UNC vs Duke Pick, Odds | How to Bet College Basketball’s Biggest Rivalry

UNC vs Duke Pick, Odds | How to Bet College Basketball’s Biggest Rivalry article feature image
Credit:

Grant Halverson/Getty Images. Pictured: R.J. Davis of UNC.

UNC vs Duke Odds

February 3
6:30 p.m. ET
ESPN
UNC Odds
Point SpreadOver/UnderMoneyline
-4.5
-110
152.5
-110o / -110u
-200
Duke Odds
Point SpreadOver/UnderMoneyline
+4.5
-110
152.5
-110o / -110u
+165
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAB odds here.

Let's dive into the Duke vs. UNC odds and make a pick in our college basketball betting preview for Saturday, Feb. 3.


No matter how high the stakes get, Duke and North Carolina never fail to provide excitement in the historic rivalry. Many argue it's the greatest rivalry in sports.

Growing up in the 2000s, these games never fail to disappoint. I've witnessed Hall of Fame coaches retire, NBA superstars square up on the court against each other and plenty of blood — literally and figuratively:

On This Date: In 2007, No. 8 UNC beat No. 14 Duke 86-72 to clinch the top seed in the ACC Tournament. Tyler Hansbrough had 26 points and 17 rebounds. Here is Tyler Hansbrough getting an elbow to the face from Duke's Gerald Henderson resulting in a bloody broken nose 🏀🐏 pic.twitter.com/02VjriXGKw

— Tar Heels on SR (@SRTarHeel) March 4, 2019

The stakes aren't as high in this meeting as the 2021 Final Four, but it's still a massive game for both teams. Duke will travel to Chapel Hill on Saturday with a chance to knot up North Carolina in the loss column in the ACC.

The Tar Heels lost outright at Georgia Tech on Tuesday, in a classic situation sleepy spot. But there's a golden bounce-back opportunity at the helm against their biggest rival.


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North Carolina Tar Heels

The Tar Heels have a terrible taste in their mouths after Tuesday's loss to Georgia Tech, and there's a lot to like about North Carolina in the matchup.

First off, its defense is slightly better than Duke's. Perimeter shooting will be an X-factor, and the Tar Heels are 22nd in opponent 3-point percentage.

There's a case to be made that their opponents have been unlucky in that department, but even with slight regression, the numbers suggest they're a solid defensive team on the perimeter.

It's also tough not to give the edge to the Tar Heels in the experience department. There are a ton of new faces on both of these teams, but the duo of RJ Davis and Armando Bacot gives the edge to North Carolina.

Davis is on his way to becoming an All-American, and his elite shooting skills can carry the team on any given night.

Bacot has his ups and downs, but I like the matchup for him here. His presence alone gives the Tar Heels the edge on the defensive end on the interior.

It's set up to be an instant classic Duke and North Carolina matchup, but I find it extremely hard to bet against the Tar Heels based on all of the variables mentioned.


Duke Blue Devils

Guard Jeremy Roach has been unconscious from 3-point land of late. Roach is shooting 48% from deep on the year and is the glue guy for the Blue Devils offense.

The key for both teams comes on the perimeter.

The Blue Devils got off to a slow start but have quickly ascended to the upper tier of the ACC conference, per usual. They enter the matchup ranked in the top 30 in offensive and defensive efficiency.

Duke protects the basketball and is a great defensive rebounding team. The Blue Devils struggle to grab second-chance opportunities, but their excellent transition defense makes up for that.

It's concerning that they may need to rely on their interior scoring, considering the Tar Heels' frontcourt is tenacious defensively. Kyle Filipowski needs a big game down low to provide some stability since the Blue Devils can't bank on Roach remaining unconscious from deep.

Duke has won three games in a row, but it easily could have lost to Clemson last Saturday.

In terms of overall talent, the Blue Devils are on an even playing field with the Tar Heels. Unfortunately for them, the situational spot is working against them, and it's hard to trust this team to shut down the Tar Heels from 3-point land throughout. After all, Duke ranks 180th in 3-point defense.


UNC vs Duke

Betting Prediction, Pick

It's possible this number dips before tip-off, so that's when I’ll be looking to buy the Tar Heels. This is a great situational spot for them coming off a bad loss at Georgia Tech.

I'm also not completely sold on Duke. Yes, the Blue Devils have the talent to make a Final Four run, but their 3-point shooting is bound to return to earth.

The defensive advantage for the Tar Heels on the perimeter and inside will play a big factor, and I have more confidence in their veteran players to step up.

Their 3-point shooting is also good enough to crack the Blue Devils’ stingy perimeter defense.

There may also be a good opportunity to take the Tar Heels live if they trail early. It should be a slower-paced contest, which correlates to every point being that much more crucial.

We’re going to learn a lot about both of these teams at the end of the night, but the play is the Tar Heels all the way.

Pick: North Carolina -4 (Play to -5.5)

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