With No. 2 seed Duke set to take on No. 3 seed Texas Tech in its Sweet 16 game Thursday evening, the Blue Zone has you covered with some can't-miss prop bets:
Duke (+1) vs. Texas Tech
With any game possibly Duke’s last of the season and head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s last ever, the Blue Devils will need to grind to keep any lead in their Sweet 16 matchup Thursday. The Blue Devils and Krzyzewski said that they started at 0-0 when they began play in the NCAA tournament. And they’ve stuck to their word, with a current 2-0 record to uphold. Yes, Duke has been defeated by veteran teams before, and maybe the lack of experience together is its issue, but the Blue Devils have also proven that it can outlast a team with experience—with Gonzaga, Virginia, Wake Forest and Miami as examples.
The Blue Devils may have fallen during critical games this year, but the match against Texas Tech and its mighty defense will bring something different. The second-seeded Blue Devils can’t run their typical gameplan—instead, watch out for a lot of strategy and longer offensive possessions coming from these Blue Devils.
With a handful of potential first-round draft picks—giving a clear-cut talent advantage—and fresh off a big culture-defining win against Michigan State Sunday, the Blue Devils will be playing their hearts out the rest of the way, especially against the bruising defense of Texas Tech. The Duke underdog pick is just too tempting.
Pick: Duke +1
None of Duke’s last eight games have gone under 136.5 points. And of the 36 games the squad has played this season, only five have gone under this total. That’s a different story for the Red Raiders, who have had around half their games go under this mark. Texas Tech is a tough team with the top defense in the nation, per KenPom. It is unlikely Duke approaches its scoring average for the season of 80.2, but a lively Blue Devils offense can push its way into the paint and past the tough defense. The Blue Devils' defense will also have to keep the Red Raiders on their toes to prevent any extended scoring runs.
The Blue Devils certainly have what it takes to stay competitive and take away the game—it's just a matter of executing when it matters. If Duke can control the pace and ignite the offense in the Chase Center Thursday, it's likely that Duke can push Texas Tech toward the over.
Pick: Over 136.5 points
Paolo Banchero and Mark Williams both over eight rebounds
Playing with one of the top defensive programs in the nation will require every Blue Devil who sees court time to remain with their head on a swivel and their toes ready to pivot. To do this, Duke must keep possession and be nifty with the ball, which starts with being the first to grab the ball off the glass. In Duke’s last six games, freshman forward Paolo Banchero has reached double digits in rebounds three times. Sophomore center Mark Williams has had four performances with over eight boards in the past six games. Expect the duo to be active on the boards to clean up the misses forced by the tough Red Raiders defense.
Pick: Over eight
Get The Chronicle straight to your inbox
Signup for our weekly newsletter. Cancel at any time.