With Duke headed to Charlottesville, Va., for a Saturday showdown at No. 8 Virginia, the Blue Zone has you covered with some can't-miss prop bets:
Duke (+5.5) vs. Virginia
After an electrifying, gritty home victory against North Carolina, the Blue Devils faced a humbling 22-point loss at Miami just two days later. The Blue Devils shot just 26.3% from beyond the arc and turned the ball over 21 times. Plagued by the turnover bug, Duke now averages a turnover in 15.7% of its offensive possessions this year.
Each year, under head coach Tony Bennett, Virginia is a consistent defensive powerhouse, and this year is no different. Only allowing 60.4 points per game, Virginia is the best scoring defense in the ACC. On the offensive end, the Cavaliers are led by four double-digit scorers, including senior guard Armaan Franklin with 12.2 points per game on 40.7% shooting and fifth-year forward Jayden Gardner with 11.5 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. After falling victim to a six-point upset on the road to in-state rival Virginia Tech, the Cavaliers bounced back at home, picking up an impressive ranked victory against No. 22 N.C. State.
With four days of rest, Duke now faces arguably its toughest challenge of the season. Virginia will provide a challenge for a Duke offense that has struggled with consistency. While the Cavaliers do not have an overwhelming offensive prowess, expect their play on both ends of the floor, coupled with a home-court advantage, to help them topple the Blue Devils comfortably.
Pick: Virginia -5.5
Over/Under 126.5 points
While Virginia enters with the best scoring defense in the ACC, Duke enters with the second-best. Only allowing 64.1 points per game and averaging 4.9 blocks, the Blue Devils have been fierce, sporting the 41st-best scoring defense in the nation. The two offenses have about the same proficiency, with Duke averaging 71.9 points per game now while the Cavaliers average 70 points per game.
In a matchup between great defenses and middling offenses, the line is reasonably low. Coming in at 126.5 points, Duke’s lowest line for any game of this season, the betting lines show how confidence in the ACC's best defenses to lock up opposing offenses. Expect the game to be a defensive slugfest, which is just the type of game Virginia is famous for.
Pick: Under 126.5 points
Dereck Lively II over/under 7.5 rebounds
After a quiet start to the season, Dereck Lively II has come to life on the glass over the past month. In the last six games, Lively has averaged 7.7 rebounds and 4.2 blocks per game. His 14-rebound, eight-block effort against North Carolina helped the Westtown School product win ACC Rookie of the Week honors. Virginia runs a smaller lineup, with team-leading rebounders Gardner and Ben Vander Plas standing at 6-foot-6 and 6-foot-8, respectively. Lively, standing at 7-foot-1, should make the most of his size advantage on the glass.
Pick: Over 7.5 rebounds
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