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North Carolina vs Duke Blue Devils Predictions

It’s rare that the ACC matchup between the North Carolina Tar Heels and Duke Blue Devils doesn’t have at least one of the teams in the national rankings. An even rarer occurrence takes place on Saturday when the Tobacco Road rivals enter their first meeting of the season both outside the top-25 and in the middle of the conference standings with identical 7-4 records.

With each winning over 68 percent of their games overall it’s not that the clubs have been bad this season rather they just haven’t been as good as in previous years. Duke might have revenge in mind since it was UNC that spoiled Coach K’s final game at Cameron Indoor with a 94-81 triumph last season. Since then the Dookies haven’t lost at home going 11-0 this season.

This NCAA men’s basketball game will air live on ESPN at 6:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, February 4, 2023 from Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, NC.

North Carolina vs Duke Basketball Odds

North Carolina Tar Heels (Check Back Later)

Duke Blue Devils (Check Back Later)

Over/Under (Check Back Later)

Season Story

Proving that rankings are an inexact science, the Tar Heels were No. 1 in the polls early in the season. They opened with five straight wins but were hardly convincing. UNC was favored by at least 12.5 points in every game managing only one payout. They beat James Madison 80-64 covering the shortest line. Included in that stretch was a narrow 72-66 home win over Gardner-Webb as a 22.5-point favorite. In the end winning is what matters, but the Heels showed cracks. And those blemishes surfaced starting with a loss to Iowa State, the first of four straight setbacks that dropped the Heels out of the top-25. They were 5-4 SU and 1-7-1 ATS through their first nine games. Perhaps looking ahead to this matchup, the Heels were upset by Pitt on Tuesday for the second time this season leaving them at 15-7 SU and a woeful 7-14-1 ATS.

With legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski stepping down after last season there were some expected road bumps. And that’s what Duke has experienced with ‘road’ being the operative word. Cameron Indoor is always tough on visitors and this season is no exception. The Blue Devils have won all 11 games inside the cozy gym going 5-6 ATS with three consecutive ATS setbacks. Maybe there’s a little luck involved with each of their last two home games decided by two points. Duke opened the season winning 10 of 12 games with losses to highly-ranked Kansas and Purdue. The Dookies avenged an earlier loss to Wake Forest with a 75-73 triumph on Tuesday, though they failed to cover the 8.5-point line falling to 1-7 ATS in their last eight games.

North Carolina Tar Heels

It’s almost like the Heels play down to their competition narrowly beating clubs like Gardner-Webb and Portland while losing to unranked Virginia Tech, Iowa State and Pitt twice. Those certainly aren’t bad programs and Pitt has a better ACC record than UNC and Duke, but when you’re the No. 1 team in the land before the season starts those things aren’t supposed to happen.

Possessing extraordinary talent and being North Carolina carries some weight, which is why the Heels were positioned where they were in the preseason. And they have plenty of experience with their top three scorers all returning. Armando Bacot is having another big season averaging 17.7 points and 11.4 rebounds. Caleb Love (16.5) and R.J. Davis (16.0) form an explosive backcourt.

Duke Blue Devils

Over the years Duke has relied on first-year players to carry much of the load. It isn’t uncommon to see that when the freshmen are using the one season as tune up for the next step in their basketball career. The main player this year is Kyle Filipowski, who’s done pretty much everything. He leads the team averaging 15.8 points and 9.5 rebounds and was instrumental in the 75-73 win over Wake last time out. The 7-footer scored Dukes final seven points, including a three-pointer to hold on.

We became accustomed to seeing Duke score a lot of points with the offensive stars that have filtered through the program. In an attempt to forge his identity since taking over the program, Jon Scheyer has installed a strong defense. The Dookies allow just 63.7 points while holding opponents to 30.1 percent from behind the arc. It’s allowed the UNDER to go 5-2-1 in the last eight games while playing below the total in over 59 percent of their games.

North Carolina vs Duke Prediction

You can throw out the records and stats when these teams meet. Arguably the best and most heated rivalry in college basketball, the programs don’t like each other. Duke’s only loss in its last 14 home games was to UNC and the club is looking for payback after having Coach K’s night ruined. UNC has no match for Filipowski so look for him to have a big game in Duke’s victory.

Our Prediction: Duke Blue Devils and UNDER

View college basketball odds for today.

Jake Flynn
Jake Flynn
Senior writer for Writes NBA, NCAA basketball, MLB, UFC and daily fantasy sports articles.

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