Before No. 9 Duke men's basketball takes on Bucknell in Cameron Indoor Stadium Friday night, the Blue Zone is here with some can’t-miss prop bets:
Duke (-34.5) vs Bucknell
After two tense, hard-fought matchups against then-No. 12 Arizona and No. 18 Michigan State, Duke’s schedule lightens up a bit as it faces Bucknell at home Friday. Conventional wisdom might indicate that the Blue Devils will view this matchup as an easy victory, leading them to underestimate the Bison. However, the difficulty of Duke’s early season schedule might help it overcome the complacency that usually affects heavily-favored teams. The Blue Devils needed to be at their absolute best to compete against the Wildcats and defeat the Spartans, and that mentality will push Duke to excel even against a lesser team on paper.
Bucknell has had a rough start to its season, going 1-3 through its first four games. It doesn’t get any easier for the Bison, though, who will face a Blue Devil team that is just starting to hit its stride. Duke is faster, stronger and more skilled at every position, and even the Blue Devil bench will pose immense problems for Bucknell. If Duke head coach Jon Scheyer opts to rest some of his starters for significant portions of the game, the Blue Devils still have the depth to defeat their opponent handily. Look for Duke freshmen TJ Power and Sean Stewart to potentially have breakout games after seeing limited playing time during the Blue Devils’ opening three matchups.
While 34 points may seem like too much to bet on Duke, the Bison’s early-season struggles, paired with Duke’s immense talent advantage, should lead to a comfortable victory for the Blue Devils.
Pick: Duke -34.5
Over/Under 141 points
Duke’s offense has struggled at times during the early part of the season — the Blue Devils shot just 43.1% and 44.9% from the field against Arizona and Michigan State, respectively. That will likely change Friday night as Bucknell’s defensive deficiencies afford Duke ample space and time to score at will. Look for the Blue Devils to approach and perhaps even exceed their season-high of 92 points they set against Dartmouth.
At the same time, Duke’s likely dominance will afford Scheyer the opportunity to experiment with different lineups. As such, the Blue Devils’ defensive stalwarts may see less time on the court than fans have been accustomed to as Duke’s more inexperienced bench receives minutes. Consequently, the Bison’s offense may be able to pick up significant point totals when the game has already been decided during garbage time. If both the Blue Devils and Bucknell perform strongly on the offensive side of the ball, Duke fans might be treated to one of the highest scoring games of the season.
Pick: Over 141
Kyle Filipowski Over/Under 21.5 Points
Sophomore superstar Kyle Filipowski has lived up to the hype through the first three games of the season, averaging 21.7 points per game on 55.6% shooting. While the AP preseason All-American will likely continue his dominance against the Bison, it’s less probable he will match the lofty point totals he has reached in the early goings of this campaign. The Blue Devils will likely get out to an early lead, allowing Scheyer to give Filipowski some much needed rest. The Westtown, N.Y., native played over 30 minutes in the games against the Wildcats and the Spartans, all while battling some minor injuries that forced him to wear a knee brace against Arizona. As such, while Filipowski may continue to shine against Bucknell, limited playing time may prevent him from surpassing his season average in points.
Pick: Under 21.5
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