With No. 2 seed Duke set to take on No. 4 seed Arkansas in its Elite Eight game Saturday evening, the Blue Zone has you covered with some can't-miss prop bets:
Duke (-4) vs. Arkansas
After a short stint as the underdog Thursday night, the Blue Devils return to competition Saturday as the favorite. Sending Texas Tech home in a nail-biter that didn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel until the final 30 seconds of play, the victory belonged to which team could outlast the other—and when all was said and done, that team was Duke. Expect that energy to continue as the Blue Devils take on the Razorbacks at the Chase Center. Duke’s matchup against Texas Tech was arguably one of its most difficult of the entire season, even testing it more than some of its losses have in terms of whether it could close out the game.
After shutting down KenPom's top-ranked defense in the country, taking on the nation’s 11th-ranked defense doesn’t look too daunting. The Razorbacks may have defeated Gonzaga, but so did the Blue Devils, even if it was back in November. With KenPom's second-ranked offense in collegiate basketball and a fantastic defensive showing throughout its three tournament games thus far, the Blue Devils have the tools to close out this match and will be aiming to find their rhythm from the start. In the past two games, the Blue Devils have won by nine and five points, so if Duke is to win Saturday, then expect Duke to cover the spread. Duke may not close out the contest until the final minutes of play, but don’t doubt the squad as it sets its eyes on the prize of a trip to New Orleans.
Pick: Duke -4
Sure, both teams have had high and low-scoring contests, but I truly don’t think this game will end as a high-scoring affair. The dust of the first two rounds and the suspense of the Sweet Sixteen has settled, and now is not the time to play too fast. Instead, it will come down to showing the talent and prowess in each team’s arsenal. It’s more than likely one or both of the team’s score more than 70 points, but none of Arkansas’ games in the tournament have gone over a 146.5 point total, and though two of Duke’s have, it’s likely that the Blue Devils play at a reduced speed. With that in mind, a total under 146.5 is a good-looking bet.
Pick: Under 146.5
Largest lead of game over/under 14.5
With each team coming into their battles against their Sweet Sixteen opponent as the underdogs and defeating them anyway, Duke and Arkansas have proved they are closely-matched teams. The Blue Devils are the favorite to win the contest, but after the Razorbacks’ six-point win against Gonzaga, a lead ballooning over 14.5 points is not too likely for either side—it's March, after all, and most games stay tight from start to finish. Additionally, Duke is one of the best offensive teams in the country, and if Arkansas pulls ahead, expect the Blue Devils to try to claw back at the deficit at breakneck speed. This bet is looking like free money, especially if you’ve been watching both teams throughout the tournament.
Pick: Under 14.5
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Ana Young is a Trinity sophomore and an assistant Blue Zone editor of The Chronicle’s 118th volume.