Duke Blue Devils vs. North Carolina Tar Heels Spread Analysis, Prediction

OddsShark.comFeatured ColumnistFebruary 12, 2014

** FILE ** This is a March 29, 2008 file photo showing North Carolina fans cheering during the NCAA East Regional final basketball game against Louisville, in Charlotte, N.C. Duke only has to travel an hour from campus for the first weekend of the NCAA tournament, but the Blue Devils don't expect much of a home-court advantage. Rival North Carolina also is setting up shop in Greensboro, and the Tar Heels are expected to turn the Greensboro Coliseum into Dean Dome West, packing it with thousands of baby blue-clad fans who love nothing more than hating Duke. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)
Chuck Burton/Associated Press

* Editor Note: Game postponed due to weather.

It's another ACC showdown between the Duke Blue Devils and UNC Tar Heels, as one of college basketball's most storied rivalries takes center stage tonight.

The Blue Devils have won the last two meetings, including a 16-point rout in last year's ACC Tournament. Duke has shaken off its overtime loss at Syracuse less than two weeks ago and has won two in a row, while North Carolina comes in on a five-game winning streak.


Point Spread

Duke opened as one-point favorites, but the number was bet up to three points at some sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. The total was 151.5 mid-Wednesday. (Line updates and matchup report).


Why Duke Can Cover the Spread

In reality, the Blue Devils should thank Syracuse for beating them on Feb. 1 and the Tar Heels for their five-game win streak.

Those two things are why Duke can win and cover this game. The loss to the Orange served as a wake-up call, and the Heels showing life has the Devils' eyes wide open. There's no other focus but this game.


Why North Carolina Can Cover the Spread

Revenge is always a good intangible to have in your back pocket, but getting even for last year's conference-tournament loss isn't atop the list for the Heels. How about good ol' fashioned disrespect?

First-year ACC member Syracuse is stealing the headlines with its undefeated season, Virginia is sitting second and another first-year school in the league is in third (Pitt). Then there's Duke and North Carolina.

The Heels would simply like to make a statement that they deserve to be shorter March Madness odds than the 66-1 line they are getting, which is more than eight times the 8-1 of their despised rivals.


Power Ranks (Via Odds Shark)

  • Duke No. 1
  • UNC No. 50 


Smart Pick

As much as it would be nice to have the home underdog in an outright win, we don't see it taking place against this Duke team and against Jabari Parker. The Blue Devils are just too deep, and the fact that Parker can hurt you from anywhere on the court makes this an uneven matchup right off the bat.

The Devils have covered seven in a row in conference play, and six of their last seven at Chapel Hill. It'll be tight most of the way, but late free throws will get us the cover.



  • The total has gone UNDER in eight of the past 10 meetings
  • Both teams are on 5-0 ATS runs
  • Duke 5-0 ATS past five games as chalk


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