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Duke vs. UNC: Betting Odds and Predictions

Jeff GrantContributor IFebruary 8, 2012

Duke vs. UNC: Betting Odds and Predictions

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    The Duke Blue Devils (19-4) and North Carolina Tar Heels (20-3) will meet up for the first time on Wednesday night in their Atlantic Coast Conference series inside the Dean Smith Center.

    Oddsmakers opened up the Tar Heels as seven-point home favorites, but early action has landed squarely on the underdog Blue Devils, causing the betting odds to drop by a full point in most spots.

    Let's take a closer look at one of college basketball's biggest rivalries from a betting perspective.

North Carolina Tar Heels Head Coach Roy Williams

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    Versus any other opponent, the North Carolina Tar Heels would gladly open up at home against an ACC rival, but not against the Duke Blue Devils.

    During the Roy Williams era, the Tar Heels have dropped all four games when playing the first game of their electrifying rivalry in Chapel Hill.

    Sports bettors will also find that the Blue Devils are 4-1 against the spread (ATS) in their last five road games in this series.

Duke Blue Devils Coming off a Straight-Up Loss

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    There's no doubt in my mind that early bettors landed on the Duke Blue Devils due to their ability to bounce back after a loss, dropping a 78-74 overtime contest to the Miami Hurricanes as 12-point home favorites on Sunday.

    Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski has watched his program tally 14 consecutive victories off a loss since Feb. 15, 2009.

    Perhaps the most impressive part of that statistic is the margin of victory has been 14.6 points per game.

    Duke is 8-3 ATS in its last 11 games following a defeat.

Last Meeting in Chapel Hill

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    North Carolina has struggled to live up to expectations at times during the 2011-12 campaign, but nothing can jump-start a program better than beating Duke.

    The Tar Heels captured a convincing 81-67 victory over the Blue Devils as 1.5-point home favorites a year ago, while going "under" the posted total of 150.5.

    Scoring 81 points was definitely significant, considering that it was the most surrendered by Duke during the 2010-11 conference season.

    The Tar Heels average 84.1 points per season, which fits nicely with the Blue Devils being 0-2 ATS versus teams that score 77 or more points a game.

Seth Curry, Duke Blue Devils Guard

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    Duke Blue Devils guard Seth Curry is a player to watch in tonight's game, coming in scoring 12.6 points per game, while scoring in double-figures 14 times.

    The junior was instrumental in allowing the Blue Devils to win two of three meetings with the North Carolina Tar Heels last year, averaging 17.7 points per game.

    If the Tar Heels' game plan is to keep the ball out of his hands, freshman guard Austin Rivers will need to step up in his first taste of this highly-emotional rivalry.

    Rivers is leading the team in scoring with 14.5 points per game.

Prediction

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    The North Carolina Tar Heels are incredibly streaky versus the Las Vegas number, giving them value in this ACC rivalry game inside the Dean Smith Center.

    Over the last two-plus seasons, the Tar Heels are 7-3 ATS after failing to cover the spread in three or more consecutive games.

    The early move on the Duke Blue Devils is definitely warranted, but the price is right to jump on the host that's seeking revenge from last year's loss in the 2011 ACC Championship Game.

    Pick: North Carolina Tar Heels -6

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