Sunday afternoon brings us two more Elite Eight matchups as the 2024 NCAA Tournament rolls on. We have NC State vs Duke and Tennessee vs Purdue to lock in the last two Final Four teams. Check out these Elite 8 predictions and college basketball bets for March Madness as you enjoy the Sunday games. 

All of these college basketball betting odds and lines are accurate as of this writing, but be sure to shop around at different sportsbooks. Let’s now dive into my NCAA Tournament picks for Sunday, March 31st.


NCAA Tournament Elite Eight Predictions & March Madness Bets: Sunday, 3/31

#11 NC State vs #4 Duke Elite Eight Prediction: Wolfpack +7.5 (-120 BetMGM)

Who else had North Carolina State getting to the Elite Eight? Me neither. Well, here the Wolfpack are in a matchup against in-state rival Duke on Sunday night. It’s an ACC showdown with a Final Four berth up for grabs. 

NC State pulled off the upset over Marquette in the Sweet 16, winning by nine points despite being 7.5-point underdogs. This is the Wolfpack’s first Elite Eight appearance since 1986 and it’s come improbably as a No. 11 seed. A few weeks ago, they didn’t even have a chance of getting into the March Madness bracket without winning the ACC conference tournament. Well, NC State did that and hasn’t looked back since. 

Meanwhile, Duke edged out Houston in the Elite Eight with a 54-51 victory. The Blue Devils looked overmatched early on in that game but rode a strong second half to pull out the win. That came after Duke comfortably handled Vermont and James Madison in the first two games of the Tournament. 

If you’re wondering, Duke and NC State have faced each other twice already this season. The first was a 15-point home win for the Blue Devils towards the end of the regular season at the beginning of March. The second, and most recent, was a five-point win for NC State in the ACC Tournament – despite being an 11-point underdog.

At this point, how can we not keep riding NC State to keep the magic going? The Wolfpack have now won outright as underdogs in six straight instances during their ACC Tournament title run and in the NCAA bracket. They’re also now 11-6-1 ATS as underdogs this season. 

NC State has something special going and it’s getting contributions all across the roster. In the Elite Eight win, DJ Horne stepped up for 19 points and Mohamed Diarra was arguably the MVP with 11 points and 15 rebounds while owning the paint. Casey Morsell and Michael O’Connell are underrated role players in the backcourt too. 

Don’t forget about big man DJ Burns, who had a quiet game on Friday but will be asked to do more in this matchup vs Duke. Burns had 27 points against the Blue Devils in the regular season and his presence will be needed against Kyle Filipowski on Sunday. 

There’s something to be said about a team that’s running this hot in the month of March. We’ve seen it plenty of times in the NCAA Tournament and NC State is the latest instance of a squad that’s flipped the script despite underwhelming regular-season results. The Wolfpack went just 17-14 before winning the ACC conference tourney. Still, this team has a ton of momentum going into the Elite Eight and it faces a familiar foe whom they just beat two weeks ago on a neutral court.

As for Duke, while it’s impressive that they’ve reached the Elite Eight, its run deserves a closer look. The Blue Devils beat Vermont and James Madison, two mid-major teams that may have been popular upset picks but Duke was expected to win both games. Then it just squeaked by a Houston team that lost its best player, Jamal Shead, to an ankle injury late in the first half. If Shead played the full game, we could be looking at Houston winning instead. 

If you need some more ammo for backing NC State in this game, check out these interesting trends. Elite Eight favorites of four points or fewer have gone just 2-10 SU and 1-10-1 ATS in the past 12 games and have covered only 31% of the matchups since 1998. Better-seeded teams in the Elite Eight, like Duke, are just 47-45 SU and 33-55-4 ATS (37.5%) since 2000. Finally, when two teams face off in the Elite Eight that are seeded No. 3 or worse, the lower-seeded team is 7-3 SU and 8-2 ATS since 2013. 

All the trends and the vibes point to NC State to keep it going. Take them on the point spread and consider sprinkling a little on the moneyline to pull yet another outright upset.