NCAA Tournament Betting: Will NC State Upset Duke in an ACC Clash?

Riley Thomas
Riley Thomas_riley8
NCAA Tournament Betting: Will NC State Upset Duke in an ACC Clash?

Very few things on the sports calendar can match the excitement and unpredictability of the NCAA Tournament. So why not add betting to the mix via the college basketball odds at FanDuel Sportsbook?

The 2024 edition of the big dance has arrived, and here at FanDuel Research, we'll have you covered with a betting guide for each game.

The ACC heard plenty of criticism throughout the regular season. Many said it was the Duke Blue Devils and the North Carolina Tar Heels and then everyone else. Yet, here we are with three ACC squads participating in the Elite Eight, which does not include UNC.

Following 2 Sweet 16 upsets in the South region, the NC State Wolfpack and the Duke Blue Devils are set to collide in the Elite 8 on Sunday. The magical run for the Wolfpack continues as they have won 8 straight games over the last 18 days, dating back to the ACC Tournament. The Blue Devils have also hit their groove in the tournament, covering three consecutive point spreads.

FanDuel Sportsbook's college basketball odds have lines available for the upcoming ACC clash in the Elite Eight. How could this matchup pan out? Let's break it down.

All college basketball odds come from FanDuel Sportsbook, and lines may change after this article is published.

NCAA Tournament Betting Picks

NC State vs. Duke Betting Odds

Date and Time: Sunday, March 31st, 5:05 p.m. ET

Spread: Duke -6.5 (-106)

Total: 142.5


  • Duke: -265
  • NC State: +215

NC State vs. Duke Statistical Breakdown

Advanced stats from KenPom, Bart Torvik and numberFire.

NC State

  • numberFire Ranking: 53rd
  • Bart Torvik Ranking: 49th
  • KenPom Ranking: 49th
    • Adjusted Defensive Efficiency Ranking: 57th
    • Adjusted Offensive Efficiency Ranking: 43rd
    • Adjusted Tempo Ranking: 148th


  • numberFire Ranking: 8th
  • Bart Torvik Ranking: 8th
  • KenPom Ranking: 5th
    • Adjusted Defensive Efficiency Ranking: 13th
    • Adjusted Offensive Efficiency Ranking: 7th
    • Adjusted Tempo Ranking: 254th

NC State vs. Duke Best Bet

Under 142.5 (-105)

We have a pair of head-to-head matchups we can research prior to this collision. The two-game series was split as the Blue Devils won the regular-season meeting on the road while the Wolfpack got the last laugh in the ACC Tournament. Duke won the first meeting 79-64 and covered the spread while outshooting NC State by 12 shots thanks to 17 offensive rebounds. The Wolfpack pulled off a 74-69 upset about 10 days later, draining 7 of 16 three-point shots (43.8%) while the Blue Devils made only 5 of 20 shots from beyond the arc (25.0%).

Offensive rebounding and three-point shooting held a lot of weight in each matchup this season. Could either category decide the victor for Sunday's matchup?

NC State has been much improved at limiting extra possessions, holding opponents to 9.0 offensive boards per game in the tournament. This isn't an elite mark by any means, but the Wolfpack are at least holding opponents to under double-digit offensive rebounds. This has insured that NC State's shot difference is not too much to overcome. Additionally, Duke is averaging 8.7 offensive rebounds per game in the Big Dance, which is about on par with their season average of 9.0.

The Devils totaling nearly 20 offensive boards in the first meeting feels like an outlier. Duke has not corralled second-chance opportunities at this level for the majority of the season, and the Wolfpack have done a solid job of limiting this category during their improbable run.

When it comes to three-point shooting, it doesn't provide much promise for taking a side. The Blue Devils have shot under 35.5% from deep in two of their three tournament games. Opponents have shot only 34.0% from three against the Wolfpack in the tournament, as well. This included a pair of red-hot teams from deep in Oakland and Marquette. It didn't matter; NC State still found a way to slow the three-point barrages.

The Wolfpack started to heat up from three-point land in the Sweet 16, draining 9 of 23 attempts (39.1%). However, Duke has an exceptional perimeter defense that has held opposing teams to only 15.3 shots per game with a 23.9% shooting percentage. I'm not sure if we can rely on NC State to repeat their dominance from three as they did in their win over the Devils during the regular season.

As you can probably tell, this could be too close to make a call. Both teams are absolutely rolling. Duke is certainly the more talented team, but we can't overlook the magic surrounding the Wolfpack. When a team is hot, good luck stopping them in March.

With that said, instead of picking a side for the spread, I like a line for the game total. The under is 2-0 in head-to-head matchups this season and 3-0 in Duke's NCAA Tournament contests. As previously mentioned, NC State could limit the Blue Devils' second-chance points while Duke's perimeter defense has been shining.

Neither squad pushes the pace that often and like to play games in the halfcourt. Duke's interior defense has been elite in the NCAA Tournament, limiting opponents to only 26.0 points in the paint per game. We shouldn't overlook what NC State's defense just did, holding Marquette to 58 points and a 33.3% field goal percentage (FG%). Keep in mind that the Golden Eagles were averaging 84.0 points per game (PPG) before meeting the Wolfpack.

I'm expecting a low-scoring game with the under hitting in Sunday's ACC clash.

NC State vs. Duke Prop Bet

DJ Burns Jr. Over 13.5 Points (-114)

By postseason stands, DJ Burns Jr. had a very uncharacteristic game in the Sweet 16, taking only four field goal attempts against Marquette while logging four points. Burns took on a playmaking role, finishing with seven assists.

Coming into the Sweet 16, Burns was averaging 16.8 PPG in the postseason (including the ACC Tournament). I believe Sunday's matchup could require a big game from Burns.

Duke has the perimeter defense to slow NC State's three-point shooting. Frankly, the Blue Devils' defense has excellent across the board in the Big Dance. However, Burns has had Duke's number throughout his career.

In four matchups dating back to the 2023 season, Burns totals 17.0 PPG with a 52.7 FG% against the Devils. The efficiency is on par with his season average of 52.7%, but the 17.0 PPG far surpasses his 12.6 PPG for the 2024 campaign. Burns even erupted for 27 points on March 4th when Duke visited Raleigh, North Carolina.

The Blue Devils rank in the 77th percentile in three-point shots allowed per game compared to the bottom 46% in two-point attempts allowed each contest. Of course, Burns pretty much exclusively shoots twos with five three-point attempts this season. About 98.8% of Burns' shots have been from two-point range.

With the shot opportunities present and Burns' history of burning Duke, give me NC State's star big man to keep wowing college basketball fans by surpassing his point total on Sunday.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.