Duke men's basketball is back on the road, taking on familiar foe Jim Boeheim and the Syracuse Orange Saturday. Before the conference matchup, the Blue Zone has you covered with some can't-miss prop bets:
Duke (-1.5) vs. Syracuse
After suffering two devastating away losses to Miami and Virginia, the Blue Devils picked up a key win against Notre Dame Tuesday night in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Despite the victory, Duke shot just 25% from three-point range and the squad’s late-game defense looked uncharacteristically shaky. Still, a bounce-back night from star center Kyle Filipowski and triumph in front of former head coach Mike Krzyzewski should provide the Blue Devils with enough momentum heading into their weekend in Syracuse, N.Y.
The Orange are fresh off of a big ACC win against N.C. State, fueled by a vital double-double from center Jesse Edwards. The Edwards-Filipowski matchup is one to watch, but it’s the talented pieces around these two stars that point to a Duke victory. One of Syracuse’s Achilles’ heels has been mitigating offensive rebounds. It has been outrebounded in six of its 10 losses this season, and there might not be a worse team to challenge in the paint than the lengthy Blue Devils. Big men Ryan Young, Dereck Lively II and Filipowski are certified glass-cleaners, all having more than 50 offensive boards this season. As a squad, Duke brings down 37.3% of rebounds on the offensive end. Edwards, at 6-foot-11, is capable of containing one Blue Devil big man, but multiple might be too steep a task. With March looming, Duke has its back against the wall. It will find some consistency on the road and pull out the win.
Pick: Duke -1.5
Over/Under 140.5 points
In what will likely be a close game, smart shot-taking and ball movement will be paramount for Duke to come out on top, and despite its defensive prowess, the over is a better bet. Both the Blue Devils and Orange average more than 71 points per game, which aligns well with the relatively low total. The over looks even better when you look more closely at the abundance of scorers on both rosters. For Syracuse, senior guard Joseph Girard III averages 16.9 points per game and has been on a tear working off screens and hunting his own shots. Edwards is a dominant offensive force in the paint, averaging 14.3 points per game this season and 21 through his last three games. On the Duke side, the dynamic guard duo of Tyrese Proctor and Jeremy Roach has caught fire recently, and with forward Dariq Whitehead appearing more healthy, the Blue Devils should field a well-rounded offense with weapons in all elements of the game—not to mention the seven-time ACC Rookie of the Week. Overall, in a fast-paced game, look for more scoring opportunities for both sides, and why not hedge for overtime while you’re at it? Take the over.
Pick: Over 140.5 points
Kyle Filipowski over/under 15.5 points
After failing to score a single point against Virginia, Filipowski responded with a stellar 22-point performance against Notre Dame. After the game, the Westtown, N.Y., native said that he played with “this edge, this chip on [his] shoulder.” That chip will still be there come Saturday. Against an Orange team that really only features one big man, expect Filipowski to feast, even factoring in the zone defense. He is averaging 15.1 points per game and has served as a key offensive outlet in important scenarios all year—and facing off against fellow candidate for ACC Freshman of the Year Judah Mintz should provide the 7-foot center even more reason to step up for Duke.
Pick: Over 15.5 points
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