North Carolina Tar Heels vs Duke Blue Devils Prediction, Spread and Trends to Watch - 04/02/2022

by James Q

North Carolina Tar Heels vs Duke Blue Devils Prediction, Spread and Trends to Watch - 04/02/2022

 
Game Time: 8:30 PM  ET, Saturday, April 2nd, 2022
Venue: Caesars Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
Where to Watch:  TBS
 

Opening NCAAB Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings Sportsbook: Duke -4; O/U 151
Caesars:  Spread:  Duke -4; O/U 151
VegasInsider:  Spread:  Duke -4; O/U 151.5
FanDuel: Spread:  Duke -4; O/U 151

Season Record

North Carolina Tar Heels:  28-9 (ACC) #8 Seed in NCAA tournament

Duke Blue Devils: 32-6 (ACC) #2 Seed in NCAA tournament

The Final Four is here.  The matchup that will get the most eyeballs and the most betting $$$ is obviously North Carolina Duke.  Longtime rivals meeting for the first time in the Final Four or ever in the NCAA tournament!!, in a legendary coach’s final game if they lose… or second final game if they win.  Coach K is like Coca-Cola.  The Duke Coach is a major brand that has always been around and has always been winning the hearts and minds of devotees.  Even if you hate Coca Cola… you can not escape knowing about it… or knowing what it is up to.  The difference of course is Colas do not retire.  Every bettor of any seriousness has a long history of betting on or against Duke during March Madness.  This season will close all the ledgers… and determine if you were up or down over 4 decades.  North Carolina will play just as major a part in this drama as Duke... They have a beaten Duke at a 55% rate all throughout history! It takes two to Tango… AND establish a point spread.

The North Carolina Tar Heels are just as blue blood as Duke.  This is the home of Micheal Jordan and James Worthy and Vince Carter and… Tyler Hansbrough.  Yes, Tyler Hansbrough may not have been a great pro, but WAS one of the best college basketball players of all-time.  The coaching tree at North Carolina is pretty amazing as well with Dean Smith, Roy Williams… and now first year Head Coach Hubert Davis preparing to beat Mike Krzyzewski like he did just three weeks ago in the final game of the season!  To get to the Final Four North Carolina had to win 4 games in a row… Marquette, Baylor, UCLA, and then St Peters.  Baylor and UCLA were tall asks but North Carolina came through with overtime against Baylor… and a comeback win over UCLA.  Saint Peters was an easy game against the most rooted-for team in NCAA history.  It’s true… No 15 SEED had ever made it that far.. And got that big of a rating in their final game in the tournament.  The Peacocks were special and the Tar Heels spanked them by 20 points… doing what Kentucky could not do. 

The Duke Blue Devils are the bluest of bloods.  Coach K made them that way.  Coach K started his career at Duke when the players would stay all four years.  He put together maybe the most infamous/famous team in college basketball history with back to back wins in 1991 and 1992… and that was after making the Final Four three seasons in a row without winning it all.  The 91 and 92 squads featured C Christian Laettner, the most despised and beloved player to pass through college hoops, PG Bobby Hurley, and SF Grant Hill.  Duke beat Kansas and Duke beat Michigan in back to back Finals.  Duke was forever on the map after that.  Coach K stayed 3 decades after that. In the decades since Coach K has had to adjust to the new one and done culture that arose in college ball… he still made the most tournaments and he built the Blue Devils into a factory that turned out multiple NBA players per season.  He has 4 on the starting roster right now!  To get here Duke had an easier ride than North Carolina with wins over Cal-State Fullerton, Michigan State, Texas Tech, and finally a surprisingly good Arkansas Razorbacks team.  

The North Carolina Tar Heels have won 9 of their last ten games… including a win over Duke.  They went 8-2 ATS during that stretch.  Their conference run has erased the hard start they had to this season.  The last time they played Duke (final game of season) on March 5th the Tar Heels won easily 94-81.  The Tar Heels had 4 different players score 20 points or more.  6’9 F Brady Manek, 6’0 G RJ Davis, 6’4 G Caleb Love, and 6’1- F Armando Bacot… The fifth starter 6’8 Guard Leaky Black only had 6 points and has not done any better in the tournament.. But he is solid on defense.  North Carolina has the chance that rivalries live for.  They can end Coach K’s career on a loss in the Final Four.  That would be bigger to every Tar Heel fan on the planet than an actual Championship would be…. Which would only be 1 game away.

The Duke Blue Devils have won 8 of their last ten games… including a loss against North Carolina.  They went 5-5 ATS during that stretch.  They didn’t cover against Cal-State Fullerton… they didn’t cover against Virginia Tech (who actually beat them)... They didn’t cover against Miami, they didn’t cover against Syracuse, and they didn’t cover against North Carolina (a game that they lost). Duke has a formidable, but young starting five.  They spread the scoring among 6’10 Forward, possible top-three pick in the coming NBA draft, Paolo Banchero, 6’5 Forward Wendell Moore Jr, 7’0 Center Mark Williams, and 6’6 Forward AJ Griffin. The fifth starter 6’1 Guard Jeremy Roach can score in double figures but doesn’t always.  Duke has the size advantage over North Carolina… and they have the single best player on the floor in Paolo Banchero… They will have to press hard to get the win though.



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North Carolina Tar Heels vs Duke Blue Devils Preview and Analysis

RECENT FORM

UNC is 28-9 on the season, but 20-16-1 ATS.  They have logged 21 Overs, 15 Unders, and 1 Push. They are 5-4 on neutral courts.

Duke is 32-6 on the season, but 20-16-2 ATS.  They have notched 21 Overs, 16 Unders, and 1 Push.  They are 8-1 on neutral courts.

OFFENSIVE ANALYSIS

North Carolina Tar Heels vs Duke Blue Devils Prediction

Our prediction for Saturday, April 2nd is… Duke 94 - North Carolina 89

Coach K has rarely lost to any team in revenge games over his career.  The guy wins and wins.  The feeling going into the game will make several of the players very tight.  Any made shot will be met with celebration while every missed shot with a wince.  The best team prepared for that pressure in all of basketball is Duke.  You can put your money anywhere… Putting it on Coach K has the best chance of return.  Both teams have identical Over/Under numbers with a lean towards the OVER.  So, parlay the Duke win with an Over… and see how it plays out.

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NCAAB Betting Trends

UNC is 33-25 versus Duke ATS since 1997.
UNC is 4-2 ATS versus Duke over the last 3 seasons.
4 of 4 games in this matchup have gone OVER.

Injury Report

UNC: F D. Garcia and G A. Harris have been out for months now.  They do not move the needle.

Duke: No injuries to report.

Starting Lineup

UNC, Leaky Black, Caleb Love, RJ Davis, Armando Bacot, Brady Manek

Duke: Wendell Moore Jr, Jeremy Roach, Paolo Banchero, Mark Williams, AJ Griffin


Coaches

UNC:  Hubert Davis,  taking on a long lineage of greatness and doing well!
Duke:  Coach K,  in what could be the last time!




James Q

About the Author:

James Q. has been involved with sports and gambling his entire life. A former division 1 scholarship basketball player, James understands sports (and especially basketball) inside-and-out. Following his basketball playing days, James parlayed his gambling skills into a semi-pro poker career. James resides in Los Angeles, and especially loves the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Rams, and Los Angeles Dodgers. And when he isn't betting on sports (and writing about it), James can be found performing stand-up comedy on the Sunset Strip.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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