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

Dariq Whitehead currently averages 7.6 points per game.
Dariq Whitehead currently averages 7.6 points per game.

Before Duke travels to Raleigh to open up the 2023 calendar year with a matchup against N.C. State, the Blue Zone has you covered with some can’t-miss prop bets:

Duke (-4.5) vs. N.C. State

Although the Wolfpack have excelled at home this season, the Blue Devils’ size and defensive prowess will likely prove too much for N.C. State to handle. With 6-foot-10 graduate student forward Dusan Mahorcic out with a knee injury, N.C. State will have to rely on its backcourt to take down No. 16 Duke. Luckily for the Wolfpack, their impressive 8-1 home record has come primarily from their strong guard play, highlighted by star sophomore Terquavion Smith. Smith averages 18.1 points per game and headlines the backcourt along with Jarkel Joiner and Casper Morsell, who combine for nearly 30 points per game. 

Despite N.C. State's talent, the Blue Devils have the pieces to limit the Wolfpack’s offensive productivity. This season, Duke has kept 13 of its 14 opponents below their average points per game to rank No. 25 nationally in scoring defense. This defensive dominance stems from an all-encompassing display of aggression and intensity. On the offensive end, the Blue Devils will look to dominate by controlling the glass against a shorter N.C. State squad. Duke currently ranks fifth in the nation in offensive rebounding percentage at 38.2%, which should mean a consistent flow of chances to score. After losing their only away ACC game yet against Wake Forest, the Blue Devils should bounce back with a key win by at least 4.5 points and start 2023 on the right note. 

Pick: Duke -4.5

Over/Under 144.5 points

Both sides possess the offensive talent to score big, making the over a solid bet. The Blue Devils surpassed the 144.5-point threshold in their past two games, and the Wolfpack have a 147.8-point average this season. In a contest that could come down to the wire, head coaches Jon Scheyer and Kevin Keatts may stress the importance of taking smart shots and capitalizing on turnovers. Furthermore, the recent offensive contributions by the Duke bench should increase potential scoring opportunities—sophomore guard Jaylen Blakes has scored 17 points in his last two games and graduate student center Ryan Young is fresh off a 20-point performance against Florida State. As such, this ACC matchup is a high-scoring affair in the making and a bet on the over is the way to go. 

Pick: Over 144.5 points

Dariq Whitehead over/under 12 points

It is not controversial to say that highly touted freshman Dariq Whitehead has struggled since arriving in Durham: He averages just 7.6 points, 2.2 rebounds and one assist per game. However, things are looking better for the Newark, N.J., native. After missing Duke’s Dec. 20 contest against Wake Forest due to a non-COVID illness, Whitehead bounced back against Florida State with a season-high 16 points. Additionally, in a media availability Tuesday, he stated that he feels 100% after a cautious recovery from an offseason foot injury. As a projected first-round pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, the year will be a big one for Whitehead, and he will likely aim to start it off strong by delivering against the Wolfpack. 

Pick: Dariq Whitehead over 12 points


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