The Blue Zone brings you our prop bets for Duke's battle with Notre Dame:
Notre Dame vs. Duke (-6.5)
Duke’s bout with Notre Dame in Cameron Indoor Stadium will feature two teams looking to get back on track with a win. The Fighting Irish had won two in a row, with an impressive 26-point win at Pittsburgh, before their heartbreakingly close loss to Georgia Tech Saturday. Duke finds itself in a similar position. After back-to-back wins against Georgia Tech and Clemson, the Blue Devils seemed to have found their rhythm—until they dropped two consecutive games to Miami and North Carolina. So which team will leave Tuesday with a win, and how will this relate to the spread?
Duke posted an impressive 10-point victory over the Fighting Irish in South Bend, Ind., earlier this season. With home-field advantage being a large factor in college basketball, and the Blue Devils now having freshman star Jalen Johnson back in action (he was sidelined with a foot injury in their first meeting), it would seem as though the Blue Devils would comfortably cover. However, this Notre Dame team has improved significantly since that December matchup, winning four of its last six ACC games.
In a game that features two much-improved teams, this game may come down to coaching. Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey brings a great deal of experience and talent, but Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski must get the nod here. With five national championships under his belt, I would hate to be the team having to travel to Durham to face off against a Blue Devil squad desperate to silence the increasingly loud rumors that they will miss the NCAA tournament. Look for Duke to have a big performance tomorrow and cover the spread.
Pick: Duke (-6.5)
Over/Under 148.5 points
Neither of these teams’ defenses are exceptional, and both of their offenses are fast-improving.
While Notre Dame’s junior guards Dane Goodwin and Prentiss Hubb were the only ones to score double digits against Duke earlier this season, Notre Dame’s offense is much more versatile this time around.
The Irish consistently have four players scoring in double digits, and leading the charge is junior forward Nate Laszewski who is shooting at a 52.5% mark from 3-point range this season. Furthermore, The Fighting Irish have posted 79 points or more in their last three games, a mark well above their season average of 71.8.
Duke has averaged 79.0 points per game in its last four contests. This is no surprise considering that now that the Blue Devils' young talent is starting to get the swing of things, they are moving the ball more than it has all season. Sophomore forward Matthew Hurt has been an offensive leader for the Blue Devils, averaging 18 points per game this season. Look for Hurt to have a big game tomorrow to keep his team ahead of the Fighting Irish.
Pick: Over (148.5)
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Matthew Hurt Over/Under 19.5 points
Coming off of a season-low seven points against North Carolina, all eyes will be focused on Hurt and if he will have a comeback game tomorrow. However, it may be an uphill battle considering he struggled to adjust to the Tar Heels’ bigs. Notre Dame has similar size, with two starters standing at at least 6-foot-10, but Hurt had no trouble scoring against the Fighting Irish in their first clash this season, as he posted 18 points.
After all, one of his biggest advantages is the ability to shoot with ease over defenders, and this was quite the challenge with North Carolina’s abundant big men.
The key to topping 19.5 points will be his success from beyond the arc. Hurt is shooting 41.1% from downtown this season, and an efficient showing from 3-point range will help him accumulate points without picking up fouls inside, as has been a problem in recent games.
The Minnesota native has the potential to post 20 points in the blink of an eye, and this will be an intriguing statistic to watch throughout the game. As deadly as Hurt is on the offensive end, Duke’s increasing success spreading the ball around, coupled with Notre Dame’s recent improvement should carry the day, making it difficult for Hurt to eclipse 19.5 points. If you have to pick one way or the other, bet on the under.
Pick: Hurt Under (19.5)