With a pending storyline worthy of a $100 million blockbuster film budget, the two-seeded Duke Blue Devils (32-6) are looking to finish production, as they open up as the odds-on favorite (+160, DraftKings) to cut down the nets in New Orleans and send legendary retiring coach Mike Krzyzewski off as a national champion.
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The Blue Devils (-4 DraftKings) tipoff Saturday night at approximately 8:49 PM ET against North Carolina (27-9, who spoiled Coach K’s farewell party at Cameron Indoor Stadium in his final home game on the bench, embarrassing the Blue Devils, 94-81, and adding to a Tar Heels tear, in which they’ve won 10 of their last 11 games.
Both teams’ last loss came at the hands of ACC champion Virginia Tech, which did not affect Duke much in seeding, but sent UNC to the eighth-seeded slot. The Armando Bacot-led Tar Heels have gone on stunning run in this year’s tournament, highlighted by a 93-86 overtime winner over last year’s NCAA champion, and this year’s one-seed Baylor.
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Bacot has propelled the Tar Heels, averaging a team-best 16.5 PPG and 12.8 RPG, while Duke’s ship is propelled by future NBA lottery pick Paolo Banchero, who has rattled off 17 PPG and 7.7 RPG, including a masterful 22-point showcase versus Texas Tech in the Elite 8.
With so much already printed in the book of the greatest basketball rivalry on earth, this will be the first chapter of Duke and UNC that both teams will be meeting in the Final Four. It only took 257 games to finally get there.
Here are the lines for Duke-UNC at DraftKings Sportsbook:
Spread: Duke -4 (-110)
Moneyline: Duke -190, UNC +160
Over/Under: 151 (-110)
Duke-UNC Bets We Like
Duke -4 (-110) DraftKings Promo
It may seem like a square bet, but sometimes squares and winning unite. With the eighth-best scoring offense in college basketball, the Blue Devils know how to get up on you, and fast. Boasting an assist/turnover ratio of +1.59 — good for third-best in the country — they know how to take care of the rock and make the best of their possessions. Let’s not forget that this Duke team thrashed UNC on their homecourt by 20 on Feb. 5.
Duke under 77.5 team total (-110) Draft Kings
While we love Duke to win this game, we most certainly do not expect to see the same kind of high-flying scoring we saw in the first two installments of this matchup, which included 87 points and 81 points from the Blue Devils. UNC has tightened up their defensive lugnuts in the tournament, holding Marquette to 63 points, UCLA to 66 points and St. Peter’s to an atrocious 49 points. Only UCLA has shot above 35% on the Tar Heels in the tournament but corralled just eight offensive rebounds while adding just six second-chance points.
Coach K will get tournament title number six. Led by the walking tournament double-double Banchero, the Blue Devils will slow tempo, get their looks and force UNC — a team that finished near the bottom of the ACC in turnovers this season — into inescapable mistakes. The ultimate deciding factor? Free throws. Duke has one of the best averages in the country in FT shooting and has made the most (486). Let’s add a few more Saturday to ice this thing.