Your Betting Guide to Duke-North Carolina

It’s not about the records; tonight’s game between Duke and North Carolina is a rivalry game that just matters. At 9 p.m., the Blue Devils will face off against their Tobacco Road neighbor in front of a sell-out crowd in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Below are the lines for tonight's game and my picks for each bet. Feel free to comment on them using the comments box below:

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Duke (-14.5)


I think that the Blue Devils will win (not exactly a controversial pick, I know), but I think that giving up 14.5 points in a rivalry game is too much. Duke beat the Tar Heels 64-54 earlier this season in Chapel Hill, but the game could easily have been closer. And even though the Blue Devils have seemed significantly more comfortable on their home court this season, it's hard to say with confidence that Duke will win by 15 or more.

(One reason for second thoughts: Duke is undefeated in 16 home games this year and has a scoring margin of +26.1 in Cameron Indoor...)

Total Points (Two Teams Combined): +/- 146

My pick: OVER

During ACC play, Duke has scored 77.6 points per game in Cameron, but against North Carolina the Blue Devils should be able to hit the 80-mark on their home floor. Still, North Carolina has the offensive talent to score at least 70 points. This line seems spot-on, and I think the total will be somewhere in the 140’s.

Kyle Singler Total Points: +/- 17.5

My Pick: OVER

Singler has averaged 18.8 points in the Blue Devils' last 14 games and has scored at least 18 points in nine of those 14 contests. At North Carolina earlier this season, he had 19 and made four of his five 3-point attempts.

But let's leave the statistics to Alex Fanaroff. Don't forget that this could possibly be Singler's last game in Cameron if he does opt to leave school early to play in the pro's, though head coach Mike Krzyzewski has said that Singler will wait until after the season to make that decision. Given Singler’s strong play as of late, he will likely rise to the occasion in what could be his last chance to beat the Tar Heels at home.

Deon Thompson Total Points: +/- 14

My Pick: UNDER

Against Duke earlier this season, Thompson had 10 points and took just seven shots. There’s certainly some luck involved with making this pick—one or two shots rattling in might just push Thompson over 14 points. But Thompson is hardly a prolific scorer: In 2010 he has just one outing with 20 points despite playing in 23 games.

Team to Score First: Duke (-140) or North Carolina (Even)

My Pick: North Carolina

First of all, what an absurd thing to bet on. Doesn't this essentially depend entirely on who wins the tip? To pick Duke, you'd have to think that the Blue Devils would score first more than 58.3 percent of the time. That's 140 divided by the sum of 100 and 140— how's that for some math? I don't have any reason to think that's true, so I'd pick the Tar Heels to put the ball in the basket first. If you’re going to bet on a coin flip, at least take the even odds.


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