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Duke Blue Devils vs. North Carolina Tar Heels Prediction: Blue Blood Battle

Written by: Tanner Kern
Published March 9, 2024
10 min read

The biggest blue-blood rivalry in college basketball will occur Saturday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Duke Blue Devils will host the North Carolina Tar Heels in a game that will decide the ACC regular season title. 

If Duke wins, they will share the championship with North Carolina. The Tar Heels have already clinched at least a share of the title and will win it outright if they're victorious on Sunday. North Carolina beat Duke in Chapel Hill earlier this season in a game that came down to the wire.

We expect another competitive matchup, as this game is typically close, regardless of the talent on each side. The opening tip is scheduled for 6:30 PM ET on ESPN. Here, we will break down the matchup and give our best bets for this blue-blood battle.

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Duke vs. North Carolina Betting Odds for Saturday, March 9th

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Duke is listed as a 4.5-point favorite at home on Saturday. However, they were beaten by North Carolina earlier in the year, so their -194 price on the moneyline at FanDuel Sportsbook is surprising. 

North Carolina beat Duke at Cameron Indoor last season, and the program is improved. The Tar Heels are priced at +160 on the moneyline, and the total is set at 150.5. 

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook. Use our link to earn Bonus Bets when signing up with FanDuel Sportsbook!

Teams Spread Moneyline Total 
North Carolina Tar Heels +4.5 (-108) +160 Over 150.5 (-110)
Duke Blue Devils -4.5 (-112) -194 Under 150.5 (-110)

Duke vs. North Carolina Preview

North Carolina currently owns the ACC and will at least be a co-regular season champion. The Tar Heels have been successful at Cameron Indoor, so don’t expect them to back down in a hostile road environment. 

The Tar Heels have dominated at the perfect time, winning five straight games. They’ve won in various ways and have been nearly unstoppable on offense. The team is scoring 81.5 points per game, which leads the ACC. 

The reason they have scored so many points is because they take care of the basketball. The team makes the most of their possessions, shooting 44.8% from the floor. Their three-point shooting can be deadly, but it’s not nearly as consistent as their play in the paint. 

Armando Bacot sets the tone for the Tar Heels. The senior elected to return to school, which has worked wonders for his draft stock. At 6’11” and 240 pounds, even the best big men in the ACC have struggled to guard the forward. 

Bacot averages a 14-10 double-double while shooting 54.7% from the field. RJ Davis is the other player to watch for the Tar Heels. He recorded 22 points in the team’s last game against Notre Dame. 

He was 9 of 15 from the field and contributed in every facet of the game. Davis and Bacot's combination makes it hard for opponents to find a rhythm. These two players can score and are incredibly physical on defense. 

Even though Duke is favored, the Blue Devils must play their best game to beat the Tar Heels. The Blue Devils have won three games in a row and averaged just over 80 points per game. 

Duke, led by Jeremy Roach, has been very efficient from the field. Roach is coming off a fantastic game against North Carolina State, where he dropped 21 points.

Roach was 9-17 from the floor but struggled from the three-point line. Three-point shooting allows the Blue Devils to beat North Carolina, as the Tar Heels have struggled in this category. 

Kyle Filipowski is the other player who will be asked to step up for Duke. He scored 22 points in his first game against Duke but didn’t have an assist and looked outmatched in the paint. 

Filipowski shoots 50.7% from the field but must contribute on the glass. If Filipwoski is a dominant rebounder, it could shift the advantage to the Blue Devils at home.  

Duke vs. North Carolina Prediction and Betting Pick

The team that wins the rebounding battle and controls the paint gives their team the best chance to win on Saturday. North Carolina dominated the first half against Duke earlier this year and answered every run the Blue Devils tried to make in the game. 

However, this matchup will occur at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Tar Heels pulled off the upset last season, and they’re positioned to do it again. It will take a good start, but we trust Bacot and Roach, who have experience in this blue-blood rivalry. 

Duke Blue Devils vs. North Carolina Tar Heels Pick: UNC +4.5 (-110) at FanDuel Sportsbook

How to Watch Duke vs. North Carolina

  • When: Saturday, March 9th @ 6:30 PM ET

  • Where: Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, NC

  • TV: ESPN

  • Streaming: ESPN+

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AUTHOR

Tanner Kern

353 Articles

Tanner Kern has been working in the betting industry since 2020. He currently is a social media content creator at DraftKings and contributes to multiple sites in addition to WSN, including Forbes and VSiN. He is also the cohost of the podcast Ride the Line at WSN.

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