The University of North Carolina and Duke University men’s basketball teams represent one of the greatest rivalries in college sports. Their annual matchups energize fans beyond just Tobacco Road. It’s a rivalry that will attract attention from North Carolina sports betting apps when they launch in March.

UNC and Duke rank among the winningest Division I basketball programs ever. They have made a combined 38 Final Four appearances and won 11 national championships, including 10 since 1982.

Both schools placed in the Top 10 of this week’s Associated Press poll. UNC slotted third, while voters ranked Duke ninth. The Blue Devils dropped a few spots after UNC beat them 93-84 last Saturday.

Does winning the first head-to-head matchup lead to more success when tournament time arrives? Our team at CarolinaPlays.com checked past seasons to find out.

Initial Wins Haven’t Led to Postseason Glory

In years since 2010, Duke has won the first matchup nine times. But UNC has taken four of the last seven initial meetings.

Just once has the winner advanced furthest in March. That was Duke’s 2014-15 championship squad. Last year’s Blue Devils, Coach K’s farewell team, reached the Final Four before losing to archrival UNC.

The Tar Heels won that national semifinal en route to the title game, where they fell to Kansas. Overall, UNC has fared better after first losing to Duke. Following those nine initial defeats, UNC made three Final Fours and won the 2017 championship.

When UNC won the first matchup, their March Madness record shows just four total wins in four appearances. Duke also reached two Elite Eights despite starting off with a rivalry loss.

March Presents New Opportunity

Legal North Carolina sports betting starts March 11, giving fans time to wager on the ACC and NCAA Tournaments.

Leading sportsbook DraftKings gives UNC +1500 odds to win its seventh championship. It pegs Duke’s odds for a sixth banner at +2800. CarolinaPlays.com will provide the best North Carolina sports betting app promos when operations go live!

✅ Updated on February 24, 2024 by Frank Sutton