North Carolina vs. Duke Best Bets for Saturday: Blue Devils and Tar Heels Are Going Under

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Dariq Whitehead #0 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts after making a three-point basket against the Bellarmine Knights. Grant Halverson/Getty Images/AFP.

Score Prediction: North Carolina 70 – Duke 73

NCAAB Pick: Under 144.5 (-108) at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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Under 144.5 (-108)
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Timing is indeed everything. If you were really quick with your betting fingers, you were able to grab Under 145 for Saturday’s rivalry game between the North Carolina Tar Heels and Duke Blue Devils; alas, those early NCAAB odds didn’t last long, and most online sportsbooks – including the fine folks at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review) – opened their total at a much tighter 142.5 points.

But then, wouldn’t you know it, the total shot back up to 144 within the first two hours of betting. We were going to recommend a fun-size bet on Over 142.5, but now we’re back on the presumably sharp side.

It’s still just a fun-size bet, though. As you can see above, Duke (16-6 SU, 8-14 ATS) project to win this battle 73-70; that single point doesn’t give us much profit margin to work with, and overtime at Cameron Indoor Stadium is a real possibility.

The Blue Devils also moved from 2.5-point favorites over the Tar Heels (15-7 SU, 7-14-1 ATS) to -3 in early betting at North Carolina betting sites, so there goes the slight lean toward Duke we were going to suggest for you. Guess we’ll have to dig deep, peel back the layers, and find something else to put in our college basketball picks.

North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Duke Blue Devils

Saturday, February 04, 2023 – 07:30 PM EST at Cameron Indoor Stadium

Is Duke-UNC Relevant Anymore?

Ask the Cameron Crazies. They’ll be out in full force Saturday, but yes, this rivalry is just a little less heated now that Jon Scheyer has replaced Mike Krzyzewski as Duke’s head coach. And it’s still a bit strange to see Hubert Davis on the Tar Heels sideline instead of Roy Williams.

These bitter ACC rivals are also not quite as competitive under their new regimes. Both teams are unranked heading into this matchup; Duke have the slight edge at No. 30 overall (No. 34 offense, No. 35 defense) on Ken Pomeroy’s efficiency charts, five spots up on North Carolina (No. 29 offense, No. 51 defense).

Some turbulence can be expected when long-time czars like Krzyzewski and Williams leave the throne. But the Tar Heels were No. 1 on the AP preseason poll, and held that spot for the first two weeks before losing four straight games and falling from grace.

Duke, on the other hand, started the year at No. 7 in the polls and held onto their usual spot in the Top 25 until mid-January. Scheyer just finished putting together the second-best recruiting class for 2023 according to ESPN – he was in charge of last season’s No. 1-ranked class as well. Green and the Tar Heels came in at No. 24 this year.

Who Are the New Players?

For the Class of 2022, on Duke’s side, you’ve got the top-ranked recruit on the RSCI Top 100, forward Dariq Whitehead (plus-0.9 BPM at Sports Reference), who’s been a bit disappointing thus far. And you’ve got No. 2-ranked center Dereck Lively II (plus-5.9 BPM), who’s been an absolute defensive beast in the paint – but a black hole on offense.

Moving on to the Tar Heels, you have these three gentlemen:

  • G Seth Trimble
  • F Jalen Washington
  • F Tyler Nickel

Nickel (plus-5.3 BPM) barely cracked the aforementioned Top 100 at No. 99, but he’s been the best of the three in limited minutes off the bench. No. 36 Trimble (minus-0.6 BPM) and especially No. 51 Washington (minus-1.5 BPM) have been washouts, but then again, these aren’t the “one-and-done” years for college hoops anymore. Give them time.

What Else Can I Bet On?

There might not be any value on either side of that point spread, but we did happen to notice Duke -150 on the overseas NCAAB lines. That makes the Blue Devils worth a slight lean again, although we still wouldn’t bet the farm on it.

College basketball point spreads and moneylines can be compared using a little math, and while the equivalencies are slightly fluid (sample size matters, for example), a spread of -3 is somewhere close to a moneyline of -160. Therefore the smidge of betting value at Duke -150.

As for that total, you could also bet Under 144.5 (-113) at Bookmaker, but you’re getting a better deal at Heritage Sports this time with 144.5 (-108). Shop smart, and may the sphere be with you.

NCAAB Pick: Under 144.5 (-108) at Heritage Sports

NCAAB Pick: Duke ML (-150) at Heritage Sports

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Duke ML (-150)
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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.