UNC vs. Duke Predictions, Odds

  • February 6, 2021
  • By Thom Cunningham
  • VegasInsider.com

The North Carolina Tar Heels enter a huge rivalry game on Saturday, as they travel to Durham to take on the Duke Blue Devils. Tip for this ACC game is scheduled for 6 p.m. (ET) and will air on ESPN.



UNC-Duke Betting Odds

Line Movements

  • Spread: Duke -3
  • Money-Line: Duke -165 UNC +145
  • Total: 144.5

Odds Subject to Change

Duke enters as the home favorite, given a -3-point spread. Both schools have almost no conviction in covering this season, as UNC is 6-11 on the ATS while Duke is 3-10.

The point total is set at 144.5, which UNC goes UNDER on more times than not. UNC has an O/U of 6-11 this season, while Duke is split at 6-6-1.

Betting Analysis – UNC Tar Heels

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 11-6
  • ATS: 6-10-1
  • SU - Home: 6-1
  • SU - Away: 5-5
  • O/U: 6-11

This is a battle between two very young teams, both still learning and improving as the season progresses. UNC has five freshmen as their top seven scorers, along with a sophomore in Armando Bacot.

Bacot averages 11.9 points per game and 7.5 rebounds. Senior Garrison Brooks is one of three Tar Heels with a double-digit point total average. Brooks is the experienced veteran of the group, but outside of Leakey Black, he is the only one.

Black is a bit inconsistent this season, but the five freshmen mentioned show a lot of potential moving forward. Caleb Love stands out from the bunch, averaging over 10 points per game in his first season with the Tar Heels.

Day'Ron Sharpe and R.J. Davis have also played wel,l each averaging at least 8.5 points per game. Sharpe is the team leader in rebounds with 7.7 per game, while Love averages 3.1 assists per game, which is a team high.

As the season progresses for UNC, the players are becoming more comfortable in their roles while gaining experience as well. The recent loss to Clemson is a minor setback, as the Tar Heels have won six of their last eight games. The two losses have come to FSU and Clemson though, so there is still work to be done when facing a March Madness-caliber squad.

UNC’s biggest strength is their ability to rebound in game, which is a glaring weakness for the Blue Devils. North Carolina ranks first in the conference in both offensive and total rebounds, while ranking second nationally in both categories. Look for UNC to dominate the paint, as one of Duke’s biggest weaknesses is being able to play physically inside.

Betting Analysis –Duke Blue Devils

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 7-6
  • ATS: 3-10
  • SU - Home: 6-2
  • SU - Away: 1-4
  • O/U: 6-6-1

Duke has been nothing short of a disaster this season, but they are experiencing youth issues much like UNC. Duke has five underclassmen as their top five scorers, three of the five being freshman.

The team is led by Matthew Hurt, who averages 18.8 points per game to go along with 7.3 rebounds. Hurt typically delivers on every night, as it mainly comes down to D.J. Steward, Jalen Johnson, and Jeremy Roach to fill in the gaps.

Johnson looks to be back in form after missing a few games earlier this season, so expect his production to increase as more games are being played. He only managed to see the free-throw line once against Miami though, after getting to the charity stripe 22 times in the four games prior.

With UNC being an elite rebounding team, Duke will need Johnson to help out Hurt in the paint. Expect Johnson to get to the charity stripe way more times than he did against Miami, but he will still need to be productive on the glass and prevent UNC from getting second chance opportunities.

As cliché as it sounds, the superstars will have to carry Duke for a victory. Hurt and Johnson are the two best players on the team, and coincidentally are the two best rebounders. Duke only survives this game if Hurt and Johnson are able to win the glass game against one of the nations top rebounding teams.

Inside the Stats – UNC Tar Heels

  • PS/G: 73.1 (145th)
  • PA/G: 69.5 (161st)
  • Off Rtg: 102.2 (176th)
  • Def Rtg: 97.2 (130th)

Inside the Stats – Duke Blue Devils

  • PS/G: 74.2 (125th)
  • PA/G: 70.7 (194th)
  • Off Rtg: 105.5 (106th)
  • Def Rtg: 100.4 (215th)

Key Players to Watch

  • UNC - Armando Bacot (11.9 PPG, 7.5 RPG)
  • UNC - Garrison Brooks (10.5 PPG, 7.2 RPG)
  • DUKE - Matthew Hurt (18.8 PPG, 7.3 RPG)
  • DUKE - D.J. Steward (13.5 PPG, 4.7 RPG)

UNC-Duke Predictions

UNC's road struggles battle Duke's ATS struggles, so which do you favor? With both schools showing no reason to back the spread, go to the point total. The kind 144.5 should be taken OVER, as both schools need to touch 70 points with two or so buckets from there.

The thought is that Duke has scored 75 points or more in six of eight home games this season, while UNC has scored 75 points or more in five of six games. Duke and UNC score about 73 points per game, while allowing roughly 70. Using all that information, feel free to go OVER as the spread is untrustworthy for both schools.

  • Score Prediction: Duke 73 UNC 72
  • Best Bets: OVER

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