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February 9, 2017

There are two picks tonight.
 

#1: Take Duke -2 spread against North Carolina for 3% of the bankroll.

One of college sports biggest rivalries renews tonight as the #8 ranked UNC Tar Heels travel to Cameron Indoor Stadium to take on the #18 ranked Duke Blue Devils. The Tar Heels have been on quite a tear recently and come into this rivalry game having won 9 of their last 10 games. Offense has always been the catalyst of this Tar Heels team and that is no different this season, that being said, they have truly taken a step back on the defensive this year and have not been very effective is limiting their opponent’s ability to score. We believe that is going to be an issue tonight against a Duke team that is averaging 82.5 points per game on 48.2% shooting from the floor, 36.8% from behind the arc and 74.5% from the foul line this season. Duke has been able to do nearly whatever they want on the offensive side of the ball and now that they are back at full health, are likely to be a handful for the Tar Heels' defense tonight.

Even though the Tar Heels are the higher ranked team in this contest, we believe Duke is the more complete team, especially now that they are near full health. Let's not forget that the Blue Devils have a ton of talent on their roster and that talent was the reason they were ranked #1 prior to the start of the season. They are starting to play their best basketball of the year and now with Coach K back on the sidelines after returning from back surgery, we expect the Blue Devils to close out the season strong and that all starts with a win tonight over their rivals.

A big focal point of this matchup is going to be UNC's ability to rebound the basketball and create second chance opportunities. The Tar Heels are a great rebounding team, simply due to their size, however their average 6-man lineup stands at 6'7 while Duke's 8-man rotation stands at 6'8. Duke is actually the 'bigger' team and we expect Coach K to utilize a bigger lineup in order to negate UNC's advantage on the glass. If Duke can limit the number of second chance opportunities by the Tar Heels, they should be able to come away with the victory.

The Tar Heels also have not been a great team on the road this season. UNC lost comfortably at Miami and then had trouble disposing Pitt and Notre Dame in their last two wins. Their best road wins this season include Clemson and Wake Forest, with losses at Georgia Tech and Miami filtering in. Meanwhile, the Blue Devils haven't been as dominant as they have been in years past, however they have been tough at home, going 11-1 on the season. This is by far Duke's biggest home game of the season and we expect the 'Cameron Crazies' to be out in full force tonight and they will power their team to a win and cover tonight.
 

#2: Take Oregon +5 spread (buy half a point) against UCLA for 3% of the bankroll.

This could be the most entertaining college basketball matchup of the season as the Oregon Ducks and UCLA Bruins meet in a rematch from their thriller earlier this season. There are going to be a number of people who believe that the high scoring Bruins exact their revenge tonight against the Ducks, and while that remains to be seen, we believe the points are where the most value lies. There is no question that UCLA is an explosive offense and have the talent and ability to put points on the board in a hurry, there is no debate about that. That being said, if there was an area of concern for the Bruins, it would be their defense which currently ranks 124th in the nation.

We have seen numerous times this season where the Bruins defense has been a liability for them. In their losses to both Arizona and USC, UCLA gave up 95 and 84 points respectively. Meanwhile, the Oregon Ducks have been on quite a roll recently. Besides their setback against the Colorado Buffalos a couple of games ago, the Ducks have been nearly unstoppable. They once against reasserted their conference dominance with a wire-to -wire beat down of the then highly ranked and defensive proficient Arizona Wildcats. The Wildcats were once dubbed one of the best defenses in the nation and the Ducks absolutely shredded them. Meanwhile, on defense, the Ducks reestablished themselves as one of the top defense not only in the conference, but in the nation as they held the Wildcats to just 18 first half points. The Ducks rank 12th in the nation is defensive efficiency and that could be their key tonight against the high scoring Bruins.

These two teams played an instant classic earlier this season with the Ducks barely managing to escape with a win. There is no question that the Bruins will be looking to exact their revenge, however we believe this matchup will be similar to the first meeting in that is will be an extremely competitive game. The Ducks should be able to navigate a rather soft Bruins defense and keep pace with them on the scoreboard. It will be tough to knock off the Bruins on their home court as they have suffered just a single home loss this season; however, we don't believe it is out of the question. Oregon is ranked #5 in the country and for good reason. This is simply too many points to give a team that has been on as hot a roll as the Ducks have been. UCLA may end up getting the win tonight, however we believe it will be by the narrowest of margins as they Ducks manage to keep this game to a single possession.




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