The eighth-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels and ninth-ranked Duke Blue Devils will both look to extend their modest winning streaks when they square off in their huge ACC Conference clash on Thursday night.
The conference-leading Tar Heels would like to tighten their grip on the ACC and both teams would like to improve their hopes of getting a high seed when March Madness rolls around next month.
The two national title hopefuls will square off at Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, North Carolina at 8:00 PM ET with this matchup airing live on ESPN. Now, let’s find out where the value in this highly-anticipated matchup.
North Carolina Tar Heels Vs. Duke Blue Devils Odds & Pick
What: No. 8 North Carolina Tar Heels (21-4) at No. 18 Duke Blue Devils (18-5)
When: Thursday, February 9, 2017
Start Time: 8:00 PM ET
Where: Durham, North Carolina
Stadium: Cameron Indoor Stadium
Spread: Duke -3.5
Game Total: N/A
Stream: Watch ESPN
Listen: North Carolina vs Duke
Why Bet The North Carolina Tar Heels
North Carolina (21-4 SU, 12-11-1 ATS) is a good team to back in this matchup simply because they’ve been more consistent than the Blue Devils and have plenty of motivation to beat their longtime rivals after snapping a four-game losing streak against the Blue devils the last time they met.
Carolina has won two straight and come into this matchup off a solid 83-76 win over No. 24 Notre Dame on Saturday. Justin Jackson’s team-high 16 points led six players in double figures for the Tar Heels, who went on an 8-0 run after Notre Dame pulled within 75-73.
Isaiah Hicks added 14 points, while Joel Berry and Tony Bradley each had 12 points. Kennedy Meeks and Kenny Williams both chipped in 11 points for first-place North Carolina.
"We didn’t really have to rely on one person," Hicks said.
Why Bet The Duke Blue Devils
The Blue Devils (18-5 SU, 9-13 ATS) are great team to back in this matchup because they’re playing at home and are quite desperate to get back on track now that head coach Mike Krzyzewski has returned from his seven-game absence.
Duke has won three straight and comes into this matchup off a solid 72-64 win over Pittsburgh on Saturday. Freshman guard Frank Jackson scored eight points in a late four-minute run and Grayson Allen had a team-high 21 points to led No. 21 Duke to victory in the return of their Hall of Fame coach to the bench.
Krzyzewski missed the previous seven games after undergoing surgery on Jan. 6. He was credited with his 500th victory in games at Duke’s storied home arena.
"I felt like crying when they were doing introductions," he said. "You forget how lucky you are until you have something taken away."
UNC Vs. Duke Odds & Pick
For me, this matchup is really simple. Despite the fact that Duke will be playing at home in this ACC showdown, the North Carolina Tar Heels are the pick to cover the college basketball betting line – by getting the outright road win over the Blue Devils.
North Carolina has the better offense while Duke is the slightly better defense and shoots the ball better from the field and the free throw line.
The Tar Heels however, have a quartet of talented bigs that Duke just won’t be able to matchup up with in this contest, not to mention a legitimate star in Justin Jackson that should be the best player on the floor in this contest.
While the Tar Heels have gone 1-4 ATS in their last five games and 1-6 ATS in their last seven road games, Duke is just 2-5 ATS in their last seven home games, 3-9 ATS in their last 12 games and a nearly winless 1-7 ATS in their last eight games following a straight up win.
With the Tar Heels going 5-1 ATS in the last six road games against the Blue Devils and the road team in this ACC rivalry going 19-7 ATS in the last 26 meetings, I say keep it simple and back the Tar Heels to win by 3-5 points.
My final score prediction is North Carolina 87 Duke 82