As No. 9 Duke men's basketball continues its homestand against La Salle, the Blue Zone is here with some can't miss prop bets:
Duke (-26.5) vs La Salle
A spread of more than twenty points will always be tough to cover. Countless factors could lead even the strongest of teams to falter, leaving a less-than-comfortable margin of victory at the end of the day. Tuesday’s contest between Duke and La Salle is no exception.
The 4-0 Explorers have shown strong competitiveness in every one of their early season games. Notably, La Salle’s roster has yielded a standout performance from three distinct guards in its last three games. Jhamir Brickus found his way to 22 points against Northeastern, Daeshon Shepherd also dropped 22 in the team’s 69-57 win versus Bucknell and Khalil Brantley scored 30 in the Explorers’ one-point win against Southern Indiana. This trifecta of lethal guards has led La Salle to a respectable 73.5 points per game. Having a wealth of options around the perimeter could be the Explorers’ key to cracking an impressive Duke defense.
For the Blue Devils, the key will be playing with pace and stretching the floor. Head coach Jon Scheyer’s team displayed flashes of this style in the second half of Friday’s competition against Bucknell. Pushing in transition and generating space for the wealth of guard talent allowed Duke to sink a season-high 13 3-pointers as the Blue Devils won by thirty. The team will need to lean further into its on-paper ability from deep if it hopes to keep this game from getting close.
Overall, Duke’s offense has been continually trending in the right direction. Freshman guards Jared McCain and Caleb Foster have started to settle in while returning stars like Tyrese Proctor and Kyle Fillipowski have shown flashes of their elite level from the end of last season. It is likely that the Blue Devils can take this game as an opportunity to pick up with the pace and deep shooting that was on full display in the second half against Bucknell and claim a victory in Cameron Indoor Stadium by a sizable margin.
Pick: Duke -26.5
Over/Under 144.5 total points
With Duke poised for an offensive awakening, the team is likely to see a continued bump in volume from beyond the arc. Prior to Friday’s contest against Bucknell, the Blue Devils had shot the most threes against then-No.12 Arizona, putting up a total of 23 attempts. Against the Bison, Duke’s 3-point volume surged to 34 attempts. This level of confidence in the three is more in line with what is expected of this year’s guard-dominant lineup. Growing comfort with this style of play will likely mean similar volume with potential growth in efficiency against La Salle.
The Explorers currently field three players shooting more than 40% from behind the arc. Of the three, Brickus and Shepherd are both above 50% from the field so far. These star performers will need to maintain their efficiency in the face of an elite Duke defense that has held opponents to 39.9% from the field and 30.1% from behind the arc. If the Blue Devils limit these sources of production, La Salle’s offense will likely come and go through Cameron without making much noise.
Given Duke’s defensive efforts around the perimeter this season, it is hard to imagine much of a dent in the total points coming from the Explorers’ end. Paired with remaining uncertainty in the fluidity of Blue Devils’ offense, the matchup seems to point towards lower total scoring.
Pick: Under 144.5 points
Tyrese Proctor over/under 10.5 points
Tyrese Proctor has entered his sophomore season with a somewhat slow start in the scoring department. While his distributing has been excellent, Proctor has struggled to shoot the ball himself. The Sydney native is currently shooting just 42.9% from the field and 33.3% from deep. Though these efficiency numbers could be cause for concern, Proctor’s upside is still hard to ignore. Strong handles and flashes of improving midrange options inspired many to see the 6-foot-5 guard as a projected lottery pick in the 2024 NBA draft. Tapping into this aspect of his game and gradually improving his scoring production will be integral to the Blue Devils’ success this season. Tuesday’s contest could very well be the perfect chance for Proctor to make this much-needed leap.
Pick: Over 10.5 points
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