UNC, Duke Meet for First Time in NCAA Tournament at Final Four

UNC, Duke Meet for First Time in NCAA Tournament at Final Four
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

Two of the most-prestigious men’s basketball programs in NCAA history will square off for the first time during March Madness under the bright lights of the Big Easy on Saturday night.

Both Duke and North Carolina danced their way into the Final Four this weekend, with the Blue Devils beating Arkansas, 78-69, while the Tar Heels thumped Cinderella St. Peter’s, 69-49.

Duke and UNC play in the Final Four at the Caesars Superdome at 8:49 p.m. Eastern time Saturday, 30 minutes after the Villanova-Kansas semifinal wraps up.

Here’s what you can expect from Saturday’s Final Four contest from a North Carolina sports betting perspective:

Duke an Early Favorite in Saturday’s Showdown

The Blue Devils, in the final season of legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski’s 42-year tenure in Durham, are favored to knock off their Tobacco Road rivals Saturday night.

Caesars Sportsbook has Duke at -4 and -200 to advance to the program’s 12th championship game.

While proposals to legalize online sports betting in North Carolina are making their way through the state legislature, there are two retail casinos in the state where you can place bets on the Final Four — Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, an hour west of Asheville, and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino in Murphy.

For those looking to cash in on Hubert Davis’ team being the underdog, Caesars Sportsbook has the Tar Heels at +170 on Saturday.

With a win on Saturday, the Tar Heels would be appearing in their 12th NCAA Championship game, having won it all in 1957, 1982, 1993, 2009 and 2017 — while losing in the title game in 1946, 1968, 1977, 1981 and 2016.

The Tar Heels are also listed at +4 (-110) at FanDuel Sportsbook, which puts the Tar Heels at +162 to beat the Blue Devils. Coach K’s team, on the other hand, is listed at -196 on FanDuel’s moneyline.

As for overall title odds, FanDuel Sportsbook lists Duke as its NCAA title frontrunner at +160, while UNC has the longest odds of any competitor at +500.

How the Rivals Got to the Final Four

The final run of Coach K’s tenure saw the Blue Devils roll past Cal State Fullerton (78-61), Michigan State (85-76), and Texas Tech (78-73), before dispatching the Razorbacks on Saturday night.

Duke was the only higher seed in the round of 16 to be an underdog, getting a point against the Red Raiders.

The Tar Heels advanced by beating ninth-seeded Marquette, 95-63, before upsetting top-seeded Baylor, 93-86 in the second round.

From there, UNC took advantage of the upsets in its region. Davis’ squad rolled past UCLA (73-66) and St. Peter’s, qualifying for the program’s first Final Four in five years in the process.

Saturday’s Final Four showdown will be the 189th meeting between the Blue Devils and Tar Heels since 1949, with UNC owning a 101-87 record during that span.

The teams meet for the first time in the NCAA Tournament after splitting their earlier two meetings this year

Duke won 87-67 in Chapel Hill on Feb. 5, as A.J. Griffin scored 27 points on 11-of-17 shooting from the field.

A month later, the Tar Heels spoiled Coach K’s home finale, knocking off the Blue Devils 94-81. Four North Carolina starters scored 20 or more points in the game, while Griffin was held to 5.

📊 More: North Carolina vs. Duke Odds



Christopher Boan is a lead writer at BetCarolina.com specializing in covering state issues. He has covered sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, including stops at ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

Cited by leading media organizations, such as: