The Big Easy Betting Preview For The Duke-UNC Final Four Showdown

The post The Big Easy Betting Preview For The Duke-UNC Final Four Showdown appeared first on SportsHandle.

After 257 trips made along the 10 miles of U.S. 15 and U.S. 501 between Durham and Chapel Hill in North Carolina spanning the last 102 years, Duke and North Carolina have given the sports betting industry a proverbial gift from the gods: a Final Four showdown in New Orleans for ultimate bragging rights in college basketball’s greatest rivalry.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski’s farewell tour has reached the Big Easy with his record 13th Final Four appearance, moving him ahead of UCLA legend John Wooden for the most all-time. His five NCAA Tournament titles trail only Wooden’s 10, and Krzyzewski — who is making a Final Four appearance in New Orleans for the first time in his 42nd and final season with the Blue Devils — already holds the men’s records for Division I wins (1,202) and NCAA Tournament victories (101).

While counterpart Hubert Davis is only in his first season as head coach, he is intimately familiar with the Duke-North Carolina rivalry as a former Tar Heel player and assistant before succeeding Roy Williams. He was on the 1991 team that lost to Kansas in the national semifinals in Indianapolis before the Blue Devils stunned previously unbeaten UNLV — which was also the closest these college basketball titans had previously come to facing each other in the NCAA Tournament.

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Davis is the second North Carolina coach to guide the team to the Final Four in his first season, as Bill Guthridge did likewise in 1998 following Dean Smith. That team did not cut down the nets in San Antonio, losing to Utah in the semifinals, but the Tar Heels carry plenty of tournament pedigree into this showdown. North Carolina has won six NCAA Tournament titles and is making its 21st Final Four appearance — the most of any Division I school.

Additionally, New Orleans is a city Tar Heel backers view with fondness, as North Carolina cut down the nets in the Superdome following their 1982 and 1993 victories.

North Carolina leads the all-time series 142-115, but Duke is 50-47 in games coached by Krzyzewski. The teams have split the last 100 overall meetings with 50 wins apiece, including the two matchups this season in which the road team won both contests. The Tar Heels hung a 94-81 loss on the Blue Devils in Krzyzewski’s final home game at Cameron Indoor Stadium less than four weeks ago, while Duke cruised to an 87-67 win at the Dean Smith Center in February.

Blue Devils pegged as early week favorites

Most sportsbooks have coalesced around Duke (32-6) being 4-point favorites for Saturday’s game, with only PointsBet and BetMGM straying off that number so far. Both have gone half a point higher, with PointsBet offering the Blue Devils at even money (+100) and the Tar Heels -125 with that extra juice. BetMGM’s split is more narrow, with Duke listed at -105 and North Carolina -115.

Most operators are offering the standard -110 split for Duke -4, though the Kambi platform powering BetRivers, Barstool Sportsbook, and Unibet has the Blue Devils -112 and the Tar Heels -108 with the four points. SI Sportsbook has a wider split, offering Duke -4 at -118 and North Carolina +4 at -110.

There is also little variety among the books for the total, with the majority settling on 151 points. PointsBet is again a differentiator here with a -115/-105 split on that number while everyone else has a -110 offering. Only Kambi and BetMGM have moved off that number, clicking to 151.5 points as the former has a -109/-110 split and the latter shows -110 in both directions.

There is some variety in the moneyline offerings, though that is also a tight window. The best current Duke number is -190 found at DraftKings, BetMGM, and Betway, with FanDuel (-196) the only other operator with an offering better than -200. For those liking the Tar Heels to advance to their first NCAA Tournament final since winning their last title in Phoenix in 2017, Caesars has the best play at +170, with WynnBET and theScore following closely at +165, Kambi at +163, and FanDuel at +162.

Banchero makes the Blue Devils tick

Duke is a young team at its core, with three freshmen among the six players Krzyzewski has used exclusively as starters. Paolo Banchero, a surefire lottery pick, is averaging team highs of 17.1 points and 7.7 rebounds and also has a team-high 11 double-doubles. The 6-foot-10 forward has averaged 18.5 points on 51.0% shooting in Duke’s four NCAA Tournament wins and showed improved perimeter range, hitting 8 of 15 from beyond the 3-point arc.

That has helped make Banchero the odds-on favorite to win Most Outstanding Player, with FanDuel, PointsBet, and BetMGM all offering +300 for that play, followed by +275 at DraftKings and FOX Bet.

Swingman AJ Griffin has been Duke’s other full-time freshman starter and has averaged 10.5 points while shooting 45.8% from beyond the arc and 50.2% overall. Griffin went 5 for 10 from deep in the two regional wins and scored 11.5 points per game in the four tournament victories.

Duke has other capable scorers in Wendell Moore Jr. (13.5 ppg), Mark Williams (11.3), and Trevor Keels (11.3). The Blue Devils rank eighth in the country in scoring at 80.1 points per game and are 33rd in 3-point shooting at 37%. They have also made more free throws (486) than their opponents have attempted (445) this season.

Tar Heels riding Manek-Bacot duo

North Carolina (28-9) did not find itself until mid-February, hitting a low point with a home loss to Pittsburgh in conference play. The Tar Heels enter New Orleans 10-1 since that defeat, with the lone loss to a hot-shooting Virginia Tech team in the ACC tournament.

Davis’ team topped 90 points in its early round victories over Marquette and defending tournament champion Baylor before getting defensive in grinding out victories over 2021 Final Four participant UCLA and destiny’s darling Saint Peter’s in the regionals. At the center of it all have been double-double machine Armando Bacot and forward Brady Manek.

The 6-10 Bacot has averaged 16.5 points and 15.8 rebounds in the four tournament wins, capped with a monstrous 20-22 effort against the Peacocks last Saturday. The junior center also tore up Duke earlier this month, hitting 10-of-11 shots to finish with 23 points in that road win, and has averaged 15.7 points in six career matchups with the Blue Devils. There is value on Bacot for MOP, with FanDuel and FOX Bet offering +2000, and BetMGM +1400.

Manek is the outside complement to Bacot’s inside dominance. The Oklahoma transfer totaled 86 points in North Carolina’s four wins, hitting 16 of 34 (47.1%) from beyond the arc, and also pulled down 8.0 rebounds per contest. Manek is the other top option for Most Outstanding Player among UNC players, ranging from +750 at Kambi to +2000 at DraftKings, with PointsBet (+1800), BetMGM (+1600), and FanDuel (+1500) in between.

The post The Big Easy Betting Preview For The Duke-UNC Final Four Showdown appeared first on SportsHandle.

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Author: Micheal May