LINE: Duke -10.5, o/u: 58
ATS PICK: North Carolina
Begin with the history factor.
Of course, the kids out on the field on Saturday morning don’t know or care about anything that happened 19 seconds ago, much less what’s happened in this rivalry over the last several decades, but try this out.
The last time North Carolina lost to Duke by more than ten points was in 1989 in a 41-0 stomping. Some Spurrier guy was coaching that Blue Devil team.
The last time North Carolina lost up the road at Duke by more than ten points? 27-10 in 1973.
Modern era time, the Blue Devils have won the last two in the series, and they won by ten points last year, but at the moment, they’re not destroying anyone, and the Tar Heels have at least been competitive.
Duke hasn’t played the same type of game twice, getting ripped up by the Pitt offense in a loss a few weeks ago, running wild on Miami in the rain last week, getting stuffed by Virginia in Durham … they’ve been all over the map.
Meanwhile, we know what North Carolina is.
As 1-7 teams go, it’s not totally miserable, fighting reasonably well in losses to Virginia and Duke, losing in an overtime heartbreaker to Syracuse, and in a late meltdown against Virginia Tech. And now, with a losing season secured, this and the NC State games are it. These are the dates that can make their year.
The big key for this game? Yeah, UNC is losing, but it hasn’t lost by more than ten in the last six games.
Throw in the rivalry game aspect of this, and this should stay relatively tight.