Before Duke hosts Florida State for its last matchup of 2022, the Blue Zone has you covered with some can't-miss prop bets:
Duke (-17.5) vs. Florida State
After falling to Wake Forest on the road, the Blue Devils have had 11 days to get back on track and return prepared to handle Florida State at home. The sportsbooks have faith that the squad has made key adjustments, as the 17.5-point spread is in Duke's favor. But while the Dec. 20 matchup in Winston-Salem, N.C., also slated the Blue Devils as the favorite, the underdog Demon Deacons showed up big time to take their highest-ranked victory yet against then-No. 14 Duke and cover the spread. Though not much time has passed since the loss, expect a new ball game from the Blue Devils as freshmen Dereck Lively II and Dariq Whitehead, who were both absent against Wake Forest due to non-COVID illness, return ready for battle against the Seminoles. When Whitehead and Lively, two of the top recruits in the 2022 class, are in the zone, their impact is loud. The two combine for an average 11.1 points per game, and both have had their fair share of imposing dunks this year. As they return to the court, the duo may look to help bring back the fire this team lacked against Wake Forest. If the Blue Devils have a New Year's resolution to be a top dog in the ACC and nationally, then getting a big lead and covering the spread against Florida State on New Year's Eve is the way to do it.
Despite the Seminoles' 4-10 record, the team is not necessarily one to dismiss. Duke and Florida State have had just one mutual opponent thus far—Purdue. Though both teams lost to the current No. 1 team, just three days after Duke fell to the Boilermakers 75-56 the Seminoles only lost 79-69. The Tallahassee, Fla., outfit also fell to then-No. 3 Virginia a few days after its loss to Purdue, but by just five points. While the return of a full roster for the Blue Devils means the group may be prepared to beat Florida State, since Duke is not the most consistent team this season, I don't think a win equals covering the spread. Without doubting Florida State, which has covered the spread six times this year, I tip my hat to the Seminoles on this one.
Pick: Florida State +17.5
Over/Under 143.5 points
Florida State has played three ACC games this season, which marks one more contest than Duke. In just one of those three games has the total gone above 143.5 points—when the team beat Notre Dame 73-72 Dec. 21. The other two matchups against Virginia and Louisville, respectively, finished with 119 and 128 total points at the final buzzer. Duke has similarly had three games this season go above the 143.5-point over/under, and of its ACC matchups, only its game against Wake Forest is included. While a high-scoring affair would be the perfect way for both teams to show up big to end the year, the team's histories point to that possibility as unlikely. As such, a bet on the under is the way to go.
Pick: Under 143.5 points
Dereck Lively II over/under two blocks
One of Duke's greatest assets this year is something that Florida State also has—height. The Blue Devils, which are ranked by KenPom as the sixth-tallest team in Division I and, armed with the likes of 6-foot-10 graduate center Ryan Young and the freshmen center duo of 7-foot Kyle Filipowski and 7-foot-1 Lively, have met their match in the nation's third-tallest team. The Seminoles have three players 6-foot-10 or taller who see action in the team's regular rotation, including one player who towers above Duke's tallest–the 7-foot-4 Naheem McCleod. McCleod, who made a season-high six blocks against Louisville earlier in December, is not to be looked past. Lively, who came close to McCleod's high with five blocks against Maryland Eastern Shore, will have to step up and maintain or exceed his two-block-per-game average, which he has only done one other time. With both teams sporting tall defenses, a high-blocking night from either group is not out of the question.
Pick: Over two blocks
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