College Basketball Betting Picks: #8 North Carolina Tar Heels at #17 Duke Blue Devils

#8 North Carolina Tar Heels at #17 Duke Blue Devils
Saturday, March 5, 2016, 6:30 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Cameron Indoor Stadium – Durham, North Carolina
Opening Line: Duke pick
Current Line: North Carolina -2 1/2
Opening Total: 161
Current Total: 160 1/2
Opening Money Line: North Carolina -115 / Duke -105
Current Money Line: North Carolina -145 / Duke +125

Duke and North Carolina renew their rivalry Saturday in Durham.
Duke and North Carolina renew their rivalry Saturday in Durham.

College basketball’s best rivalry is renewed Saturday as the North Carolina Tar Heels travel to Duke Blue Devils in the regular season finale for both teams. North Carolina is 24-6 overall and tied for first in the ACC with Miami at 13-4. The Tar Heels hold the head to head tie breaker against Miami and will clinch the #1 seed in next week’s ACC tournament regardless of what Miami does at Virginia Tech earlier in the day. Duke is 22-8 overall and in fifth place in conference at 11-6. The Blue Devils could be anywhere from the #3 seed to the #5 seed in the ACC Tournament. Both Duke and Carolina are expected to be top four seeds in the NCAA Tournament.

North Carolina leads the series 133-108 against Duke, but the Blue Devils are 52-47 in Durham. Duke has won 11 of the last 14 against UNC including 74-73 in Chapel Hill February 17. The Blue Devils played the second half using the same five players after some injuries. They made two key stops in the last minute of the game to preserve the upset.

North Carolina is coached by Roy Williams. The Tar Heels have road losses at Northern Iowa, Texas, Louisville Notre Dame and Virginia,  plus a home loss to Duke. North Carolina has neutral site wins over Temple in Annapolis, Northwestern and Kansas State in Kansas City and UCLA in Brooklyn. UNC has home wins over Fairfield, Wofford, Maryland, Davidson, Tulane, Appalachian State, Clemson, Georgia Tech, North Carolina State, Wake Forest, Boston College, Pittsburgh, Miami and Syracuse 75-70 Monday night. The Tar Heels have road wins at Florida State, Syracuse, Virginia Tech, Boston College and North Carolina State. UNC is 12-17-1 ATS and the total is 16-14 this season. The Tar Heels were 13 point favorites against Syracuse  and the total was 146.5.

Duke is coached by Mike Krzyzewski. The Blue Devils have neutral site losses to Kentucky in Chicago and Utah in New York. Duke has road losses at Clemson, Miami, Louisville and Pittsburgh, along with home losses to Notre Dame and Syracuse. The Blue Devils have neutral site wins over VCU and Georgetown in New York, plus road wins at Boston College, Wake Forest, North Carolina State, Georgia Tech, and North Carolina. Duke has home wins over Siena, Yale, Utah State, Indiana, Buffalo, Long Beach State, Virginia Tech, NC State, Louisville, Virginia, Florida State, and Wake Forest 79-71 Tuesday night. Duke is 13-14-2 ATS and the total is 12-17 this season. The Blue Devils were 16 point favorites against Wake Forest and the total was 154.5.

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North Carolina is outscoring teams 83-71 this season. The Tar Heels are #10 in scoring nationally. North Carolina is shooting 48.1% from the field and 31.6% from 3 point range. The Tar Heels are #24 in field goal percentage but #297 in three point shooting nationally. UNC makes 73.1% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 41.5% from the field and 36.2% from 3 point range. UNC averages 40.7 rebounds per game and opponents average 29.3 per game. The Tar Heels are #17 in rebounding nationally. North Carolina averages 18.4 assists, 10.9 turnovers, 6.9 steals and 4.5 blocks per game. Opponents average 11.4 assists, 13.4 turnovers, 5.7 steals and 3.1 blocks per game.

Brice Johnson averages 17 points, 10.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.2 blocks per game. Justin Jackson averages 12.4 points, 4 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game. Marcus Paige averages 12.3 points, 2.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.2 assists per game. Joel Berry II averages 11.9 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 3.9 steals. Kennedy Meeks averages 10 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.5 blocks per game.  Isaiah Hicks averages 9.4 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. Nate Britt, Theo Pinson and Joel James also get time in the rotation.

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Duke is outscoring teams 82-71 this season. The Blue Devils are #17 nationally in scoring. Duke is shooting 46.5% from the field and 38.9% from 3 point range. The Blue Devils are #21 in three point shooting nationally. Duke makes 72.6% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 44.3% from the field and 34.2% from 3 point range. Duke averages 36.6 rebounds per game and opponents average 32.4 per game. The Blue Devils average 13 assists, 9.6 turnovers, 6 steals and 4.3 blocks per game. Opponents average 13.8 assists, 11.7 turnovers, 4.3 steals and 3.2 blocks per game.

Grayson Allen averages 21.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.3 steals per game. Brandon Ingram averages 16.9 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.4 blocks per game. Luke Kennard averages 11.5 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. Matt Jones averages 11.2 points, 2.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1 steal per game. Marshall Plumlee averages 8.2 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Derryck Thornton averages 7.8 points, 2.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. Amile Jefferson is out indefinitely with a foot injury.

North Carolina is 4-9 ATS overall and against ACC teams, 3-8 against teams with winning records, 1-4 against teams with winning home records, and 1-5 in road games. The road team is 25-10 ATS in this series recently. The Tar Heels are 8-2 ATS in Durham recently.

Duke is 7-1 ATS against teams with winning road records, 4-1 after failing to cover, 19-7-2 in Saturday games, 2-5 at home, and 2-5-1 after a straight up win. The underdog has covered six of the last seven games in this series.

In the first meeting a couple of weeks ago, North Carolina made only 1/13 from behind the three point line. I don’t see that happening again. I think this will be another close game, but the Tar Heels return the favor with a road win.

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