NCAA Basketball Picks: North Carolina vs. Duke

Jeff Grant

Wednesday, February 13, 2013 1:50 PM GMT

The home team hasn’t had much straight-up success in the series between the Duke Blue Devils and North Carolina Tar Heels over the last seven years, which is important to consider when making your NCAA basketball picks.


Let’s take a closer look at the college basketball odds for this Atlantic Coast Conference matchup at Cameron Indoor Stadium that will tipoff at 9:00 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Embarrassed

North Carolina had its three-game win streak snapped in a 87-61 blowout loss to the Miami Hurricanes as 7.5-point road underdogs last Saturday, while going OVER the total for the first time in five contests. The Tar Heels were held to just 18 points in the paint—their lowest such total against a ACC conference opponent in two seasons.

The program certainly knows how to bounce back from such a loss, as it has compiled a 5-0 straight up and against-the-spread (ATS) record off a road loss by 10 points or more the last two-plus seasons.

Caught looking ahead

Duke has put together a nice five-game win streak, but it was clearly looking ahead in its last affair, as it escaped with a 62-61 victory over the Boston College Eagles as 11-point road favorites Sunday. Guard Seth Curry and forward Mason Plumlee both played a team-high 38 minutes in the game.

The Blue Devils starting unit combines to score 68.0 points per game, which accounts for 86.9 percent of the team’s scoring.

Home team blues

College basketball handicappers need to take into account that the home team is 5-9 in this rivalry since the 2006-07 season when looking over the betting lines, with the road team covering the number in nine of the last 11 meetings.

The Tar Heels are 6-1 ATS in their last seven trips to this venue, including an 88-70 triumph as two-point favorites a year ago.

Falling behind

The first four minutes of this game may decide the outcome, considering the Tar Heels have been outscored by a combined 81-44 margin at the first media timeout in their eight road games this year, while the Blue Devils are 12-0 at home for the fifth time in six seasons. 

Duke has outscored its foes by 10.2 points on average in the first twenty minutes at home, while North Carolina has trailed by 4.8 at the break. 

[gameodds]14/220558/43/us[/gameodds]

Prediction 

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Tar Heels as one of their sports picks Wednesday night, as the Blue Devils are 1-9 ATS in their last 10 games when playing with a betting total between 150 and 154.5. It’s a valid number, with two of the higher scoring teams in the conference facing off.

NCAA Basketball Pick: North Carolina Tar Heels +11 at Bookmaker