free Pick
Carolina should have won the first meeting, up nine with three minutes to go, but pissed it away. The Heels might not get that chance tonight. We watched Carolina blow a lead against Louisville, too, about five weeks ago, and UNC also stunk up games against Pitt and NC State. Duke, meanwhile, just keeps Dukin' along. We like the Blue Devils for tonight with our NCAA basketball picks, to win this game outright.
Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Duke +107 on the moneyline at 5Dimes