College Basketball Preview, Odds & Prediction for North Carolina vs. Duke: How to Bet Coach K’s Last Home Game
Grant Halverson/Getty Images. Pictured: Mike Krzyzewski.
North Carolina vs. Duke Odds
|North Carolina Odds|
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
The end of an era.
In what will be Mike Krzyzewski’s last home game at Cameron Indoor against North Carolina, we close the book on an epic final chapter for the Coach K-led Duke Blue Devils.
One of the greatest coaches of all time announced last summer that this season would be his last ride. Otherwise known as the Coach K farewell tour, it has been a successful one as the Blue Devils come in at 26-4 with the No. 1 seed in the ACC Tournament locked up.
North Carolina also saw its coach depart before the season amid a shocking announcement after rumors that Roy Williams was growing frustrated with the changes in the college landscape.
The Tar Heels still found success in Hubert Davis’ roller coaster of a first year, going 22-8 this far. Now, they’re in the middle of an at-large run for March Madness.
Duke paced North Carolina from the tip in their last game out. The Blue Devils jumped out of the gate to the tune of a 21-point lead halfway through the first half. They saw their lead shrink to just 10 by halftime but exploded in the second half to win, 87-67.
Will Duke once again dominate in Coach K’s final regular-season chapter in this storied rivalry, or will UNC play spoiler and punch its ticket into the NCAA Tournament?
Let’s find out.
It has been anything but easygoing for the Tar Heels this season. With the ability to go from looking like an elite talent to a head-scratching bottom-of-the-barrel team, North Carolina has been one of the bigger wild cards this season.
It was a fringe bubble team as of a few weeks ago, but the Heels have been better at positioning themselves as an at-large team after a four-game win streak against Virginia Tech, Louisville, NC State and Syracuse. It wasn’t a walk in the park in their last game out, as they needed an overtime burst to cover against Syracuse.
On the heels (pun intended) of the streak, North Carolina travels to Cameron Indoor to face Duke, and a win would be the cherry on top of its regular season.
Defense has been the bane of UNC’s existence all season, and that was no different in the last game against Duke. The Blue Devils shot a blistering 57.6% from the field and 47.4% from 3.
North Carolina had no answers for the barrage of Duke talent, as freshman AJ Griffin scored a season-high 27 points, while Paolo Banchero, Wendell Moore, and Trevor Keels all recorded double-digit scoring nights as well.
While the defense has been bad, it was the rebounding differential that had me scratching my head. North Carolina built an identity over the years of crashing the boards and running out in transition. Davis kept that same scheme this year, but it was not the story against Duke. The Blue Devils outrebounded the Heels, 40-24, limiting any second chances for UNC to make a comeback.
If North Carolina wants to generate the upset, it will need to crash the boards. If it’s unable to contain all of Duke’s weapons, it can neutralize the difference by keeping pace with putbacks and limiting second chances.
The story for the Blue Devils has been the same all season long. They are the clear-cut No. 1 team in the ACC with national title potential written all over them.
They fit the mold of Stuckey’s national title contenders, ranked a combined top-50 in both AdjO and AdjD, per KenPom. Duke ranks sixth in AdjO and 19th in AdjD to form a well-balanced force on both ends of the court.
Banchero has led the Blue Devils all season, showing day in and day out why he is a projected top-three pick come NBA Draft season. Banchero averages 16.9 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3 assists per game on 46.5% shooting from the field.
He doesn’t do it alone, and we saw that on display when he was taken out of the equation last time out against North Carolina. The UNC defense focused on shutting him down, and yet, Banchero’s squad still rolled the Heels.
The Blue Devils are still far from perfect, having a tendency to give up clean open looks from 3 with shaky perimeter defense. They also still struggle in a half-court set on offense when the game slows down, leading to stalled-out possessions ending with a bad shot selection.
The former has improved, as Banchero has taken a leap in his production, making Duke a formidable title threat.
If Coach K wants to end his last season in a magical way — winning the ACC Tournament and national title — then Banchero and company will need to continue their versatile offensive dominance.
North Carolina vs. Duke Betting Pick
In Chase Howell’s piece on North Carolina vs. Duke odds and trends, it shows that Krzyzewski is 50-46 straight up in his career vs. North Carolina. He’s 22-18 straight at home and 18-23 on the road. The against-the-spread numbers haven’t been as good, with UNC leading 21-16-2 ATS since 2005.
Luckily for our wallets, my focus will not be on the spread. Although I do think the number is too high, I just can’t trust UNC to cover as a wild card. It’s focused on perimeter shooting and will be up against a rambunctious crowd for Coach K’s last home game.
Instead, I grabbed the over on the open at 151.
Duke has been one of the best and most versatile offenses, not only in the ACC but in the nation. It’s loaded with talent and is coming together when it matters most. It will constantly attack North Carolina’s defense in what will be a track meet in an up-tempo battle.
North Carolina needed 10 minutes of play to crack 10 points total in its last game out — something I do not see happening again. UNC has been hot again from deep and will look to avenge the rebounding deficit from its last game.
With extra chances comes extra points, and UNC will need every point it can get to keep pace with Duke.
As a UNC fan, I hope there’s nothing but tears in the eyes of Coach K when the buzzer sounds after an emotional upset for the Tar Heels. As a sports bettor, I hope the same happens but with a lot of points scored this time out.
Also, be sure to follow me on Twitter and the Action App at @kmalstrom for any updates and live plays.
Grab your popcorn and prepare for the ending of the farewell tour. It’s shaping up to be a fun one.
Pick: Over 153 (Play to 155)
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