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Duke at North Carolina

**Duke at North Carolina**

--As of early Friday night, most books had North Carolina (22-8 SU, 19-9 ATS) as a 1.5-point home favorite. One offshore had the total at 152.5.

--Since losing at Virginia two Thursdays ago, Duke (26-4 SU, 16-14 ATS) has posted back-to-back home wins. The Blue Devils cooled off Miami last Saturday behind an epic performance from senior power forward Ryan Kelly, who returned to the lineup after missing more than a month with a foot injury. All Kelly did was score a career-high 36 points to lead his team to a 79-76 win over the Hurricanes, who covered the spread as 7.5-point underdogs.

--Following a lackluster first half that saw it with just a three-point lead at intermission, Duke exploded in the second half to run Va. Tech out of the gym in an 85-57 triumph as a 19.5-point home favorite. The best wager was the Blue Devils -10.5 for second-half bets as they outscored the Hokies 47-22. Seth Curry scored a team-high 20 points on Senior Night, draining 5-of-9 shots from 3-point range. Kelly finished with 18 points, nine rebounds and five assists compared to only one turnover.

--When these bitter ACC adversaries met on Feb. 13, Duke captured a 73-68 home win but the Tar Heels took the cash as 10.5-point underdogs. The 141 combined points stayed ‘under’ the 151.5-point total. Mason Plumlee led the Blue Devils with 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Quinn Cook produced 18 points, six boards and four steals. In the losing effort, P.J. Hairston finished with 23 points, eight rebounds, three assists and a pair of blocked shots.

--Although Roy Williams’s team fell short at Cameron Indoor Stadium, UNC’s season turned around for the better that night. Since then, the Tar Heels have won six in a row both SU and ATS, including Wednesday’s 79-68 win at Maryland as one-point road ‘chalk.’ Hairston was the catalyst again with 22 points and eight rebounds, while Reggie Bullock added 19 points and 12 boards.

--North Carolina has been money at home in the Dean Dome, winning 14 of its 15 games while compiling a 10-3 spread record. The Tar Heels, who are 4-1 ATS as single-digit home ‘chalk,’ suffered their lone home loss to Miami.

--UNC sophomore forward James Michael McAdoo has missed some practice time this week with a disc issue in his back, but he is ‘probable’ and will play. McAdoo averages 14.6 points and 7.8 rebounds per game.

--Plumlee has been dynamite during his senior campaign, averaging team-highs in scoring (17.0 PPG), rebounding (10.2 RPG), field-goal percentage (58.5%) and blocked shots (1.6 per game). Curry shares team-high scoring honors with a 17.0 PPG average. The senior guard is making 43.9 percent of his shots from beyond the arc.

--Regardless of what Duke does in the ACC Tournament, I think a win over UNC will wrap up a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Blue Devils are No. 1 in the RPI Rankings thanks to a 5-1 record against the RPI Top 25 and an 8-2 ledger against the RPI Top 50. They are 13-4 versus RPI Top 100 foes.

--UNC has an RPI of 18 despite losing five of its six games against the RPI Top 25. The Tar Heels are 2-6 against the RPI Top 50, 8-7 versus the Top 100.

--Duke has only been an underdog twice this season, going 1-1 both SU and ATS. The Blue Devils beat Louisville 76-71 as one-point ‘dogs in the Bahamas back on Nov. 24. They lost a 73-68 decision at Virginia as one-point puppies.

--The ‘over’ is 16-13 overall for Duke, 5-3 in its eight true road assignments.

--The ‘under’ has cashed in five consecutive UNC games to improve to 16-11 overall, 7-6 in its home games.

--The ‘under’ is 7-2 in the last nine head-to-head meetings between these schools.

--Tip-off is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

--Akron’s at-large hopes and its chances of winning the MAC Tournament took a huge hit Thursday with the indefinite suspension of starting point guard Alex Abreu, who was arrested along with another man after accepting a package with five pounds of marijuana from undercover officers. Abreu is facing multiple third-degree felony charges. He was averaging 10.3 points and 6.0 assists per game. has Florida installed as a -140 favorite to win next week’s SEC Tournament in Nashville.

--Sportsbook has Indiana as the 5/1 ‘chalk’ to win the NCAA Tournament, followed by Duke (6/1), Florida (7/1), Louisville (7/1), Michigan (8/1), Miami (8/1), Georgetown (10/1), Gonzaga (10/1) and Kansas (10/1).

--Georgia owns an 11-1 spread record in its last 12 games. On the quick turnaround after beating Kentucky at home Thursday night, the Bulldogs are seven-point underdogs Saturday at Alabama.

--Like UGA, Saint Louis is 11-1 ATS in its last 12 games. The Billikens had won 11 in a row both SU and ATS until losing in overtime at Xavier on Wednesday. They host LaSalle on Saturday as seven-point favorites. 

--Georgetown saw its 11-game winning streak snapped this week at Villanova. The Hoyas will be in bounce-back mode Saturday when they host Syracuse as 1.5-point home favorites.

--Sportsbook has Michigan sophomore point guard listed as the -140 favorite to win National Player of the Year honors. The website has two other players – Indiana’s Victor Oladipo (+220) and Georgetown’s Otto Porter Jr. (+300) – on the board and has the ‘field’ bet at 3/1.

--UNC’s future number at Sportsbook is 40/1.

--Boise St. owns an 8-1 spread record in its last nine games. The Broncos, who lost a 63-62 decision at San Diego St. earlier this season, are two-point home favorites Saturday versus the Aztecs. 

For daily sports gambling analysis, follow Brian Edwards on twitter at Vegasbedwards.

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