ACC Blue Bloods Aim to Get Back on Track Tuesday – NCAAM January 26

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The Atlantic Coast Conference’s two most storied basketball programs look to leapfrog two teams with less rich histories to get back on track in 2021. Neither Duke nor North Carolina is currently ranked in the Associated Press Top 25. When that occurred for the first time this season in last week’s poll, it marked the first time since 1982 that neither was nationally ranked in the AP’s weekly poll. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh, currently residing in fifth in the ACC, looks to knock off another “Tobacco Road” squad a week after dropping Duke 79-73. Georgia Tech has had no difficulty knocking off elite programs this season, either, with wins over Kentucky and North Carolina already. Coach Josh Pastner’s team aims to add another college basketball powerhouse to the list of victims in Duke Tuesday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium. All odds courtesy of Betonline.

7:00 p.m. ET – North Carolina (-3) at Pittsburgh O/U:145

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
North Carolina -3 (-120) -160 O 145 (-102)
Pittsburgh +3 (+100) +140 U 145 (-118)

The 10-5 Tar Heels travel to Pittsburgh to take on the 8-3 Panthers. North Carolina exacted revenge on rival North Carolina State last Saturday for an early- season loss, winning 86-76 win in the Dean Dome. The Tar Heels are beginning to look like the Tar Heels again. They have won four of their last five and have regained traction following a sloppy start to the season. Pittsburgh lost to Wake Forest 76-75 on Saturday in Winston-Salem. The Panthers led by as many as 10 points in the second half, but were unable to put away the scrappy Demon Deacons.

North Carolina is led by their big men, Armando Bacot Jr. and Garrison Brooks, both of whom average double-digit points per game to go along with over seven rebounds each. Carolina had five players score in double figures last Saturday, including three from off the bench. Its balanced scoring attack was arguably the deciding factor in securing the victory. Pittsburgh is led by Justin Champagnie, who is averaging 19.9 points and 12.4 rebounds per game. The Panthers often go as he does, with him only getting 17 points in the loss at Wake Forest. Just last Tuesday, Champagnie exploded for 31 points against Duke on 80-percent shooting from the field in the Panthers’ home upset of the Blue Devils.

Carolina is being overvalued by its moderate success against subpar competition lately. Pittsburgh remains disrespected by oddsmakers despite being 7-4 against the spread. The Tar Heels are 7-3 in their last 10 games, yet only 3-7 against the spread in those same 10 contests. Pitt has been the better and more consistent basketball team throughout the season and there is no reason why the Panthers should not be able to prove it Tuesday. Do not bother with the two points, take Pittsburgh to win outright.

The Bets
Pittsburgh
+140

9:00 p.m. ET – Georgia Tech at Duke (-6) O/U:141½

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Georgia Tech +6 (-109) +215 O 140 (-110)
Duke -6 (-111) -255 U 140 (-110)

The 7-4 Yellow Jackets head to Durham to take on the 5-5 Blue Devils. Georgia Tech’s five-game winning streak was snapped on Saturday with a two-point loss to No. 8 Virginia. The Yellow Jackets led by as many as double digits in the second half, but fell due to a furious Virginia comeback. Duke lost its third straight game on Saturday at Louisville, 70-65. Duke is now .500 on the season and is in serious danger of missing the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1996.

Georgia Tech is led by guard Jose Alvarado, who is averaging 17.4 points per game this season. Alvarado also makes an impact on the defensive end, leading the conference with 2.6 steals per game. Matthew Hurt leads the charge for the Blue Devils offensively with 19.4 points per game, ranking second in the conference. Hurt also hauls down 8.2 rebounds per game, which ranks third in the ACC. Another key piece to Duke turning this season around will have to be Jalen Johnson. The five-star freshman showed just how good he could be last Tuesday with 24 points, 15 rebounds, and 7 assists against Pittsburgh. However, Johnson then followed up the career night with only nine points, four rebounds, six turnovers and no assists in last Saturday’s loss at Louisville.

Duke is an abysmal 1-9 against the spread this season. Oddsmakers are making a killing off of the public betting Duke because of the name on the front of its jersey. With no fans, Cameron Indoor has not been kind to Duke backers this season, either, as the Blue Devils are 0-6 against the spread this season on their vaunted home court. Georgia Tech is 4-1 against the spread as an underdog this season and has looked better than the Blue Devils at times throughout this season. Take Georgia Tech with the five points as this is a “coin flip” game.

The Bets
Georgia Tech +6
-109
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Joe Menzer / Author

Joe is an award-winning writer and editor who has covered the NBA, NFL, NASCAR, golf, various collegiate athletics and other sports for newspapers, Turner Sports, Fox Sports and ESPN. He has been on the beat for seven Super Bowls, six Daytona 500s and numerous NBA playoff series and All-Star Games. He once was dispatched to Rome, Italy to spend time with an NBA draft choice who opted to play overseas, after which he produced an award-winning series of stories. He also is passionate about fantasy sports and breaking down games in ways that even novice gamblers can use to make their most intelligent wagering decisions.

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