Duke vs. North Carolina Betting Preview: Don’t Be Hatin’, Bet Duke and the Over

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Jeremy Roach #3 of the Duke Blue Devils drives to the basket against R.J. Davis #4 of the North Carolina Tar Heels. Grant Halverson/Getty Images/AFP.

NCAAB Pick: Duke +3 (-108) at Bookmaker (visit our Bookmaker Review)

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Duke +3 (-108)
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Do you like money? Do you hate the Duke Blue Devils? Then you’ve got a dilemma on your hands. Duke plays their ACC regular-season finale this Saturday against their traditional rivals, the North Carolina Tar Heels, and we regret to inform you that the Tar Heels are the wrong choice for your NCAAB picks as 3-point home faves at Bookmaker.

There are ways around this. You could bet the Over instead; there’s a 142-point total on the college basketball odds board at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review), although we’re recommending Over 142.5 at Heritage Sports instead, since they’ve got their usual -108 vigorish attached thereupon.

Or you could wait until closer to tip-off for some tasty college basketball props on your favorite Heels. We’re not seeing anything on the board yet as we go to press, though, so let’s concentrate on these two single bets for now.

Duke Blue Devils vs. North Carolina Tar Heels

Saturday, March 4, 2023 – 06:30 PM EST at Dean E. Smith Center

Why Bet on Duke?

They’re the better team on paper. Without even looking at the projections or Ken Pomeroy’s efficiency stats, we can make an educated guess that Duke (22-8 SU, 11-19 ATS) has the betting value in this matchup versus UNC (19-11 SU, 10-19-1 ATS).

The key is that 3-point spread at North Carolina betting sites, which is up from 2.5 points at the open. Home-court advantage has been worth about three points this year in Division I; Jeff Sagarin at The USA Today has it at 3.04 points using his fancy computers.

The Blue Devils have indeed outperformed North Carolina thus far, so if they’re 3-point road dogs, they should go in your college basketball picks. That’s just science.

Does North Carolina Play Better at Home?

Very astute question. If we’re going to dig deep, and peel back the layers, yes, the Heels have a better home-court advantage in Chapel Hill – something closer to 3.3 points according to a Pomeroy article from 2018, although said advantages have grown slimmer across Division I in recent years.

But then we may as well go ahead and look at his other numbers. Pomeroy has Duke ranked No. 32 overall (No. 60 offense, No. 31 defense) in efficiency, and North Carolina No. 46 overall (No. 58 offense, No. 43 defense), with a gap of 1.55 points per 100 possessions according to Adjusted Efficiency Margin.

They’ll get in about 67.4 possessions this Saturday if you average their Adjusted Tempos, so that’s… let’s see, carry the one… 1.04 points for Duke. Take away 3.3 points for North Carolina’s home-court advantage, and you get around UNC -2.3 for a kayfabe spread. Science wins again.

What About the Total?

Looking at the larger range of projections we’re following here at the ranch, the Tar Heels “should” win this game by 72 or 73 points to 70 or 71. I suppose you could make them your moneyline pick once those NCAAB odds come out; it’s a slight lean towards Duke anyway, so you’re not giving up a ton of expected value taking North Carolina ML for a recreational bet.

Our recommended Over bet should remain fun-sized, too, but the Over is the right side here, and we’re willing to tack on that extra half-point from 142 to 142.5 in order to save two cents of vigorish. Did we mention Bookmaker also has -108 juice attached to Duke +3 for this game? Now we have.

A quick reminder, Duke did win their first regular-season matchup 63-57 (Under 145.5) as 2.5-point home faves, so maybe the NCAAB lines have dropped the total a bit too far in response. Bet accordingly, and may the sphere be with you.

NCAAB Pick: Over 142.5 (-108) at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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Over 142.5 (-108)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.