Duke vs. UNC Betting: Which Trends Are Likely to Continue?

Devon Platana

While sports are entertaining on their own, it’s the rivalries that can take the most ordinary regular season game to the next level. One of the biggest and most well-known rivalries in all sports — professional or collegiate — is the one between the Duke Blue Devils and North Carolina Tar Heels.

Only 10 miles of road separate Duke University and the University of North Carolina, which has led to a decades-long rivalry between the two schools. Even though that tension can be felt whenever the Blue Devils and Tar Heels meet, regardless of the sport, the rivalry is at its highest when it comes to their men’s basketball teams.

Now, the next chapter in their story is set to be written on Saturday, Feb. 5 at 6 p.m. ET when North Carolina hosts No. 9 Duke for some NCAA college basketball action. The Blue Devils have had a terrific start to the current season, going 18-3 in their first 21 games, as well as an 8-2 record against Atlantic Coast Conference teams.

Meanwhile, the Tar Heels have had their own success with a 15-6 start to the campaign and a 7-3 record versus ACC opponents.

With so much history to take into account, here’s a look at some of the recent trends in the North Carolina-Duke rivalry, as well as which ones bettors can expect to continue this weekend.

Duke vs. North Carolina Head-to-Head Trends

Banchero, Blue Devils Poised to End Carolina’s Recent Run of Rivalry Success

Paolo Banchero Duke
Paolo Banchero and Duke sit atop the ACC standings ahead of their rivalry showdown with North Carolina.

The college basketball rivalry between Duke and North Carolina spans over 100 years. The two schools first collided in 1920 and have met at least twice a year since then. Since the ACC was formed in 1949, the Blue Devils and Tar Heels have clashed 186 times. It’s been pretty even for the most part, with North Carolina leading the all-time head-to-head series, 100-86.

When it comes to recent history, North Carolina is 6-4 straight up in its last 10 games against Duke. That trend becomes a bit more impressive when you consider that UNC is 5-2 in its last seven games against the rival school.

The Tar Heels won both of their games against the Blue Devils in 2021, outscoring their opponents by a combined total of 182-160. This Saturday’s contest will be North Carolina’s first game against Duke this season, so it’ll be interesting to see if the Tar Heels can extend their winning streak to three over their rivals.

With that being said, it could be Duke’s turn to get its first win over UNC since March 7, 2020. The Blue Devils are on a four-game win streak and have won six of their last seven games. Duke’s success has been led by Paolo Banchero.

The like No. 1 pick at the 2022 NBA Draft has proven why he’s his school's best player, averaging 17.8 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists to start the season. He’s one of the top players in college basketball for a reason and will likely step up, as he has throughout the season, to ensure that Duke doesn’t lose another game to North Carolina.

The Blue Devils currently lead the ACC and the Tar Heels are only one game behind them. Considering how the Miami Hurricanes are also one game behind Duke, a win would certainly give the latter some breathing space. With that sort of incentive to win, look for the Blue Devils to keep the momentum going.

Duke vs. North Carolina Over/Under Trends

Recent History Favors the Under

College basketball matchups can often be low-scoring affairs. Although Duke and Carolina can combine for some higher scoring games, the total has actually hit the under in seven of their last 10 meetings. There’s also a decent chance that we could see that trend continue on Saturday.

While North Carolina has allowed 71.5 points per game this season, that average drops to 62.5 when they’re playing at the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill, NC. Meanwhile, Duke has been one of the best defensive teams in the country this season, holding opponents to just 64.7 PPG. They’ve held each of their opponents to 69 or fewer points during their current four-game win streak and look to extend that this weekend.

The total has also hit the under in seven of Duke’s last 10 games this season. They’re 8-2 straight up over that stretch, so it’s clear that they’re comfortable with low-scoring contests. Although the total has been reached the over in seven of UNC’s last 10 outings, it’s only been hit in three of their last five home games. Taking that and the rival schools’ recent head-to-head history into account, the trend of finishing with the under seems likely to continue.

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