Ahead of the Blue Devils' home opener against Army, the Blue Zone brings our can't-lose prop bets for the game:
Duke (-25.5) vs. Army
Ahead of tonight's game, almost all odds point towards a Blue Devil victory. Though both Duke and Army enter the showdown with one regular-season game in the books, the teams competed against vastly different levels of competition.
The No. 9 Blue Devils tallied a 79-71 win against No. 10 Kentucky Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden, proving that this squad has primed themselves for tough competition. In another part of the state in West Point, N.Y., the Black Knights secured an imposing 83-52 victory over their D-III opponent, New Paltz, a team that recorded a .167 in-conference win mark in their last season. Though one in-season match is not enough to gauge either team's performance in subsequent games, Duke's triumph, specifically against a top-10 team, is a favorable feat that will intimidate even the stealthiest of teams.
Both Army and Duke's rosters this season feature a blend of new and old faces. However, the Black Knights' headliners are returners on the team, while the Blue Devils' starting five includes both veterans and two of the top players in the 2021 recruiting class, No. 4 Paolo Banchero and No. 23 Trevor Keels. On the other hand, Army's squad did not add any ranked recruits to their roster this season, so the team must work with their proven top players, including sophomore Charlie Peterson and senior Josh Caldwell. However, given that the Black Knights' team is relatively the same regarding who will see playing time, a quick evaluation of their track record indicates that a Duke-Army matchup will be further in favor of the former. Last season, in their only cross-opponent competition, both teams competed with Bellarmine, and while Army lost in a 77-67 bout, the Blue Devils defeated Bellarmine 76-54. Duke is projected to put out a much more impressive season this winter than last year, so it's reasonable to conclude that the Blue Devils will hand the Black Knights a blow greater than 25.5 points.
Pick: Duke -25.5
Considering that Army’s roster features relatively the same players it saw lead last year, predicting how they’ll play this season comes with more ease, as fans and spectators alike have already seen how this team plays. A quick look at their record from last season reveals that eight of their 22 games went over 147 points. When factoring in that the teams they competed against in matches going over that edge are not nearly as high-powered as Duke, for bettors, there is value to be found in a contest against the Blue Devils surpassing that total.
Pick: Over 146.5
Wendell Moore Jr. Over/Under 12.5 Points
Moore started last season slim. Though his first game was intense, garnering 13 points against Coppin State, his first five matches ultimately saw him average 3.8 points per game. However, this dynamic changed come the Blue Devils' game against Boston College, in which he miraculously put up an impressive 25 points. For the remainder of the schedule, Moore continued to put on a show, ending the season with an average of 11.2 points scored across the final 19 games. With just one game recorded, Moore has hit the ground running, registering 12 points to help the Blue Devils best Kentucky. Though the basketball season has just begun, expect Moore to take the reigns this year. Not only is this his junior year, but his upgraded position to starter and title as captain means that he will see plenty of action, especially this weekend. Given that Moore has all the cards in his favor to succeed, a match against Army means that fans can expect him to record some big numbers Friday night.
Pick: Over 12.5
Get The Chronicle straight to your inbox
Signup for our weekly newsletter. Cancel at any time.
Ana Young is a Trinity sophomore and an assistant Blue Zone editor of The Chronicle’s 118th volume.