North Carolina at Duke Picks and NCAA Basketball Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 2/13/2013
Thanks to the struggles of North Carolina — at least compared to what we usually expect from them — this is perhaps not the epic battle that this game usually is. It’s still UNC vs. Duke, though, and even at its worst this blood feud is as good as any series in the country.
Duke’s strength is this one has been more the norm than the exception in recent years. Since 1998 the Blue Devils are 22-11 against North Carolina. The last time they met, though, North Carolina dominated Duke, 88-70, in March in a surprisingly one-sided game. That led to a split of the season series — the seventh time in the last 12 years that that has happened.
North Carolina at Duke Betting storylines
North Carolina has largely been playing well lately with six wins in eight games. That progress took a big setback on Saturday in Miami, though. They lost 87-61, and that score was, frankly, flattering. The shockingly strong Hurricanes hit a school-record 15 three-pointers and basically did whatever they wanted to in that game. If they aren’t dramatically better than they were on the weekend then this game could get really, really ugly. That has really been the biggest issue for the Tar Heels — they have talent when they are firing, but they don’t always show up when they need to.
A big key for the Tar Heels in this one is freshman point guard Marcus Paige. He had a strong start to the season but is shooting a pitiful 28 percent in his last 10 games and is just playing without much confidence or swagger. Quinn Cook is playing well for Duke, and he is a rough matchup for Paige, so the freshman will really have to find something that has been lacking in this game to make this game interesting. One thing Paige has excelled at is making things happen off of turnovers, and his team is outstanding at forcing turnovers. Duke protects the ball very well, though, so the Tar Heels likely won’t be as effective as usual on that front. That will make it hard for Paige to gain any momentum and for the Tar Heels to have their day here.
Mason Plumlee is in the zone right now. He was named the top player in the ACC last week after averaging 24.5 points and 9.5 assists per game in two games. Last time these teams met, Plumlee had 17 and 11, so he will not be short of confidence in this one. The Tar Heels don’t really have a strong matchup for Plumlee. They also could have concerns about matching his points. Sophomore James Michael McAdoo is the top scorer for the team, but he is coming off his second single-digit scoring game of the season on Saturday, and just plain looked bad in that one. His confidence is short in a game that he can’t afford that, so it’s yet another concern to add to the list for the visitors in this one.
North Carolina at Duke NCAA Basketball Odds and Betting Trends
The road team is 9-2 ATS in the last 11 games between these teams. Six of the last eight meetings have gone “under” the total. Duke has gone “over” the total in six of their last eight games.
North Carolina at Duke Picks and Betting Predictions
Duke is going to win this game. That is the likely outcome. The question, though, is whether they can run away with it — which they will need to do to cover this spread. I’m not convinced they will. Missing Ryan Kelly will hurt them defensively here. Roy Williams will have his team up for this one, and the Tar Heels will play with a stronger effort and will get better offensive play as a result. I think Duke can win by six or eight, but 12 is too many. North Carolina is the pick.
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