Tar Heels Are Live Dogs Against Duke In Big Rivalry Clash

Willie Bee

Thursday, February 8, 2018 12:49 PM UTC

Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018 12:49 PM UTC

College basketball’s best rivalry is being renewed Thursday night in Chapel Hill, and we have a free college basketball pick for the Duke-UNC battle.

Duke Blue Devils vs North Carolina Tar Heels

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Free NCAAB Pick: North Carolina +2
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

As far as the last 100 meetings go in any sports rivalry on this planet, none have been more hotly and closely played than the 50-50 split between the Duke Blue Devils and North Carolina Tar Heels going into Thursday when the old foes collide for the first of two meetings this season.

Unlike so many of their clashes in the past, first place in the ACC isn’t riding on the outcome of this game is set for an 8 PM (ET) broadcast on ESPN. Duke is third, a full four games behind conference leader Virginia, while North Carolina is tied for fifth, 5½ back of the Cavaliers. BetOnline opened the proceedings as a pick ‘em, the Blue Devils bet up to 2 point favorites overnight. The total is hovering in the 166-166½ range.

Duke Has Covered Last 3 ACC Road Tilts

Duke returns to ACC action tonight after traveling to New York last weekend to face St. John’s, the Red Storm battling back from a 7-point halftime deficit to score an 81-77 upset as 11 point home ‘dogs. That outcome looked like nothing more than a fluke until St. John’s beat top-ranked Villanova last night. The Blue Devils had been a reliable road team up to that point, winning and covering their previous three ACC away games and going 4-2 SU and ATS on the season before falling in the Big Apple.

It has been a trying season for defending national champ North Carolina, Roy Williams’ squad dropping a pair of early conference games and losing three in a row earlier this month, the first skid of that magnitude in four years. The Tar Heels pulled out of the streak last Saturday on this floor, romping past Pitt with a 96-65 blowout as 21 point chalk on the NCAA basketball odds. Assuming this spread holds, it will be the first time since February 2015 that UNC has been an underdog at the Dean Smith Center.

Series Trends, Final Thoughts & A Free Pick

After splitting the regular season matchups last season, each winning at home, Duke won the rubber match in the semis of the ACC Tournament to level the series at 50 wins apiece over the last 100 contests. North Carolina still has the all-time edge at 135-110, with the Blue Devils 45-40 in the rivalry under Mike Krzyzewski. The Tar Heels also have a huge advantage in the series at Chapel Hill at 62-35, the ‘over’ cashing two of the last three collisions on this floor.

The road team has been the way to play this rivalry in the past, home teams covering just 12 of the last 38. I’ll disregard that trend for my free college basketball pick and play the Heels.

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When Coach speaks, you listen 👂 #CarolinaSZN pic.twitter.com/YTDmlkOYGV

— Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) February 7, 2018
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