Duke-UNC Highlights A College Hoops Betting Trifecta For Saturday, March 4

It's the final weekend of the regular season in college hoops, which means NCAA Selection Sunday is on the horizon. Motivation is a question for most teams since the regular-season conference champions have been crowned.

However, I'm motivated to make some money Saturday. I'll do so hopefully by gambling on the Big XII battle between Kansas-Texas, the Tobacco Road Rivalry of Duke-North Carolina, and Wake Forest-Syracuse (womp womp).

No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks (25-5) at No. 9 Texas Longhorns (22-8), 4 p.m. ET

Kansas is on a 7-game winning streak — 5-2 against the spread (ATS) — and Texas has lost back-to-back games (0-2 ATS). The home team has won the last four Kansas-Texas meetings, covering three with one push.

The Jayhawks beat the Longhorns 88-80 in Kansas earlier this season. KU out-performed Texas in three of the "four factors"

What's Kansas motivation to win this game? KU clinched the Big XII regular-season title already. Texas has four seniors in the starting 5 and this will be their last home game (pending eligibility rules I don't feel like researching).

Furthermore, this is a Pros vs. Joe's game in the betting market. Per Pregame.com, more wagers are on Kansas in the consensus market and nearly two-thirds of the money is on Texas at the time of writing.

Sportsbooks are reacting to the presumed sharp money. The Longhorns opened as just 2-point home favorites and has steamed up to -3.5.

The Longhorns have one of the most aggressive defenses in the country. Texas is 19th in defensive turnover rate (TOV%) so if Kansas is going through senioritis, the Longhorns will get under the Jayhawks' skin.

College Hoops Best Bet #1: Texas -3.5 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook

Wake Forest Demon Deacons (18-12) at Syracuse Orange (16-14), 5 p.m. ET

As a native upstate New Yorker, it's kinda crazy that 'Cuse is a pick 'em at home. So my thought is "The Orange must suck". And they do. Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim is too old and his 2-3 zone defense is outdated.

Since the beginning of February, 'Cuse ranks 351st in adjusted defensive efficiency and 215th in net efficiency, per Bart Torvik. The Orange have lost four straight (0-4 ATS) and have allowed 90+ points in three straight.

Syracuse is 359th out of 363 college hoops programs in 3-point attempt rate (3PAr) allowed, per Ken Pom. In the old days, packing the paint and forcing teams to shoot 3s was a good idea. Now it's stupid.

It's incredibly stupid in this spot. The Demon Deacons are 36th nationally in 3-point percentage and 32nd in 3PAr and 'Cuse is 226th in defensive 3-point percentage.

Wake Forest even shoots it well from 3 on the road. The Demon Deacons are 2nd in the country in effective field goal rate: 17th in 3-point and 6th in 2-point percentages in road games, per Bart Torvik.

Granted, Wake Forest has lost two straight and three of the past four games (1-3 ATS). But, the Demon Deacons have a strength=on-weakness edge from 3. That outweighs it being the Orange's final home of the season.

College Hoops Best Bet #2: Wake Forest moneyline (-105) at DraftKings, up to Demon Deacons -1.5

Duke Blue Devils (22-8) at North Carolina Tar Heels (19-11), 6:30 p.m. ET

Everyone is going to be on UNC in this bounce-back spot. Duke beat North Carolina 63-57 at home in their 1st meeting this season and the Tar Heels need this game like blood for their NCAA Tournament resume.

From a personnel and shot profile standpoint, the Blue Devils plus the points feels like the right side. Per ShotQuality.com, Duke has a better offensive and defensive shot quality than North Carolina.

The Tar Heels rank 325th nationally in 3-point percentage and 315th in assists-to-field-goal-made rate. The Blue Devils can pack the paint against a North Carolina attack that doesn't move the ball nor space the floor.

Also, there is a vibe in the college hoops space that the Tar Heels have turned their season around. UNC is on a 3-game winning streak (2-1 ATS) with a win over then-No. 6 Virginia 71-63 last Saturday.

Yet I'd argue Virginia is overrated and the Cavaliers don't have the size to matchup with the Tar Heels. The Blue Devils do. According to Ken Pom, Duke has the tallest team in the country and UNC is 24th in average height.

Both teams have ugly ATS records in these spots so there's nothing to glean from the trends. But, you know Duke wants to tarnish North Carolina's 2023 tournament resume.

UNC beat Duke in Mike Krzyzewski final home game at Cameron Indoor Stadium last season. The Tar Heels knocked the Blue Devils out of the 2022 NCAA Tournament in the Final Four.

There's really no revenge for that but I'll take the points with Duke based on all the previous analysis.

College Hoops Best Bet #3: Duke +4 (-110)