As Duke prepares to open its season against Jacksonville at Cameron Indoor Stadium Monday night, the Blue Zone has you covered ahead of the contest with our can't-miss prop bets:
Duke (-18.5) vs. Jacksonville
Monday’s season opener has the odds heavily tipped toward the Blue Devils' favor as Jon Scheyer officially opens his head coaching career against the Jacksonville Dolphins. Duke showed out in its preseason finale against Fayetteville State Friday, completing an 82-45 rout with plenty of talent on display. Expectations are riding high in the first regular season contest not featuring former head coach Mike Krzyzewski, though Scheyer has crafted a team containing a potentially lethal blend of star freshmen and experienced talent to pull off another blowout win.
But despite the odds on Duke's side, Jacksonville will likely prove to be a worthy opponent. In their 2021-22 campaign, the Dolphins, under the helm of then-first year head coach Jordan Mincy, had a 21-10 record that culminated in a trip to the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship, where they lost narrowly against Bellarmine, 77-72. As Mincy looks to continue Jacksonville’s momentum, he returns four players from his starting lineup in that final contest, including redshirt senior guard Kevion Nolan and redshirt senior forward Bryce Workman, who averaged 13.9 points and 3.8 rebounds, and 9.8 points and 5.6 rebounds per game last season, respectively. On the defensive side, the Dolphins’ size and strength may provide a test for the Blue Devils.
But despite Jacksonville’s talent, Duke is ranked seventh in the country for a reason. The Dolphins will provide a perfect, yet manageable game to continue to build team chemistry and allow the freshmen to gain experience, but the matchup looks to be a notch in the Blue Devil win column.
Pick: Duke -18.5
If Fayetteville was any indication, this Duke team is capable of pulling off a win by a large margin. The contest promises to be high scoring, especially if freshman Dereck Lively II makes an appearance after sitting out the preseason games due to a calf muscle strain injury. However, if the Blue Devils take control of the game early on and can build a substantial lead, Scheyer will likely use the opportunity to put some players who typically don't start in, so they can get some solid minutes on the court. In that event, Duke could give up some more baskets on the defensive end. And especially if this contest is another rout, neither team is likely to put up big enough numbers to reach a combined total of 141, but anything is possible given the talent on the Blue Devil offense.
Pick: Under 140
Jacob Grandison and Ryan Young both over 10 points:
With a freshman-heavy roster, experience is worth its weight in gold for this Duke team. Scheyer found the perfect blend of new blood and wisdom in graduate transfers Jacob Grandison from Illinois and Ryan Young from Northwestern. The two combined for a total 29 points during the Fayetteville contest, working with freshman forward Mark Mitchell to lead the Blue Devils in 44 of the team’s 82 points. Grandison’s sharp-shooting abilities make him a threat from anywhere on the court as his composed play provides consistency and confidence. Young, on the other hand, can dominate in the paint with his physicality and soft touch at the rim. These two might not be the star headliners of this Duke team, but they can make a difference in any game with their shooting capabilities and leadership. If Grandison and Young both put up double-digits Monday night, it’s sure to be a good day for the Blue Devils.
Pick: Over 10
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