Duke at North Carolina Spread, Betting Pick & TV Info

Posted by Michael Hunt on Friday,March 3, 2017 10:50, EST in

The best rivalry in college basketball returns on Saturday as No. 17 Duke and No. 5 North Carolina close the season against one another as they always do. It’s quite possible the schools meet again in next week’s ACC Tournament. The Heels will win the regular-season ACC title with a victory here and they will be home favorites in NCAAB lines.

Duke at North Carolina Spread, Betting Pick & TV Info

When: Saturday, March 4, 8:15 PM ET
Where: Dean E. Smith Center, Chapel Hill
TV: ESPN
Stream: WatchESPN
RadioDuke / North Carolina
Opening NCAAB Lines: UNC favored by TBA

Why Bet On Duke?

The Blue Devils (23-7, 11-6) are tied for third in the ACC with Louisville and Florida State. Thus a Duke win assures it a top-four seed in the ACC Tournament and a double-bye. It’s still possible with a loss depending on what other teams do.

Duke beat No. 15 Florida State 75-70 on Tuesday. Duke now has more wins over Top 50 RPI teams — 10 — than anyone else. Freshman guard Frank Jackson had a career-high 22 points vs. FSU. Amile Jefferson, playing in his final game at Cameron Indoor Stadium, added 14 points and 11 rebounds while Luke Kennard finished with 17 points for the Blue Devils. Jayson Tatum added 15 points for Duke, which avenged a 16-point loss last month in Tallahassee, held Florida State 14 points below its scoring average and snapped a two-game losing streak that cost the Blue Devils a top-10 ranking.

The Blue Devils used the starting lineup of Jackson, Kennard, Matt Jones, Tatum and Jefferson for the second time this season. The unit earned its first win of the year after falling 89-75 at Virginia Tech on December 31. Jefferson joined teammates Grayson Allen and Kennard in 1,000-point club. It is the 14th time Duke has had three active 1,000-point scorers and the first time since 2010.

Kennard is shooting .453 percent from three-point range this season, which would be the fourth-best single-season mark in Duke history. Kennard was named one of 10 semifinalists for the Naismith Men’s College Player of the Year Trophy on Wednesday. He has scored in double figures in 29 of Duke’s 30 games this season, eclipsing the 20-point mark a team-high 15 times. Kennard leads the ACC in three-point field goal percentage (.454) and ranks second in scoring while averaging the third-most minutes per game (35.5) in the ACC. He is the only ACC guard shooting above .500 from the floor this season. He has scored at least 20 points in exactly one-third (22-of- 66) of his games in a Duke uniform.

Why Bet On North Carolina?

The Heels (25-6, 13-4) lead second-place Notre Dame by a game so a win gives UNC the outright ACC title. Notre Dame probably loses Saturday regardless at Louisville. Carolina has clinched at least a share of its 31st ACC regular-season championship, the most in history – Duke is second with 19. The Tar Heels have previously won 20 titles outright and shared 10. Roy Williams has led UNC to an ACC regular- season championship for the eighth time in 14 seasons.

Carolina does come off its worst game of the year, a 53-43 loss Monday at Virginia. Joel Berry II scored 12 points to lead the Tar Heels, who snapped a four-game winning streak. ACC Player of the Year contender Justin Jackson, who arrived averaging 19.9 points in league play, was guarded most of the night by London Perrantes and scored just seven points and missed seven of his 10 shots. North Carolina, averaging 86.2 points, scored just four points in the game’s last 9:26.

Carolina’s 43 points are the fewest in Williams’ 14 years and the fewest since the 47-40 loss at Duke on 2/24/79. They were also the fewest by the Tar Heels vs Virginia since a 42-35 UNC win in 1945. UNC’s 48 field goal attempts were nine fewer than its previous low this year (vs Wisconsin). Carolina’s seven free throw attempts also tied its season low.

Carolina has nine wins over teams in the NCAA’s top 50 (RPI), tied for the second most in the country. UNC’s top-50 wins have come against Oklahoma State, Wisconsin, Monmouth, Wake Forest, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, Virginia and Louisville.

UNC looks for payback here after losing at Duke 86-78 on Feb. 9. Grayson Allen had 25 points and Kennard 20. Jackson scored 21 points and Berry II finished with 15 for the Tar Heels, who were only 10-for-18 from the free-throw line. There were 17 lead changes, nine ties and neither team leading by more than eight points.

Duke at North Carolina Betting Pick: North Carolina Tar Heels

Carolina covers and gets its outright ACC title.