Arguably the best rivalry in college basketball pits the North Carolina Tar Heels against the Duke Blue Devils. The two meet twice a year (not including the postseason) and Wednesday’s matchup marks the first of the two games this year. Just to add to the drama of this rivalry, both teams enter with top-10 rankings as well. Duke’s star-studded group of freshmen led by Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett hold the No. 1 spot with a 23-2 record while UNC is No. 8 at 20-5 overall.
Whenever these two meet it’s a game that takes center stage, but for the Tar Heels, this is a big opportunity for them to move level with Duke and the Virginia Cavaliers atop the ACC standings. Roy Williams’ squad is 10-2 in conference play while Mike Krzyzewski and company boast an 11-1 record.
As the NCAA revealed, North Carolina holds a 137-111 edge in terms of all-time record in this series and picked up the most recent win in the semifinals of last year’s ACC tournament. Over the last 10 meetings, Duke owns a narrow 6-4 record with a 5-4-1 record against the spread.
We’re going to take a look at the latest betting line, over/under and a prediction on Wednesday’s marquee matchup between the two conference rivals.
UNC vs. Duke Betting Line & Over/Under
*Betting information from Bovada and provided by Odds Shark
- North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Duke Blue Devils (-9 at -105)
- Over/Under: 166.5 (-110)
The spread actually started with Duke as -9.5 point favorites but came down a bit early on. With the game being played at Cameron Indoor Stadium, it can’t be considered all that surprising to see the Blue Devils as heavy favorites, as Coach K’s team has a 14-1 home record. Their only loss came in overtime to the Syracuse Orange by a score of 95-91 back on January 14.
While the Blue Devils have been great at home, North Carolina has a 9-2 record on the road this year, and have also posted a 9-2 mark against the spread away from the Dean Dome. Beyond that, the Tar Heels have covered the spread in two of the last three games in this matchup, but Duke has a starting unit that’s on another level compared to most years.
UNC has been led by the strong play of Cameron Johnson, Coby White and Luke Maye, who will have their hands full in this game. Along with Williamson and Barrett, Duke has Cam Reddish and Tre Jones to bolster their starting five and create the best core in college basketball.
UNC vs. Duke Prediction
Although the Blue Devils have now won nine-straight games entering Wednesday’s matchup, they’ve posted just a 5-5 record against the spread and a 2-4 mark ATS on their home floor. They’ve failed to cover in each of the last two games, which came after a road win against Virginia as two-point underdogs.
On the other side, the Tar Heels are 4-0 ATS on the road over their most recent 10-game stretch and won all four of those matchups. We know meetings in this series are almost always tight, but one interesting thing to note is each of Duke’s two victories in the past four against North Carolina has come by exactly 10 points. Obviously, with the line floating right around that number, it certainly stands out from a betting perspective.
Regardless, UNC has been rolling on the road of late and I’m buying the hype of their hot stretch on the road. I’m taking Duke to get the win, but I think it’ll be a narrow victory that comes down the wire.
Prediction: Duke Blue Devils 84, North Carolina Tar Heels 80 (UNC +9)