Duke vs. NC State Elite Eight Best Bet and Prediction for Sunday, March 31

The Wolfpack's magical run faces its stiffest test yet
DJ Horne leads the Wolfpack in scoring in the NCAA Tournament
DJ Horne leads the Wolfpack in scoring in the NCAA Tournament / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Both Duke and NC State advanced through the Sweet 16, defeating Houston and Marquette respectively, to set up an in-state showdown in the Elite Eight between these ACC foes.

The Blue Devils were a bit fortunate when Houston star Jamal Shead went down early with an ankle injury, though still played well to win 54-51, while the Wolfpack dominated Marquette in a wire-to-wire 67-58 win.

NC State beat Duke in the ACC Tournament 74-69 and now has eight straight wins while covering the spread in seven of those contests. Can their magical run continue or will Duke play spoiler to make the Final Four?

Let's check out the updated odds before breaking down the matchup and giving my best bet.

Duke vs. NC State Odds, Spread and Total

Duke vs. NC State Best Bet and Prediction

Duke is a 6.5-point favorite with -275 odds on the moneyline and a total set at 142.5. The Blue Devils were 11-point favorites in the ACC Tournament loss, so this represents a pretty large shift in just a few weeks.

That being said, it's hard to shake how impressive this NC State team has been and I think they can keep things close as they face Duke for the third time this season. I'll be taking the Wolfpack to cover the 6.5-point spread, but there's a real argument to be made they can win this game and steal a shocking Final Four bid.

DJ Horne is the most important player for NC State. He led the team in scoring with 18 points when the Wolfpack beat the Blue Devils in the conference tournament and he's averaging 15.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game in the postseason. Duke's perimeter defense is relatively shaky, giving Horne an opportunity to attack early and apply some pressure against the favorites.

The Wolfpack's other DJ, DJ Burns, will be vital to a potential NC State upset as well. He had 24 points and 11 rebounds in the win over Oakland and while he only had four points against Marquette, his seven assists led the team.

If Burns can get Kyle FIlipowski into early foul trouble leveraging his physicality while Horne handles the scoring load, NC State can keep this within the number.

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Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.