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UNC vs Duke Prediction, Odds & Picks (Saturday, Mar .9)

Brady Trettenero

by Brady Trettenero in College Basketball

Updated Mar 9, 2024 · 10:21 AM PST

North Carolina Tar Heels guard Cormac Ryan with the ball as Duke Blue Devils guard Jeremy Roach defends
Feb 3, 2024; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard Cormac Ryan (3) with the ball as Duke Blue Devils guard Jeremy Roach (3) defends in the second half at Dean E. Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
  • UNC vs Duke goes down Saturday afternoon in college basketball action
  • The latest NCAAB odds favor Duke by a slim margin over their NC rivals
  • Read below for UNC vs Duke expert predictions, picks and odds

The biggest rivalry in college basketball takes center stage once again as the No. 7 North Carolina Tar Heels (24-6, 16-3 ACC) visit the No. 9 Duke Blue Devils (24-6, 15-4 ACC) on Saturday night. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. ET at Cameron Indoor Stadium with the game televised on ESPN.

The Blue Devils are currently 5.5-point home favorites with the over/under total at 150.5 points. We’ve made our UNC vs Duke prediction to help you place an educated wager tonight.

There are major ACC title implications on the line. North Carolina has already clinched at least a share of the regular season crown and can win it outright with a victory. Meanwhile, Duke is looking to avenge last month’s 93-84 loss in Chapel Hill and earn a share of the title with a win on their home floor.

UNC vs Duke Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
North Carolina +5.5 (-115) +185 Over 150.5 (-105)
Duke -5.5 (-105) -225 Under 150.5 (-115)

In the North Carolina vs Duke odds, the Blue Devils are -225 favorites on the moneyline, meaning they have 69% implied win probability.

The latest March Madness 2024 odds price Duke just inside the top-10 favorites at +2500. NC’s RJ Davis, meanwhile, is a top-three favorite in the 2024 Wooden Award odds.


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North Carolina Betting Analysis

North Carolina enters on a five-game winning streak after blasting Notre Dame 84-51 on Tuesday to wrap up a three-game homestand. The Tar Heels have now won 10 of their last 11 overall. Their only loss in that span was a shocking 77-69 home upset to Clemson on February 11th, just after the big win over Duke.

For North Carolina, it all starts with their dynamic duo of RJ Davis and Armando Bacot. Davis, a 6’0″ senior guard, leads the team in scoring at 21.5 points per game. He’s an excellent three-point shooter at 41.7% on high volume. Davis poured in 17 points in the first meeting with Duke

Bacot, a 6’11” senior, is a force down low, averaging a double-double with 14.0 points and 10.2 rebounds. He had a monster game against Duke last month with 25 points, 10 boards and five assists. Slowing him down will be a major key for the Blue Devils.

For North Carolina to pull off the road upset, they need to control the glass and get out in transition. The Heels are an excellent rebounding team, ranking 17th nationally in rebound rate. Bacot and transfer Harrison Ingram (9.5 rpg) are a formidable frontcourt duo on the boards. UNC’s defense fuels their offense, as they like to get out and run off missed shots and turnovers.

Duke Betting Analysis

The Blue Devils have been on a tear themselves, winning eight of nine since that loss in Chapel Hill. Their only blemish was a 71-67 road loss at Virginia on February 22nd. Duke is coming off an impressive 79-64 win at NC State on Monday where they easily covered as 6-point favorites.

Duke is led by their own star big man in 7-foot sophomore Kyle Filipowski. He tops the team in scoring (16.5 ppg), rebounding (8.1 rpg) and blocks (1.6 bpg). Filipowski had 22 points in the loss to UNC.

Senior point guard Jeremy Roach is the steady hand that makes the Blue Devils offense go. He puts up 14.3 points and 3.1 assists while shooting a scorching 44% from three. Roach had 20 points in the first clash with the Heels.

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Duke will look to exploit UNC’s perimeter defense, which has been a weakness. The Tar Heels rank outside the top 250 in defending catch-and-shoot and off-the-dribble threes, per ShotQuality. The Blue Devils are an elite three-point shooting team at 38%, so they should get plenty of good looks. They shot just 5-19 (26.3%) from deep in the first meeting – expect that to improve on their home floor.

The Blue Devils also need to take care of the ball after committing 15 turnovers compared to just nine for UNC last time out. Duke actually ranks 31st in the country in turnover rate, so that sloppy performance seems like an outlier. Roach and the Duke guards have to handle UNC’s pressure and not allow live-ball turnovers that lead to easy transition points.

UNC vs Duke Prediction

This has the makings of an instant classic between two rivals playing their best basketball late in the season. North Carolina already has a share of the ACC title and would love nothing more than to win it outright on Duke’s home court. But the Blue Devils have revenge on their minds and have been dominant at Cameron Indoor.

In the end, I give a slight edge to Duke in a game that should go down to the wire. The Blue Devils are a different team defensively compared to a month ago, allowing just 62.6 points per game during this 8-1 stretch. They have the shooters to exploit UNC’s weakness defending the three-point line and Filipowski is a tough matchup with his inside-out skills.

The atmosphere should be electric and the game will have a frenetic pace, but I think Duke makes just a few more plays down the stretch to pull out a close win and cover. Give me the Blue Devils -5 as my best bet, though I would still back them at -5.5 if the line moves. I also lean to the Over 150.5 with both teams likely to shoot better from the outside compared to the first meeting.

UNC vs Duke Pick:


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