You could make an argument for Michigan-Ohio State or Alabama-Auburn or Army-Navy or a few other matchups to be the best rivalry in college football. But there’s no doubt the best rivalry in NCAA basketball: Duke-North Carolina. They meet for the first time this season on Thursday night with the No. 9 Blue Devils as slight NCAA Basketball odds road favorites vs. the No. 21 Heels.
Duke at North Carolina NCAA Basketball Odds & Betting PreviewWatchESPNRadio: Blue Devil IMG Sports (Duke) / Tar Heel Sports Network (North Carolina)Opening NCAA Basketball Odds: Duke -1.5 (-110)
Last SeasonThe Tar Heels lead the overall series 135-110. The teams split their regular-season games last season, but Duke defeated UNC 93-83 in the ACC tournament, the Tar Heels’ last loss before winning the NCAA tournament.In Chapel Hill, North Carolina was ranked No. 5 and beat No. 17 Duke 90-83. Joel Berry scored 28 points, including a critical late-game burst of seven straight for his team. Isaiah Hicks scored 21 points for the Tar Heels. The game featured 24 lead changes and 14 ties before UNC finally pushed ahead for good in the final six minutes, with its final margin the biggest lead for either team all night. Luke Kennard finished with 28 points to lead the Blue Devils. He’s in the NBA now.Carolina and Duke meet for the 246th time overall and the ninth consecutive game in which both teams are ranked in the AP top 25.
Why Bet on Duke?The Blue Devils (19-4, 7-3 ACC) were clearly caught looking ahead to this game Saturday when they lost at a bad St. John’s team out of conference, 81-77. The Red Storm entered winless in the Big East and on an 11-game losing streak. St. John’s outscored the Blue Devils 32-14 in the first 12 minutes of the second half to take an 11-point lead. There was a 3:57 stretch in the second half where Duke didn’t score a point, and a 7:06 stretch when it made only one field goal.Duke had a late offensive surge to take a one-point lead with 1:34 left, but Shamorie Ponds (33 points) fired off five straight points, and St. John’s held on. Freshman sensation Marvin Bagley III scored 19 for Duke but sat out a significant chunk of the second half with four fouls. Wendell Carter Jr. added 14 points and 15 rebounds. Grayson Allen made his first field goal with 35 seconds remaining. He’s now averaging just 8.5 points in Duke’s four losses. Allen has not reached the 20-point plateau since Dec. 30 and has recorded back-to-back double-digit scoring outputs just once since the start of 2018“We didn’t play basketball the first 32 minutes worthy of our program,” Coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “It was disgusting, really.”Bagley leads the Devils in scoring (an ACC-best 21.4 points per game) and rebounding (an ACC-best 11.4 per game) while Carter averages 14.4 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. Bagley is bidding to be the first Blue Devil and the first freshman to lead the ACC in scoring and rebounding. Of the 12 previous ACC players to accomplish it, eight have gone on to win the league’s Player of the Year award, including each of the last four.
Why Bet on North Carolina?Carolina is coming off a 96-65 win over Pitt on Feb. 3, which snapped a three-game losing streak. UNC shot 51.4 percent from the floor. It was the 10th time this year UNC shot 50 percent or better (fourth time in ACC play). The Tar Heels had 29 assists, second most in a game this year (31 vs. Western Carolina). It was the first game this season six Tar Heels scored in double figures.UNC has four wins over teams ranked this week in the AP top 20 (over No. 14 Ohio State, No. 15 Tennessee, No. 16 Clemson and No. 20 Michigan). Two of UNC’s seven losses have come against current top-five teams (No. 2 Virginia and No. 4 Michigan State).Luke Maye leads North Carolina in scoring (18.3) and rebounding (10.3). He is second in the ACC with two 30-10 games this season. The 6-foot-8 junior has grown from one-time unheralded recruit and role player to the Tar Heels’ most consistent performer as he’s on pace to become only the sixth UNC player to average a double-double in four decades.Opposing guards have feasted on the Blue Devils this season and the Trevon Duval-Grayson Allen pairing has failed to offer much resistance against dynamic scorers. In losses to St. John’s and Boston College, Duke allowed a combined 63 points to Ponds and Jerome Robinson. UNC’s Joel Berry is one of the ACC’s best guards and is and is 7-for-15 from 3 in his last two games.Duke averages 42.7 rebounds per game, second in the country only to UNC (43.4). Rebounding has been one of the key stats when Duke and Carolina get together. Duke has won 13 of the last 20 games from UNC, including all six when it has outrebounded the Tar Heels.In two of Duke’s four losses this year, the winning team has out-rebounded the Blue Devils. And though St. John’s didn’t, they did haul in 16 offensive rebounds that led to 10 second-chance points. Teams that have beaten Duke have also forced 61 Blue Devil turnovers. Duke has committed about 3.5 more turnovers in losses than in wins.Carolina is 63-36 in Chapel Hill vs. Duke, including 17-15 in the Smith Center. Head coach Roy Williams is 12-18 against Duke as Carolina’s head coach, including 6-8 at the Smith Center. This is the first time in six meetings Duke is ranked higher than UNC.
Latest NCAA Basketball OddsTrends
- Duke is 9-3 ATS in the last 12 games on the road
- Duke is 19-4 SU in the last 23 games
- The total went OVER in 13 of Duke’s last 19 games
- North Carolina is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 games at home
- North Carolina is 18-7 SU in the last 25 games
- The total went OVER in 5 of North Carolina’s last 6 games