The North Carolina Tar Heels and Duke Blue Devils can improve their cases for a No. 1 seed in the upcoming 2019 NCAA Tournament when the teams meet in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament on Thursday night. North Carolina (27-5) already is considered a No. 1 seed by bracketology experts everywhere and is playing its best ball of the season. The Heels swept the two games this year against Duke, but the Blue Devils played all but 36 seconds of those games without star forward Zion Williamson. After missing virtually six games, Williamson returned Thursday in a quarterfinal game against Syracuse and dominated with 29 points on a perfect 13-of-13 shooting. Tip-off is set for 9 p.m. ET and Duke is favored by four in the latest Duke vs. North Carolina odds, while the over-under for total points scored is 164.5. Before making any Duke vs. North Carolina picks of your own, be sure to see the ACC Tournament predictions from the SportsLine Projection Model.
This model, which simulates every game 10,000 times, has raked in the winnings for those following its picks. Over the past two years, the SportsLine Projection Model has returned over $4,000 to $100 players on its top-rated college basketball picks. It also entered conference championship week on a strong 11-5 run on all top-rated college basketball picks. Anyone who has followed it is way up.
Now the model has honed in on Duke vs. North Carolina. We can tell you it is leaning under, and it has also locked in an against-the-spread pick that cashes in well over 50 percent of simulations. That one is only available at SportsLine.
The model knows the Blue Devils are led by three other-worldly freshmen — Williamson, RJ Barrett, and Cam Reddish — who are widely expected to be selected in the top five in the NBA Draft. The three combine to average 59.2 points and 20.2 rebounds per game.
Duke is a statistic-lover’s dream. The team ranks in the top 10 nationally in several categories, including average blocks per game (7.0, first), rebounds (42.1, second), steals (9.5, fourth) and scoring margin (16.7 points per game, fourth). The model agrees that the trio of Williamson, Barrett, and Reddish will roll once again on Friday, scoring almost 60 points and pulling down nearly 20 rebounds.
But just because Williamson is back doesn’t guarantee that the Blue Devils will cover the Duke vs. North Carolina spread in the 2019 ACC Tournament semifinals.
The model also knows that the Tar Heels, ranked No. 3 nationally, are playing arguably the best ball of any team in the country. Since being blown out 83-62 at home by Louisville on Jan. 12, North Carolina has won 15 of 16 games, with the only loss coming to No. 4 Virginia.
Freshman guard Coby White has been a revelation the past 16 games. White, who scored just four points in the loss to Louisville, has improved his scoring (18.7 points from 14.0), shooting (44.6 percent from 41.9), 3-point shooting (38.7 percent from 34.6) and assist-turnover ratio (1.76 from 1.30) in that span. In the quarterfinal win over the Cardinals on Thursday, he had 19 points, seven rebounds and six assists.
So who wins North Carolina vs. Duke? And which side of the spread can you bank on in well over 50 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the UNC vs. Duke spread to jump on, all from the advanced model that’s up more than $4,000 on top-rated college basketball picks the past two seasons.