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Prop bets for Duke men's basketball vs. N.C. State

<p>Paolo Banchero scored a team-high 24 points Wednesday in Duke's win at Wake Forest.</p>

Paolo Banchero scored a team-high 24 points Wednesday in Duke's win at Wake Forest.

Sports fans across America are getting ready for the NFL's Super Wild Card Weekend to start up Saturday afternoon, but if 4:30 p.m. isn't early enough for you, the Blue Zone has you covered with some can't-miss prop bets for Duke's matchup against N.C. State earlier in the day:

Duke (-13.5) vs. N.C. State

Three words: too many points.

I fully expect Duke to win this game, but it’s really tough to side with the Blue Devils here on a 13.5-point spread. Even in Duke’s spectacular performance at Wake Forest Wednesday, it only came out with a 12-point victory. Yes, this year’s Demon Deacons are a slightly stronger opponent than their N.C. State counterparts, and yes, this game will be played inside the friendly confines of Cameron Indoor Stadium, but I just don’t see the Blue Devils blowing this one open. 

Duke is yet to win an ACC game this year by more than 12, and while the Wolfpack are probably the Blue Devils’ weakest conference opponent thus far, history is telling me to roll with N.C. State on this line.

Pick: N.C. State +13.5

Over/Under 150.5 points

Some exclusive analysis available only from the Blue Zone: the Cameron Crazies started lining up two days in advance for this game. Yes, you read that right. I was walking to dinner around 7 p.m. Thursday and passed by a line of students halfway down K-Ville. Based on that, it’s safe to say Cameron is going to be loud Saturday, and Duke’s defense will take over. 

I doubt the oddsmakers were also on campus Thursday evening, meaning they likely didn’t take this all into account when setting this over/under. Lucky for you, I was there, and my calculations say under all the way.

Pick: Under 150.5

Paolo Banchero over/under 18.5 points

This is a really important game for Paolo Banchero. The star freshman has shown what his peak can be, against Gonzaga and most recently against the Demon Deacons just a few days ago. But the looming question about the likely top-three NBA Draft pick is whether he can play at or close to that peak on a consistent basis, and Saturday's matchup against N.C. State will go a long way toward answering that question.

Will Banchero build off his dominant showing in Winston-Salem with another superstar performance? Or will he regress back to the mean? I’m going with the former. He knows this is a make-or-break part of the season for both himself and the team—that combined with what should be an electric crowd (see above), and I can easily see the Washington native making his presence felt all afternoon.

Pick: Over 18.5

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