Prop bets for No. 7 Duke men's basketball vs. Arkansas

Senior guard Jeremy Roach drives to the basket against La Salle Nov. 21.
Senior guard Jeremy Roach drives to the basket against La Salle Nov. 21.

In its first road test of the year, Duke men’s basketball travels to Fayetteville, Ark., Wednesday night to take on Arkansas. Before tipoff, the Blue Zone has you covered with some can’t-miss prop bets:

Duke (-4.5) vs Arkansas

Duke is headed to Fayetteville, Ark., after a shaky home win against Southern Indiana Friday. The Blue Devils entered the locker room at halftime down four points against their Ohio Valley visitors, a team who came to Durham with a 1-5 record. Duke ultimately rallied in the second half to defeat the Screaming Eagles 80-62, but the team’s lackluster first-half performance was concerning. The Blue Devils hope to continue to justify their No. 7 position in the top 25, and a sound away victory against a tough opponent can send the message that Duke still belongs amongst the best teams in the NCAA.

On the contrary, Arkansas dropped out of this week’s top 25 after pretty convincingly losing to North Carolina in last week’s Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament. The Razorbacks lost their star scorer Tramon Mark to a scary fall and back injury with only a minute remaining in the game. The junior guard exited on a stretcher after scoring his career-high 34 points against the Blue Devils’ Tobacco Road rivals. Mark is unexpected to play against Duke as Arkansas heads back to Bud Walton Arena with something to prove in its ACC versus SEC matchup. 

The contest against the Razorbacks will be the first time that head coach Jon Scheyer’s “Freshmen Four” get to play in an opposing team’s arena. Other than the Blue Devils’ Chicago trip to play Michigan State in the neutral United Center, Duke has only played basketball this season within the comfortable confines of Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Blue Devils did experience an anticipated barn-burner against Arizona in the second matchup of the season, but even then, it couldn’t pull off a victory with the crowd on its side. Although Duke has a stronger lineup than Arkansas at this point in the season, especially considering the Razorbacks’ injured Mark, this game will not be handed to them. The Blue Devils may very well walk off Nolan Richardson Court with a victory but not by a margin greater than a score or two.

Pick: Arkansas +4.5

Over/Under 149.5 total points

Duke has experienced effective offensive performances across its starting lineups in many of its home victories early in the season. It seems that any Blue Devil’s shooting slump is evened out by another’s hot streak. Duke was dragged to a sloppy victory against Michigan State due to the sudden offensive heroics of freshman Caleb Foster. Against La Salle, it appeared that Jeremy Roach’s off night was Tyrese Proctor and Sean Stewart’s time to shine with the duo picking up 22 and 16 points, respectively. Therefore, the Blue Devils will be able to score against Arkansas, but the source of the scoring is yet to be determined. 

Against Duke, the Razorbacks will likely be missing their leading scorer in Mark, but they have players to fill the void he leaves. Guard Khalif Battle and forward Trevon Brazile trail Mark in scoring but also are averaging in the double digits for the season. Also, considering its opponent’s wide range in scoring, Arkansas may be hopeless on defense against the Blue Devils and have no choice but to attempt to exploit Duke’s defensive bigs to simply outscore its ranked visitors. Expect an electric, fast-paced and high-scoring clash.

Pick: Over 149.5 points

Jeremy Roach over/under 11.5 points

Captain Roach has had his fair share of big games, and his experience tends to shine when it's most needed. Consider how he dropped 20 points in last season’s home game against the Tar Heels or how he led the Blue Devils to an ACC Championship with 23 points against Virginia. Roach looks to record a similar performance against the Razorbacks, especially considering the leadership he’s required to display in Duke’s first true away matchup this season. The senior guard will likely turn to driving towards the basket or his signature midrange pull-ups to get Duke’s motor started in Arkansas. 

Pick: Over 11.5 points


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