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Prop bets for Duke football vs. North Carolina

Duke will need to keep up with the Tar Heels through the air.
Duke will need to keep up with the Tar Heels through the air.

Every week the Blue Zone gives you our can't lose prop bets for the upcoming football game:

Duke vs. North Carolina (-12)

In a shocking turn of events, North Carolina will enter its crosstown showdown with the Blue Devils this weekend as an unranked team struggling to find itself after two crushing losses in three weeks. Duke, on the other hand, is flying high: the dynamic duo of Deon Jackson and Mataeo Durant outdid themselves once again in Saturday’s 53-point outburst against Charlotte. Nonetheless, the Tar Heels will take the field as heavy road favorites Saturday night as they look to keep the Victory Bell in Chapel Hill following last year’s surprisingly close 20-17 victory. With recency bias favoring the Blue Devils, it’s easy to overlook the fact that the Tar Heel offense might have the firepower to overwhelm the home team all by itself. Although they left both Charlottesville and Tallahassee empty-handed, they put up 41 points against Virginia after outscoring the Seminoles 21-0 in the second half two weeks prior. As for the wins, the Tar Heels are averaging higher than 40 points per game in victories this fall. Duke may have looked like an offensive juggernaut in wins against poor teams, but they have done little to inspire confidence that they can go toe to toe against what is still one of the best teams in the ACC. In the end, this is the right time to buy low on UNC, and the public agrees, as evidenced by a two-point line swing in the direction of the visiting squad. It hurts my heart and I know it hurts yours, but the Tar Heels are a safe bet as anything less than a two-score favorite.

Pick: UNC -12

Over/Under 63.0 points

Spoiler alert: we are going to see a lot of points in Wallace Wade Stadium. I have already spent too much time praising Sam Howell and the UNC offense above, but how about the Blue Devils? It is hard not to notice the uptick in Duke’s offensive production in recent weeks, even after a tough outing at N.C. State stopped the hype train in its tracks. But Chase Brice and company have averaged 45.5 points per game in two emphatic wins this season. Admittedly, they have fared quite differently in losses, but all the ingredients are there for a good – but perhaps not great – offensive showing this weekend. Besides, something just feels wrong about taking the under in a game featuring two teams that combined for 94 points last weekend, even with a total as lofty as this one. With the Tar Heels leading the way, this one will feature plenty of fireworks throughout.

Pick: Over 63.0

1Q: Duke Moneyline

The unfortunate side effect of Duke’s tumultuous season and North Carolina’s disastrous October is that what was once a marquee, rivalry matchup doesn’t carry the same weight as it did when the Tar Heels had a legitimate shot at ACC contention. That means that Blue Devil bettors will not finally get their long-awaited opportunity to bet on individual player props in this one (Vegas typically only offers these for the biggest college football games). Even so, Saturday’s contest still features one more value bet, this one on everybody’s favorite first quarter Goliath. Duke’s early game heroics are well documented at this point, but Vegas doesn’t seem to be catching on: the odds imply that the Blue Devils have just a 37% chance to exit the first frame on top, which seems wrong given Duke’s 5-1-1 mark in the category. Even against better teams, Duke has clawed its way to early leads more often than not, and little suggests that they cannot do the same against a Tar Heel team that has developed a bad habit of falling behind early on, especially on the road. Take the home team at great value.

Pick: Duke ML (+170)

Jonathan Levitan | Sports Editor

Jonathan Levitan is a Trinity junior and sports editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.


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