For the second consecutive week, Duke men’s basketball leads right into the NFL Playoffs with a Saturday afternoon showing on national television, this time against Syracuse. To get your day started, read below for our can't-miss prop bets:
Duke (-11.5) vs. Syracuse
Take the Orange.
I’m tempted to lean with the Blue Devils here, mostly because I expect head coach Mike Krzyzewski's squad to come into this game with a fire after its brutal loss to Florida State Tuesday. But at the same time, this is Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim’s final trip to Cameron Indoor Stadium against Coach K, and it’s a win he is going to want badly. I don’t think Syracuse has enough firepower to pull off the upset, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it’s closer than Duke fans would like.
Pick: Syracuse +11.5
Over/Under 154 points
Both teams’ defenses haven’t been at their best recently, and this over/under line reflects that. That being said, I'd still take the over.
I can easily see Syracuse’s guards—specifically Buddy Boeheim—taking advantage of Trevor Keels’ likely absence out on the perimeter, while Paolo Banchero and Mark Williams feast on the Orange’s foul-happy bigs inside. Furthermore, unlike last Saturday, below freezing temperatures have forced the Cameron Crazies out of K-Ville and back inside until close to tip-off (the line monitors called grace until 10 a.m. Saturday), so the place likely won’t be buzzing like it was last weekend against N.C. State.
And lastly, it’s just more fun to roll with the over.
Pick: Over 154
First to score: Duke or Syracuse
An under-appreciated stat from this season is that until overtime against the Seminoles, Duke had won every single tip-off this season. When you have 7-foot-1 Mark Williams out there, that’ll happen.
What that also means is that the Blue Devils have begun every game with the ball, giving them a leg up on their opponents when it comes to getting on the scoreboard early. Coming off that loss at Florida State and going up against a Syracuse offense that could easily find a dangerous rhythm, starting the game hot is going to be essential.
If there’s one lock in this blog, this is it.
Pick: Duke to score first
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