Find up to date college basketball betting odds on the Betway sportsbook. You'll find all the latest spreads, over/unders, money lines and March Madness futures odds on the men’s 2022 NCAA tournament. Missed tip off? No problem, Betway also offers live betting. All your March Madness betting needs are covered at our online sportsbook.

You can also visit the Betway Insider for college basketball expert picks. 

After a week of waiting, the Final Four in New Orleans will give basketball fans a treat. Coach K and his Duke Blue Devils will continue their quest to a title, meeting a familiar foe in the semifinals, hated rival North Carolina. Just as the Heels spoiled Duke’s final home game this season, they have eyes on upending Duke’s dreams and advancing to the title game themselves.

The Context

This could sound hyperbolic, but on paper, this game is one of the most monumental games in college basketball history. We have two of the premier programs in the sport, who comprise one of the most hated and fervent rivalries in the sport, playing each other for the very first time in the NCAA Tournament.

A UNC-Duke game in the Sweet Sixteen would be a big deal any year, but this year we get them in the Final Four during Coach K’s final season before he heads off into retirement.

Let’s also not forget: this is the rubber match following two prior meetings between these teams this season. Duke pummelled Carolina on the road at the Dean Dome in February, jumping out to a 29-8 lead and never looking back. The Heels returned the favor in a big way, spoiling Coach K’s final home game with a double-digit win, on a night where Duke was favored by 12.5 points.

Needless to say, there are a lot of moving pieces and emotional back stories behind this game.

The Spread

Duke is currently a four-point favorite, a staunch difference from the two regular season meetings. The Blue Devils were favored by 8.5 points on the road in February, then 12.5 points at home at Cameron Indoor Stadium in early March.

This change makes sense, given the way the Tar Heels have improved throughout the NCAA Tournament. Prior to beating Duke in the regular season finale, the Heels had only three wins against NCAA Tournament teams, beating 11-seeds Michigan and Virginia Tech (twice).

The Total

The over/under for this game is set high at 151, likely based on the scoring outbursts in the team’s two previous meetings. At Carolina, the teams combined for 154 points, but at Duke they played a fast paced, up-and-down game that totaled 175 points.

Under is a popular bet for the public annually at the Final Four, with many citing the difficulty shooting in large football stadiums and nerves from the teams. So far, 55 per cent of bets and 69 per cent of the money bet on the total has been on the under in this game, per The Action Network.

Don’t be fooled – there’s little evidence to suggest the under is any more likely than the over. While the last three games played at the Ceasar’s Superdome in New Orleans in 2012 all stayed under 130 total points, the 2003 Final Four at the same venue was a scoring barrage with Syracuse and Kansas each notching 90+ in the semifinals before combining for 159 in the title game.

The Matchup

On the court, we’re in for some big boy basketball. Both of these teams rely on their size and versatility to punish opponents.

For North Carolina, that starts with Armando Bacot commanding the paint on the interior and dominating the glass. He is averaging 15.8 rebounds per game, nabbing eight offensive rebounds in each of last weekend’s games. Bacot’s energy and positioning on the interior has opened up space for his teammates elsewhere. Stretch-four Brady Manek is in the best shooting month of his life, hitting 43 per cent from downtown on 8.0 attempts per game in March.

That tandem will be tested by Duke’s bigs. Mark Williams is one of the longest, rangiest rim protectors in college basketball on the defensive end and his ability to finish lobs at the rim opens up driving lanes for his fellow Blue Devils. That extra spacing is particularly key for Paolo Banchero, a likely top-five pick in June’s NBA Draft. When Banchero stays aggressive and finds space to operate as a downhill scorer and playmaker, there are few players his age who can slow him down.

While the battle inside will be more appealing to watch, the guards in this game may be the deciding factor. North Carolina’s tandem of RJ Davis and Caleb Love are playing some of the best basketball of their careers, after both had hot and cold starts that failed to live up to their recruiting cycle hype. If they can get the better of Duke’s backcourt trio, the Heels have a real chance to steal a win.

Best Bet

Looking at the entire board, my personal favorite item is the over on Duke’s first half team total of 36.5 (-120). The Blue Devils have scored 36 or more first half points in nine of their last ten games, with only the grinding, slow Texas Tech team keeping them below that mark.

Carolina will be looking to run and was the second fastest tempo team in the ACC this season. The Heels defense is also due for some shooting regression. Carolina’s last six opponents, dating back to the first game of the ACC Tournament, have combined to shoot just 29.5 per cent from long range. In the Heels’ four NCAA Tournament games, that mark drops all the way to 24.5 per cent.

I won’t be surprised to see Duke come out hot, eager for revenge and ready to light up the scoreboard.

The Winner

As much as every Duke-hating college basketball fan would love to see Coach K’s final season end with a loss to his biggest rival on the biggest stage, Duke is the better team and Banchero is firmly the best player on the court in this game.

North Carolina had their moment beating Duke in Cameron in early March and parlayed that success into an NCAA Tournament run. Eventually, the Tar Heels are going to have a game where they look like a team that lost a home game to Pitt in mid-February. If they were getting more points, I’d consider taking the Heels, but at this line, Duke -4 is the pick (-110).