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Duke Blue Devils at North Carolina Tar Heels Betting Preview

One of the best rivalries in college basketball gets renewed on Saturday as the No. 9 Duke Blue Devils (18-3, 8-2 in ACC) take on the North Carolina Tar Heels (16-6, 8-3 in ACC). The Tar Heels will host this one at the Dean E. Smith Center, with tipoff scheduled for 6:00 pm ET.

This game has big implications for the ACC standings, as a North Carolina win would put them ahead of the Blue Devils due to the head-to-head matchup (although they play each other again in their regular-season finales).

Since losing to Florida State back on January 18, the Blue Devils have won four games in a row, including a 57-43 win over Notre Dame on Monday.

In the win, Paolo Banchero led all scorers with 21 points while also adding nine rebounds. A.J. Griffin was the only other player with double digits as he added 13 points and nine rebounds.

North Carolina has also been hot, winning four straight games. On Tuesday, they took down Louisville on the road 90-83.

The Tar Heels had five players who had double digits in the win over Louisville. While Brady Manek led the team in scoring with 24, it was Armando Bacot’s 19 points and 22 rebounds that stole the show.

Despite playing on the road, Duke is the slight favorite in this one. They are -156 to win while the Tar Heels’ moneyline sits at +130. The spread features North Carolina +3 (-106), and the over/under for total points is 151 (-110).

More Odds

Duke currently has the best odds of winning the ACC at -290. North Carolina has the third-best odds at +950.

In terms of winning the National Championship, Duke is tied for the fourth-best odds at +1200. North Carolina is +11000 to win it all.

By The Numbers

Both of these teams have exceptional offenses. Duke ranks 10th in scoring averaging 80.4 points per game (73.4 on the road). North Carolina ranks 22nd, averaging 78.5 points.

On the defensive side, it is again Duke with the edge. They rank 47th in scoring defense, allowing opponents 64.7 points per game. North Carolina ranks 232nd as they are allowing 72 points per game (62.5 at home).

Duke Looks To Take Commanding Lead in ACC

With the Tar Heels just a half-game behind them in the ACC standings, Duke would love to pick up a win over North Carolina Saturday to give them some breathing room. To do so, they are going to have to do it in hostile territory as they travel to the Dean E. Smith Center.

Leading the way for Duke this season is freshman phenom Paolo Banchero. The forward is averaging 17.8 points on 49.6% shooting. He is also adding 8.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.1 steals, and a block per game.

Luckily, he doesn’t have to do it alone. Wendell Moore Jr (14.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.5 steals), Trevor Keels (11.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.8 steals), and Mark Williams (10 points, 7.1 rebounds, 3.2 blocks) are also having huge seasons.

North Carolina Tries To Stay Perfect At Home

The Tar Heels know they will have their hands full with No. 9 Duke, but they are hoping that home-court advantage will push them to a victory. To date, they are 12-0 when playing at home this season.

Leading the way for Hubert Davis’ squad is junior forward Armando Bacot. He is averaging a double-double this season with 16.5 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game. He is also shooting 57.2% from the field.

Like Duke, the Tar Heels have plenty of firepower. Caleb Love (15.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists), R.J. Davis (13.9 points, four rebounds, 3.4 assists), and Brady Manek (13.5 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists) are also major contributors.

Take Duke To Win And Cover

North Carolina definitely has the firepower to make this a game, but the question is whether they have enough on the defensive end to limit the damage from the Blue Devils.

While anything goes when these two rivals square off, it still seems like Duke has the better squad on paper, and expect the Blue Devils to try to give head coach Mike Krzyzewski a win in his last game at the Dean E. Smith Center.

Take Duke to win and cover the modest three-point spread.

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