Upcoming Match-ups

Duke vs North Carolina Odds and Picks

Chris Amberley

by Chris Amberley in College Basketball

Updated Mar 5, 2021 · 6:20 PM PST

Caleb Love North Carolina Tar Heels
North Carolina guard Caleb Love (2) drives to the basket against Florida State during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
  • North Carolina is a 3-point home favorite versus Duke on Saturday (March 6th, 6 pm ET)
  • Both teams are fighting for their NCAA Tournament lives
  • See below for analysis, odds and a betting prediction

Two of the most storied programs in college basketball clash on Saturday (March 6th, 6 pm ET), and the stakes couldn’t be higher. North Carolina (15-9, 9-6 ACC) hosts Duke (11-10, 9-8 ACC), with both teams fighting for their March Madness lives. The Tar Heels are currently projected in the NCAA Tournament, but barely, while the Blue Devils are one of the first four out.

Duke vs North Carolina Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
Duke Blue Devils +3.0 (-105) OFF Over 147.5 (-115)
North Carolina Tar Heels -3.0 (-115) OFF Under 147.5 (-105)

Odds taken March 5th.

UNC opened up as a 3-point home favorite, in a game that features a total of 147.5. Both teams are coming off hard fought defeats, and one more loss for the Blue Devils could ultimately seal their tournament fate.

A Desperate Duke Squad

Duke’s latest loss on Tuesday, an 81-77 OT defeat to Georgia Tech has put even more pressure on them to beat North Carolina. Another loss at the hands of the Tar Heels would mean the Blue Devils will likely be sitting out March Madness this season, unless they win next week’s ACC Tournament.

Wendell Moore Jr. and Mark Williams led the way with 20 points each in a losing effort versus the Yellow Jackets, while leading scorer Matthew Hurt finished with just 12 points after fouling out with 6:14 left in regulation. Hurt was also a non-factor in Duke’s first meeting with UNC this year, a 91-87 defeat, fouling out after racking up only 7 points.

After a four-game winning streak that had everyone convinced they were tournament bound, the Blue Devils have now lost back-to-back outings, and continue to be plagued by a bad defense. They yielded a 45.3% field goal percentage to Georgia Tech shooters, and were beaten again on the glass. Duke ranks 12th in the conference in opponent points per game and 11th in defensive rebounding.

Which Tar Heels Team Will Show Up?

UNC meanwhile, is coming off a 2-point loss to Syracuse last time out, after knocking off #11 Florida State in their previous contest. The Tar Heels have alternated wins and losses over their last four outings, also beating Louisville by 45, but losing to a bad Marquette team by 13.

Armando Bacot led the way against the Orange with 18 points and 15 rebounds, while Garrison Brooks splashed 11, and Caleb Love added 10. North Carolina was plus 20 in the rebounding department, but a 38.2% field-goal percentage, including 4-of-20 from beyond the arc, and 20 turnovers were too much to overcome.

Strong rebounding numbers are nothing new to the Tar Heels, as they lead the entire nation in offensive boards. They feature one of the most talented group of bigs in college basketball, with Bacot, Brooks and Day’Ron Sharpe all averaging double-digit points and at least 7 rebounds per game.

The trio combined for 39 points and 21 boards in their first meeting with Duke, helping the Tar Heels gobble up 14 offensive rebounds that led to multiple second chance buckets.

Roll With UNC

This is perhaps the first ever bubble showdown between these two storied rivals, and while Duke teased us for a brief period of time after Jalen Johnson left the team, they’re back to being underachievers. Nothing would be more fitting than their biggest rival virtually knocking them out of tournament contention, and it’s hard to envision a scenario that ends differently.

YouTube video

The Blue Devils simply don’t have an answer for UNC’s size down low, and even if they somehow manage to contain the bigs, Love already proved he can shoulder the offensive load. The Freshman poured in 25 points in their first meeting, helping the Tar Heels shoot 53.1% from the field, and 10-of-15 (66.7%) from beyond the arc.

Pick: North Carolina Tar Heels -3 (-115)

Author Image