The Blue Zone brings you our prop bets for Duke's bout with Miami:
Duke (-11) vs. Miami
Coming off of a solid past week, the Blue Devils are looking to win three consecutive games for the second time this season and its 26-point win against Clemson on Saturday has many Duke fans thinking it could have been the turning point that sets this team up for a strong second half.
Despite the surprisingly dominant performance against the Tigers, oddsmakers are remaining conservative when it comes to picking the Blue Devils. Can we blame them? With only a 3-9 record against the spread this season, this team has had a tendency to underperform and play down to the level of their competition.
Duke will be facing Miami, a team that currently sits second to last in the ACC standings with a 2-9 conference record. The Hurricanes are in the midst of a four-game losing streak, which includes 12 and 14 point losses to Wake Forest and Notre Dame, respectively, two teams that Duke has beat this season.
Although they had an impressive win against then-No. 16 Louisville which featured sophomore guard Isaiah Wong scoring 30 points, Miami has missed the veteran presence of senior Chris Lykes. The 5-foot-7 guard who has been out with an ankle injury since Dec. 4 and facing off against the Blue Devils with his talents will make grabbing a victory ever more difficult for the injury-ridden Hurricanes.
By all accounts, Duke should be favored in this matchup. It is finally beginning to establish rhythm, facing off against a team that has not won in two weeks. It would not surprise me if Miami kept it close for the first half, but the Blue Devils will most likely pull away to win this game and continue their momentum. Bet on Duke to cover the spread.
Pick: Duke (-11)
Over/Under 136.5 Points
The only player in Duke’s starting lineup that consistently shoots the 3-ball and is above 34% from downtown is Matthew Hurt, who is also the team’s primary low-post scorer. The Blue Devils’ inconsistent shooting and lack of a true paint presence has led to their offense being inconsistent at times, but despite this, they average 74.2 points per game.
The issue in many games this season has been on the defensive side of the ball, as the Blue Devils are in the bottom half of the ACC in points allowed per game. Considering that they allow 70.2 points per contest, at first, it would appear reasonable to bet the over.
But on the other hand, Miami is averaging a mere 65.5 points per game. A large sum of that scoring has come from Isaiah Wong, who averages 17.4 points per game, but his production will most likely be diminished by the on-ball pressure from Duke’s Jordan Goldwire. To expect any more scoring than what the Hurricanes average would be unrealistic.
It is clear that the 136.5 point over/under comes from the assumption that the Blue Devils will be able to dictate the pace in the Watsco Center. If Duke is able to pull away at any point, most likely later in the game, I’d still expect their total to be less than their season average. Coming off of a solid past week, the Blue Devils are looking to win three consecutive games for the second time this season. The Hurricanes offense has lagged behind most teams this year, and since that will likely not change in this matchup, tentatively go with the under for Monday’s game.
Pick: Under (136.5)
Jalen Johnson Over/Under 14.5 Points
After missing over a month due to a foot injury, Jalen Johnson was inconsistent throughout January. He had a 24-point game followed by a nine-point game against Louisville, and then an 18-point game followed by a nine-point game against Clemson. Although the freshman forward began the season with a 19-point and 19-rebound performance, he has taken a back seat to Matthew Hurt and DJ Steward at times.
Although Johnson has the potential to score in bunches, it seems unlikely that it will happen against this Miami team. He most likely will be guarded by the identically built Anthony Walker, a 6-foot-9 forward. In addition to this matchup, Johnson’s affinity for driving to the basket will be challenged by the Hurricanes’ athletic rim protector, Deng Gak.
If the talented freshman is to achieve the over mark in this game, he will need to rely on his shooting abilities. As a 30.8% three point shooter and 62.5% free throw shooter, the chances appear unlikely. Nonetheless, the Blue Devils should not have to rely on him having a huge night to come away victorious.
Johnson is only averaging 12.0 points per game this season. I don’t expect him to exceed that by much, if at all. Choosing the under is the best bet.
Pick: Johnson Under (14.5)
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