NCAAB Free Picks - #8 UNC Tar Heels vs. #1 Duke Blue Devils (and more!)

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D.S. Williamson

February 19th, 2019

One of the greatest rivalries in sports resumes on Wednesday night when the Duke Blue Devils host the North Carolina Tar Heels at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Can the Tar Heels stop mighty Duke from continuing their march to the overall 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament?

[Wednesday, Feb 20]

#9 North Carolina Tar Heels at #1 Duke Blue Devils -9.0 (9:00pm ET)

The ACC schedule makers saved the best for last as Duke and North Carolina battle it out twice from now until the end of the regular season. The first game between the two rivals takes place on Feb. 20.

Duke regained the top spot after Tennessee fell to Kentucky and the Blue Devils stormed back down 23 points to beat Louisville and dominated NC State. Although the Devils were impressive beating the Cardinals, they didn’t cover in the win.

They also didn’t cover against NC State even though they beat the Wolfpack by 16 points. Overall, Duke is only 15-10 ATS and 8-6 ATS in home games.

North Carolina has gone 8-1 ATS in away games this season. The Tar Heels are also on a decent streak, going 6-2 ATS in their last 8. In the head-to-head, North Carolina is 15-6 ATS in the last 21 meetings at Duke while the road team is 17-7-1 ATS in the last 25 meetings.

Although there’s a chance UNC might be without starting guard Kenny Williams, the home team in this rivalry tends to get over played while the road team always steps it up. The Tar Heels are the play against the spread.

NCAAB Free Pick: North Carolina +9.0

#16 Villanova Wildcats -5.5 at Georgetown Hoyas (6:30pm ET)

Villanova’s only beaten Providence straight up in their last 3 games. St. John’s beat the Wildcats 71-65 while Marquette beat Nova 66-65. But, the Wildcats dominated Georgetown 77-65 in the first game between these two. Not only that, the defending champs are 6-2 ATS on the road, 4-0 ATS in the last 4 meetings, and 8-2 ATS in their last 10 versus the Big East while Georgetown’s an awful 4-10-1 ATS at home. If Villanova is proving to be a bit more trustworthy anywhere, it's as a road favorite.

NCAAB Free Pick: Villanova -5.5

Florida Gators at #15 LSU Tigers -6.5 (7:00pm ET)

LSU’s hot straight up, going 14-1 SU in their last 15 and spreads are starting to sneak away from them. Fortunately, they’ve also been pretty good against the spread with an 11-4 ATS record in those 15 games. As long as Tremont Waters is healthy, they’ll always have an edge at the point-guard position. This is a program that is fighting for its reputation, and playing with pride every time they step on the court. Waters should dominate the Gators, who are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 overall, 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games following an ATS win, and 1-5 ATS in their last 6 versus a team with a winning percentage above .600.

NCAAB Free Pick: LSU -6.5

#22 Louisville Cardinals at Syracuse Orange -2.0 (7:00pm ET)

Louisville struggled to get by Clemson in their last meeting. As a -4 home favorite, the Cardinals could only beat the Tigers 56-55. That was to be expected after Louisville blew a 23-point lead to Duke the game before. The shine is wearing off on the Cardinals.

The ‘Cuse come off a 58-73 road loss to North Carolina State. Although they beat Duke, they need another quality victory to stamp their ticket to the Big Dance. It should come at the expense of Louisville. Syracuse is 6-2 ATS in their last 8 at home, 4-0 ATS in their last 6 on Wednesday, and 4-0 ATS in their last 4 following an ATS loss.

Although a few hot trends also show for Louisville, this is traditionally the time when Jim Boeheim’s teams step it up. Syracuse wins and covers.

NCAAB Free Pick: Syracuse -2.0

Butler Bulldogs at #10 Marquette Golden Eagles -5.5 (9:00pm ET)

There’s still a chance Butler makes the NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs must play their best game of the season on Wednesday night to get past Marquette, though. The Golden Eagles dominated Butler 78-56 in the last matchup. Not only that, Marquette is 11-5 ATS at home, 6-1 ATS in their last 7 following a straight up win, and 4-0 ATS in their last 4 versus a team with a losing road record.

Golden Eagles’ guard Markus Howard’s averaging 25.6 points and 4.1 assists per game. He’ll dominate Butler’s backcourt on Feb. 20 and lead his side to a comfortable win.

NCAAB Free Pick: Marquette -5.5