The biggest rivalry in college basketball will finally be witnessed in March Madness.
For the first time in tournament history, Duke will face off with North Carolina. The fact that their only meeting in March will come in the Final Four makes this a potential classic.
The Blue Devils have been impressive throughout this run. Led by freshman forward and NBA prospect Paolo Banchero, they’ve gone through tough opponents like Texas Tech and Arkansas to get to this point.
The Tar Heels have looked like anything but an eight-seed, knocking off Baylor and UCLA before putting an end to Saint Peter’s historic Cinderella run.
This has the makings of a heavyweight title fight, but where should you place your wagers?
Duke vs UNC Odds
Duke vs North Carolina March Madness odds are provided by Caesars and are current as of March 28 at 10:30 a.m. ET.
- Moneyline: Duke (-200), North Carolina (+170)
- Spread:Duke -4.5 (-110), North Carolina +4.5 (-110)
- Over/Under: Over 151 (-110) / Under 151 (-110)
- Implied Score: Duke 77.75, North Carolina 73.25
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Duke vs UNC Prediction
Back in early February, Duke beat North Carolina 87-67 at Chapel Hill. The last time these two teams met was on March 5, when the Tar Heels spoiled Coach K’s last home game with a 94-81 win.
You can bet that the Blue Devils will be looking to avenge that loss.
Duke now ranks first in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency in the updated KenPom rankings.
- Get the lowdown on the other Final Four game in our Kansas vs Villanova prediction.
The Tar Heels are formidable offensively as well, coming in at 18th after pouring on points throughout this tournament, particularly in their wins against Marquette and Baylor.
Blue Devils’ star Paolo Banchero has been one of the stars of this tournament, averaging 18.5 points per game. The Tar Heels will need to slow him down if they’re going to pull off the upset.
North Carolina has a couple of stars of their own in Brady Manek and Caleb Love. The former carried them against Baylor, while the latter caught fire in their win against UCLA.
But who has the edge in this matchup?
I’d have to give that to the Blue Devils in this spot. Duke tied for third with a 49.4% field-goal percentage this season. They do a great job of moving the ball, dishing out16.6 assists per game (10th).
Duke also protects the basketball, limiting turnovers to only 10.4 per game (T-26th).
North Carolina really crashes the glass, ranking sixth with 37.6 rebounds per game. Center Armando Bacot is a beast on the boards, putting up 22 rebounds in their blowout win against Saint Peter’s.
They’ll need to grab a few offensive rebounds and prevent second-chance opportunities on the defensive glass to pull off the upset in this spot.
Duke vs UNC Score Pick
Duke 75, North Carolina 70
Coming into the tournament, many observers believed that Duke was one of the more vulnerable higher seeds, picking them for an early-round exit. That hasn’t happened.
You have to be impressed with Duke’s weekend wins over Texas Tech and Arkansas. The Red Raiders had one of the best defenses in the country, while the Razorbacks just knocked off tourney-favorite Gonzaga.
While I think that North Carolina will be able to keep the game close, I’m betting that their improbable run to the Final Four ends here.
No. 8 seeds are highly unlikely to get to the National Championship, even when they’re this deep into the tournament. Chalk usually prevails in March Madness.
Duke vs UNC Best Bets
UNDER 151 Total Points (-110) at Caesars
WAGER: 1 Unit
I like Duke to win the game, but I’m not willing to lay 4.5 points and the -200 moneyline odds are too high for a straight bet. That leads me to look towards the Under in this spot.
Duke tied for 180th in pace this season, which could slow down North Carolina (T-75th). If this game comes down to the wire, we could see both teams slow it down, limiting possessions. That bodes well for the Under.
151 points is just too high a bar, especially in a game that projects to be close. Take the Under in today’s CBB bet of the day.