NCAA Basketball: North Carolina Tar Heels at Duke Blue Devils | Odds and Picks

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  • Game will be held at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, North Carolina at 9 p.m. ET on Wednesday, February 20th, 2019 and televised on ESPN.
  • Game odds: Duke -9 | Over/Under 163 | Moneyline -450/+351 at BookMaker.eu.

The best rivalry in college basketball is ready to add another chapter to its illustrious history. The Duke Blue Devils are ranked No. 1 in the country and widely regarded as the team to beat when March Madness rolls around in a few weeks. They will host the No. 8 ranked North Carolina Tar Heels this week in a game that annually features some of the largest collections of elite talent in college hoops.

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North Carolina has played pretty well this season but is not quite on the same level as the Blue Devils. Add in the fact that the Tar Heels are on the road, and they will be a healthy underdog in this matchup. Duke would take a huge step toward taking control of the competitive ACC with a victory in this one, although a loss would put them into a three-way tie atop the conference alongside North Carolina and Virginia.

Tar Heels vs Blue Devils Odds

North Carolina has a record of 20-5 on the season, including 10 wins in 12 conference games. The Tar Heels lost recently to Virginia but has mostly been impressive in the ACC. The Tar Heels have played a lot of road games and performed well with an 8-1 record in hostile arenas. They would love to keep that up but it won’t be easy as they are listed as nine-point underdogs against Duke.

The Blue Devils are 23-2 on the season and they have gone 11-1 in the ACC. They lost one non-conference game to Gonzaga. Duke fell early in conference action when Syracuse came to Cameron Indoor and stole a win, but the Blue Devils have since bounced back with nine straight wins, with two over Virginia and another over Louisville.

Duke averages 7.2 blocks per game this season. The teams score at about the same rate this season but the Blue Devils’ defense is markedly better, and it starts in the paint. Marques Bolden leads the team with an average of 2.0 blocks per game while Zion Williamson adds 1.9 blocks per game.

Duke is giving up 66.1 points per game, which is an impressive number considering how quick of a pace it plays at much of the time. North Carolina averages 3.5 fewer blocks per game and also does not get as many steals. Duke’s ability to impact the game on defense because of its assortment of athletes could play a big role in this game’s outcome.

Watch Johnson

North Carolina’s leading scorer, Cameron Johnson,  will almost certainly need to play a good game to help his team come away with the upset win. Johnson is averaging 16.3 points and 5.4 rebounds per contest this year, shooting 51.7 percent from the field and 47.9 percent from three-point range.

He had a great game last time out, scoring 27 points and hitting seven three-pointers in a win over Wake Forest. A duplicate of that would be huge for the Tar Heels.

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North Carolina vs Duke Pick

Our pick: Duke -9

North Carolina has enough talent to make a run at the Elite Eight, but Duke is legitimate national championship material. The Blue Devils have more talent and get this game at home, which makes them the easy choice as the winner. The spread is a tougher call, but Duke should be able to pull away late to cover.

Check out the latest NCAA college basketball betting odds for today.