By Greg Dempson
One of the best rivalries in all of sports is tonight’s Tobacco Road clash between Duke and North Carolina. Tip time is 9:00 ET on ESPN. Duke has won three in a row vs. North Carolina and 11 out of the last 17 straight up. Duke fell out of the Top–25 losing three out of four including home losses to Notre Dame and Syracuse.
In their most recent road contest vs. a ranked opponent, Duke lost at Miami, (80–69,) as 4 point dogs. Tonight’s game will indeed tell the tale for Duke, ranked #19, and off back-to-back victories vs. two ranked opponents, Louisville and Virginia. Grayson Allen’s bank shot buzzer beater was the difference in their 63–62 win vs. Virginia on Saturday.
The Tar Heels are ranked #4 and sit on top on the ACC and boast a perfect straight up record at home, 13–0, but only 5–7 ATS. They are averaging 87.2 points on 49.6% from the floor. North Carolina averages 41 points in the paint while Duke holds opponents to an average of 36. Each team is competent at the free throw line while Duke gets the nod when shooting 3’s averaging 9 made per game.
This line opened at – 6.5 in favor of the Tar Heels and has climbed to –7.5. I make this line favoring the home team at – 4.5 points.
The total has dipped from an opening number of 164 to 162. Duke averages 77.5 PPG on the road this season and if they can score 78 points if you bet on the dog and the over you cannot lose both the side and total. It would be tough for me to play this game under the total, especially if the score is close near the end as free throws at games’ end could push the game over 162.
From Beyond the Arc
· The Blue Devils are 28–14 straight up vs. North Carolina including 11–7 at Chapel Hill.
· The Tar Heels are 02–10 ATS after a game where they made 55% or more of their shots.
· The past two seasons Duke is10–01 ATS in road games after five straight games when they’ve committed 14 or less turnovers.
· North Carolina is 03–11 ATS in home games against conference opponents the last two seasons.
· The Blue Devils are 63–32 ATS and +27.80-units off a straight up home win but a non cover ATS.
· The Tar Heels are 04–15 ATS after having won 12 or more of their last 15 games.
· The past two seasons Duke is 11–03 ATS vs. top caliber teams that out score their opponents by 12+ points per game.
· From game 16 out North Carolina is only 03–11 ATS vs. good shooting teams that make 45% of their shots the past two seasons.
· This season the Blue Devils are 7–1 ATS vs. teams who average 40 or more rebounds per game on the season.
· Play against excellent free throw shooting teams at home as a favorite or pick that make 73% or more of their free throws when playing against a good free throw shooting team that makes 69–73% of their free throws, after a game where a team made 50% of their 3 point shots or better. This system is 64–38 = 63% ATS the past five seasons.
Duke at North Carolina Pick
My Every Edge selection for tonight is on the Duke Blue Devils getting +7.5 or more points.