College Basketball Betting – Duke Blue Devils at North Carolina Tar Heels

Written by:
Phil Simon
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Don’t let the records fool you when these teams get together. We’re used to seeing the Duke Blue Devils and North Carolina Tar Heels fighting for the top of the ACC regular season standings and NCAA Tournament positioning. That’s the case for Coach K’s squad, which enters with a 19-3 overall record. It’s been a difficult time down Tobacco Road with UNC experiencing its worst season in nearly two decades. The Heels enter this one having lost two straight and seven of their last nine outings, and they are trying to stay out of the basement in the conference standings.  CLAIM YOUR WELCOME BONUS HERE - MAXIMUM $1000

Duke Blue Devils at North Carolina Tar Heels

Date and Time: Saturday, February 8, 2020, 6 p.m. ET

Location: Dean E. Smith Center, Chapel Hill, NC

Opening College Basketball Odds: Check Back Later

Duke at North Carolina TV Coverage: ESPN

Odds Analysis

Only once in the last 16 meetings has the spread closed at double-digits. With the Dean Dome hosting this matchup we probably won’t get that high, but the Dookies are certainly going to be a heavy favorite when the line surfaces.  Duke has only three losses on the season but two of those came in league play with one to Louisville, leaving the Blue Devils looking up to the Cardinals in the ACC standings. They are 6-1 SU and 4-3 ATS in their seven true road games. The Heels need to figure things out or they’ll miss the NCAA Tournament for the first time in a decade. They dropped their last two games and seven of nine, but they are 4-1 ATS in their last five.

Duke Blue Devils

The names have changed but the results remain the same. With a new cast of one-and-doners the Dookies are up to their old tricks. One more victory would put them at the 20-win mark for a 24th consecutive season. Following back-to-back losses at Clemson and at home to Louisville in mid-January, Duke has reeled off four straight wins. They nearly had the streak ended last time out, but a second half rally allowed them to overcome Boston College on the road.

Falling behind by double digits in the first half, the Blue Devils may have been looking ahead to their annual slugfest with UNC. But they realized there was a game to play and overcame a rough shooting night to get the 63-55 win, though they failed to cover as a 13.5-point favorite. Duke shot just 37.7 percent and was 1 of 15 from three-point range in their lowest scoring game of the season. They did enough defensively, though, to make sure the streak would continue.

Even with that weak effort against BC the Dookies possess one of the most potent offenses in college basketball. They lead the ACC and rank third nationally with 82.5 points per game with Vernon Carey Jr. leading the way with 17.8 per game. Cassius Stanley and Matthew Hurt, two other first year players, also score in double figures. It was grizzled veteran Tre Jones who helped escape BC with a victory. The sophomore hit 7 of 15 shots for a team-best 18 points. He averages 15.2 points and leads the ACC with 6.7 assists per game.

North Carolina Tar Heels

There probably isn’t enough time left in the regular season to make a run, but the Heels can try and get some momentum going for the conference tournament where a title would allow them to avoid missing the big dance. One reason for optimism is the return of Cole Anthony, who missed an extended length of time to injury. Not surprisingly UNC struggled in his absence. It is a surprise that they lost both games since his return.

Injuries have been a big issue for UNC this season. A lack of depth when those ailments hit also didn’t help. Anthony’s play since returning has done little to make us think the Heels can suddenly start winning games. But make no mistake they are a better team with him on the floor. They went 4-8 in Anthony’s absence and he’s obviously rusty from the time off. His presence so far has done little fix the team’s offensive troubles.

Anthony scored 26 points against BC in his first game since Dec. 8, but he was just 5 of 14 shooting. He was 5 of 22 for 16 points in a loss to Florida State last time out as the entire team struggled. The Heels shot 31 percent from the field and failed to score at least 60 points for the second time in six games. That just doesn’t happen in Chapel Hill. And there’s a chance third-leading scorer Brandon Robinson doesn’t play after tweaking his ankle and skipping the FSU game.

Bet Duke at North Carolina at BookMaker.eu

This game probably shouldn’t be close with Duke having the advantage. However, in a rivalry game of this magnitude with UNC being a home dog, expect the Heels to come out balling. Getting Anthony back in the lineup certainly helps the offensive outlook, but we’ve seen the Heels run out of gas in the second half of games. Once the adrenalin wears off I expect the Blue Devils to take over with their depth in a game that points to going over the total.

College Basketball Score Prediction: Duke 84, North Carolina 73

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- Phil Simon, Gambling911.com

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