With Duke back in action Monday night against Virginia at home, the Blue Zone has you covered ahead of time with some can't-miss prop bets:
Duke (-12.5) vs. Virginia
Coming off of an emphatic win in Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s last game in Chapel Hill, the Blue Devils have an abundance of momentum heading into a Monday night matchup against Virginia. Duke has now won its last five conference games, placing the team atop the ACC standings. But recent success is what makes this game dangerous: it reeks of a trap game.
By all accounts, Duke should win this game. With signs of freshman guard Trevor Keels beginning to return to form at the end of the North Carolina game, along with recent outbursts by AJ Griffin, the Blue Devils are poised to secure the victory against an offensively underwhelming Virginia team. The main threat comes in the form of senior forward Jayden Gardner. The transfer from East Carolina is averaging 14.3 points per game, and at 6-foot-6 and 246 pounds, Gardner possesses the ability to break down a defense. Given Gardner's production and the threat of the Cavaliers surprising a confident Duke team, the visitors should cover Monday.
Pick: Virginia +12.5
Over/Under 127 points
Since this game could be a defensive battle, expect a low-scoring affair. Virginia has the top-ranked defense in the ACC, allowing 59.5 points per game, and Duke is third, holding opponents to 64.8 points per game. Along with the stout defenses on either side, Duke and Virginia both struggle to score efficiently in these types of games. In matchups against Clemson and Notre Dame, the seventh and fourth-ranked defensive teams in the ACC, respectively, the Blue Devils only averaged 64 points. That is a significant drop-off from their season average of 80.7 points per game, the highest scoring average in the conference. Virginia also has the second-worst scoring offense in the ACC, averaging a mere 63.2 points per game.
It is also noticeable that the production of captain Wendell Moore Jr. has dropped off slightly, at least in terms of scoring. After starting off the season with prolific scoring numbers, the junior forward has averaged 9.5 points in his last four games. Moore has still been a pillar of consistency this year, leading the ACC in assists per game for a while, so it was certainly strange to witness him total only one field goal against Notre Dame. Overall, the scoring projections do not appear promising on either side, so the under is the safe pick.
Pick: Under 127
AJ Griffin over/under 2.5 3-pointers made
After Griffin missed most of his last two years of high school basketball and spent most of Duke's first few games on the bench, there were plenty of questions surrounding expectations for his freshman season. However, upon returning from a preseason knee injury, he has slowly worked his way into the rotation and has now solidified his position in the starting lineup. Griffin—who is shooting 50% from 3-point range this season—has been on a tear lately, averaging 20.7 points per game in his last three appearances. He has been able to showcase the stellar shooting, strength and athleticism that could result in him being an eventual NBA lottery pick. The forward appears to be improving and gaining confidence in every outing.
One might expect Griffin to shoot more efficiently at home, but the emerging star has bolstered his overall percentage by converting on a blistering 63.6% of threes in away games. Griffin has performed better away from Cameron Indoor Stadium so far, averaging fewer points and minutes when compared to his away game averages. Though still impressive, the New York native connects on a more reasonable 44% of his 3-point attempts during home games. This trend, coupled with the stout defense of Virginia, presents a game in which Griffin will likely hit fewer 3-point shots than he has in recent performances.
Pick: Under 2.5 3-pointers made
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