Duke Blue Devils vs North Carolina Tar Heels betting preview, prediction

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Duke vs North Carolina is in the college basketball betting spotlight this weekend as the bitter ACC rivals end their regular season schedules.

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The North Carolina Tar Heels would love to hit the ACC tournament on a lucky 13-game win streak.

At 12-0 SU and 9-3 ATS over their last 12 games, UNC could end its regular season and head into the conference playoff in style if they can win Saturday on the road against Duke.

North Carolina's 1-4 SU and 0-5 ATS slump back in January feels like distant history now as the Tar Heels have peaked at the right time heading into tournament play soon.

Expect No. 4 ranked Duke to open as a medium-size favorite against No. 14 UNC.

While the Tar Heels have failed to cover the spread in each of their last three games after going 9-0 SU and ATS in the previous nine, they have still found ways to win and extend their winning streak to 12. Over the course of the winning streak, UNC picked up strong wins over Notre Dame and Florida State.

But a road win over Duke would really give the team some momentum heading into the postseason, where they remain among the leaders in odds to win the college basketball national championship.

Things were going well for Duke when it headed into its road game against North Carolina back on February 20 on an 8-1 SU and ATS run. But since then, the Blue Devils haven't covered the spread with a 2-2 SU and 0-3-1 ATS record.

The loss to North Carolina on the road was understandable, but Duke's last road loss wasn't as the Blue Devils lost 82-72 to Wake Forest as a 12.5-point road favorite. Duke ranks 19th in the nation on offense averaging 79.3 points per game but has averaged just 67.8 points over its last six games.

Prediction: 73-68 Duke

Duke is 7-3 SU and 5-5 ATS in its last 10 games against UNC. The total has gone UNDER in nine of the last 11 games between these two rivals, and has also gone UNDER in five of Duke's last six games overall and in each of North Carolina's last two.

The Tar Heels appear to be in better form right now, but Duke's home court advantage could be the difference. The Blue Devils own the longest active home winning streak in the nation at 32-0 SU and are 15-8-1 ATS over their last 24 home games.

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