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Apr 01, 2022

UNC Tar Heels vs. Duke Blue Devils Picks, Predictions, Odds

The backend of Saturday’s Final Four Round at Caesars Superdome in New Orleans is a renewal of one of college basketball’s most heated rivalries with the North Carolina Tar Heels tangling with the Duke Blue Devils. This ACC showdown for a trip to the NCAA Tournament title game is slated for a 8:49 p.m. (ET) tip on TBS.

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Score Prediction

Duke 79, UNC 77

Best Bet

UNC +4 (-110)

NCAA Tournament Expert Picks | NIT Tournament Picks

UNC TAR HEELS vs. DUKE BLUE DEVILS PREDICTIONS

The Tar Heels completed their amazing run through the East Region of this year’s NCAA Tournament with a lopsided 20-point win against No. 15 Saint Peter’s, who was the biggest story in the 2022 Big Dance. North Carolina’s biggest win during the four-game run was an overtime upset over Baylor as a 5.5-point underdog.

It is only fitting that Duke is playing in this season’s Final Four in Mike Krzyzewski’s farewell tour as the team’s long-time head coach. The Blue Devils earned their way into this game by winning the West Region in impressive form. The four-game run included victories against Texas Tech and Arkansas in their last two contests.

The history alone between these two college basketball powers makes this game special regardless of the outcome. My slight straight-up lean is towards Duke riding all the momentum of Coach K’s retirement. However, North Carolina will definitely have something to say about the final outcome of this game. The fact that the Tar Heels are getting four points in such a heated rivalry appears to be a gift.

UNC TAR HEELS vs. DUKE BLUE DEVILS BETTING ODDS

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UNC TAR HEELS vs. DUKE BLUE DEVILS BETTING RESOURCES

  • Date: Saturday, April 2, 2022
  • Matchup: No. 8 vs. No. 2
  • Venue: Caesars Superdome
  • Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
  • TV-Time: TBS - 8:49 p.m. ET
  • Final Four Betting Picks

UNC TAR HEELS BETTING ANALYSIS

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

  • SU: 28-9
  • ATS: 20-16-1
  • O/U: 21-16

The Tar Heels closed out regular season play in the ACC on March 5 by beating Duke 94-81 on the road as heavy 11-point underdogs. Despite the loss to Virginia Tech in the ACC Tournament, that win has set the tone for a run all the way to the Final Four.

Going back to a 10-point win over NC State on Feb. 26 as a four-point road favorite, North Carolina continues to set the tone as a hot betting team. With that cover, it is 8-1 against the spread over its last nine games. The total has stayed UNDER in four of its previous six contests.

Yet, it did go OVER 153 points in the recent win against the Blue Devils. Current playing form is an important part of the handicapping process but everything changes in a matchup between two programs that know each other so well. The first meeting this season in Chapel Hill resulted in a North Carolina 87-67 loss as a 3.5-point underdog. The Tar Heels already know that they are good enough to win this game and the three-game season series.

They simply have to take all the emotion put of facing their bitter rivals in the Final Four. North Carolina has averaged 78.3 points per game this season but it has been all over the board in this tournament. The high was 95 points against Marquette with a low of 69 points against Saint Peter’s. The more important stat could be the team’s points-allowed average of 71.7. The Tar Heels need to do a better job on the defensive end of the court to win.

DUKE BLUE DEVILS BETTING ANALYSIS

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

  • SU: 32-6
  • ATS: 20-15-3
  • O/U: 21-17

Playing under all of the emotion of Coach K’s final season comes to a head in this game. Hollywood could not write a better script than this. While the first two games against North Carolina were not close with the road team winning with ease, this time around should be a different story. There is no need to mention current playing form as a factor.

Duke failed to cover in five-straight games prior to its 85-76 win against Michigan State in the second round as a 6.5-point favorite. The 78-73 victory against Texas Tech closed as a PICK. Sensing a date with destiny, the Blue Devils covered the 4.5 points against Arkansas with relative ease in the recent 78-69 win.

The total stayed UNDER 147.5 points against the Razorbacks after going OVER in nine of Duke’s previous 11 games. Led by five players averaging at least 11 PPG this season, the Blue Devils come into this game averaging 80.1 points a game.

They have not scored fewer than 78 points in nine of their last 10 games. Ironically enough, Duke’s last loss was also against Virginia Tech 82-67 in the ACC Tournament Championship.

Duke has won 18 of its last 19 games when facing a non-AP-ranked school on a neutral court. (AP)

INSIDE THE STATS - UNC TAR HEELS

  • Record: 28-9
  • PS/G: 78.1 (28th)
  • PA/G: 71.1 (235th)

INSIDE THE STATS - DUKE BLUE DEVILS

  • Record: 32-6
  • PS/G: 80.1 (8th)
  • PA/G: 67.4 (129th)

KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH

  • UNC: Armando Bacot - F (16.5 ppg, 12.8 rpg)
  • UNC: Caleb Love - G (15.7 ppg)
  • DUKE: Paolo Banchero - F (17.1 ppg, 7.7 rpg)
  • DUKE: Wendell Moore - F (13.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 4.4 apg)

UNC TAR HEELS vs. DUKE BLUE DEVILS BETTING CONCLUSION

This script will write itself over 40 minutes of play this Saturday night. A blowout either way would not be a fitting ending so I am betting on a nail-biter that might just come down to which team controls the final possession.

UNC TAR HEELS vs. DUKE BLUE DEVILS BETTING TRENDS

  • Duke has won 18 of its last 19 games when facing a non-AP-ranked school on a neutral court.
  • The last six meetings have produced 154 total points or more.
  • UNC has scored 73 points or less in six straight games when playing on a neutral court at night.
  • UNC has lost 1H in 14 of its last 16 games when facing an AP-ranked school.
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