With Duke men's basketball on the road against a surging Notre Dame team Monday night, the Blue Zone has you covered ahead of time with a trio of can't-miss prop bets:
Duke (-5.5) vs Notre Dame:
The Blue Devils have been a hard team to bet on this season, easily covering some games (and even beating the spread entirely against Gonzaga) while blowing others, none more prominent than their loss to Miami as a 15-point favorite. Duke has a high ceiling and can easily cover the spread tomorrow, but also has a low floor here and has been inconsistent, leaning odds in favor of the Fighting Irish.
Notre Dame has won 10 of its last 11 games. The Irish are clicking on all cylinders, balancing freshman talent in Blake Wesley along with veteran experience in Prentiss Hubb, Dane Goodwin, Nate Laszewski and Paul Atkinson Jr., all of whom are in their junior year or above. Notre Dame is also very well-coached, as head coach Mike Brey has been at the helm since 2000 and has plenty of experience matching up against the Blue Devils. Notre Dame’s momentum, experience and coaching are a perfect recipe to give Duke fits Monday night, and the cherry on top is that this game will be played on Notre Dame’s home court in South Bend, Ind. Because 5.5 points is a relatively small margin, and Duke could even end up winning by six or more in a close game due to a late-game breakaway run as we saw in its weekend matchup with Louisville, this is a risky game to bet on either way. However, this will not be a blowout, and the Fighting Irish are in a great position to run 40 minutes with Duke. Look for the home team to cover, and potentially even win outright.
Pick: Notre Dame +5.5
This is another interesting betting line because both teams have scoring averages that hover right around half of this mark and have shown rather extreme disparities on both ends of the spectrum. The Blue Devils posted 84 points against Gonzaga and 103 two games later, but also showed offensive struggles in their 69-point and 66-point games against Georgia Tech and Ohio State, respectively. Duke has the firepower for a shootout but has shown offensive lulls on multiple occasions this season, sometimes struggling to get consistent buckets, especially when the 3-point shot isn't falling. However, the Blue Devils have scored 76 points or more in four of their last six games and are averaging 81.6 points per game, so look for Duke to cover their share of this spread.
Notre Dame is more concerning for the sake of breaking 143.5, both because their offense is not as explosive and because their defense has been more consistent. The Irish are averaging 71.6 points per game, and have relied on defense in some of their biggest wins this season, scoring just 66 and 69 against Kentucky and Virginia, respectively. The Irish have experience all around and will make it very difficult for the Blue Devils to get open shots, meaning that the open threes from freshman forward AJ Griffin that carried Duke in its win at Louisville will not be open Monday. The Blue Devils have some of the most remarkable talent in the country, but that talent is young and inexperienced. Notre Dame’s path to victory is not a shootout with Duke, but rather a defensive night centered around making the Blue Devils work for every bucket.
Look for this to be a lower-scoring game.
Pick: Under 143.5
Mark Williams Over/Under 10 rebounds
Sophomore center Mark Williams has dazzled the country with his ability to block shots, and he averages over 10 points per game, but arguably his most important statistic is in the rebounding department.
Williams is averaging 7.1 rebounds per game and Duke is 6-0 in games when he records at least nine rebounds. In all three of the Blue Devils’ losses this season, Williams fell shy of this margin with just seven rebounds. Duke was grossly out-rebounded against Florida State in its most recent loss, and rebounding has been a major weakness for the Blue Devils, particularly on the defensive end. Williams is second on the team in rebounding, falling short by about one board per game to freshman forward Paolo Banchero. However, Williams plays just under 10 minutes less per game. Moral of the story: when Williams is on the court, Duke needs to rebound.
Notre Dame has a relatively smaller roster with just two forwards at 6-foot-9 and 6-foot-10 in Atkinson and Laszewski, does not start a true center and gave up double-digit rebounds to two Virginia players in its most recent game. The stage is set for Williams to have a big game, especially on the boards. Look for the seven-footer to easily meet this.
Pick: Over 10 rebounds
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