The Blue Devils tip off this afternoon in their ACC opener against Georgia Tech. Before the matchup, the Blue Zone brings you some can’t-miss prop bets:
Duke (-12.5) vs Georgia Tech
It’s Georgia Tech who carries momentum into this ACC clash. After beating No. 21 Mississippi State 67-59 Tuesday, the Yellow Jackets are looking to improve to 4-2 on the season.
Georgia Tech certainly has the talent to give Duke a hard time Saturday. Led by junior guards Miles Kelly and Kowacie Reeves Jr., who average 19.4 and 10.8 points per game, respectively, the Yellow Jackets have a strong veteran presence and length. So far this season, Georgia Tech has out rebounded its opponents 201-189 behind strong size inside. If the Yellow Jackets’ shifty guards are able to hit open shots and are given second-chance points through offensive rebounding, they could pull off their second-straight upset.
On the opposite end, the Blue Devils are coming off an 80-75 loss to Arkansas. The game marked the second loss for Duke this season. Star center Kyle Filipowski went for 26 points and veteran point guard Jeremy Roach had 22 points in stellar performances. However, the rest of the roster underperformed, as no other player was able to score in double figures and the team finished just 24-of-67 from the field. While the team is still growing, head coach Jon Scheyer has demonstrated that his squad can bounce back after tough losses. After their loss against then-No. 12 Arizona, the Blue Devils went on to win four straight games before falling to the Razorbacks. Therefore, there is reason to believe that Duke will have a better offensive and defensive output against Georgia Tech.
Even against the Yellow Jackets’ size and experience, I believe that the Blue Devils will once again demonstrate that they are capable of bouncing back after a tough loss. Georgia Tech won’t be able to match Duke’s raw talent and depth, and the Blue Devils will be able to redeem themselves after the Arkansas loss.
Pick: Duke (7.7)
Over/ Under 148.5 total points
In five games this season, the Yellow Jackets have averaged 72.8 points per game while giving up an average of 73.8. Duke on the other hand, has averaged a total of 82.7 points per game while allowing its opponents an average of 66.4. Additionally, only two of Georgia Tech’s five games have surpassed a total score of 148.5 points, while five of The Blue Devils’ seven have.
Considering that the Yellow Jackets are averaging 12.4 turnovers per game and that both teams shoot quite a lot of 3-pointers, there is reason to believe that this will be a high-scoring game. In addition, Duke’s two lowest-scoring games came when it shot poorly from deep. Assuming that the Blue Devils will have a better shooting game, the circumstances seem to indicate that this will be an exciting game with a substantial amount of scoring.
Moreover, both teams carry their share of offensive star power. For Georgia Tech, Kelly and junior guard Dallas Coleman have demonstrated that they are able to get hot from deep and have incredible games. Duke’s trio of senior guard Jeremy Roach, sophomore guard Tyrese Proctor and Filipowski have shown that they are capable of dominating offensively on any given night. Whether The Blue Devils blow out the Yellow Jackets or the game ends up being tight, the score is likely to go over 148.5 total points.
Pick: Over 148.5 points
Mark Mitchell: Over/Under 9.5 points
Prior to the beginning of the season, sophomore forward Mark Mitchell was expected to take a leap on offensively. On the other side of the ball, the Kansas City, Kan., native ranked in the 94th percentile on defense last year. This being said, Mitchell has been somewhat inconsistent over the last couple of games, scoring a combined 12 points. While this can be attributed in part to the defense and size of opposing teams, his shot selection also explains his struggles.
In six games played so far, Mitchell has only hit one 3-pointer in 12 attempts, but has made 50% of his field goals overall. While the team expected Mitchell to have a higher contribution offensively this season, his tendency to shoot threes has hurt the team more than helped it. As a result, Mitchell saw a season-low 19 minutes on the court after going 0-for-3 from beyond the arc against the Razorback.
If Duke wants to get the most of Mitchell offensively, it’ll have to put him in situations he’s most comfortable in — namely in the post and in transition. Although Mitchell was unable to attack the paint against Arkansas, he is more effective overall when attacking the rim. With a 6-foot-9 frame, Mitchell can easily body smaller guards and get to his spots. His elite defensive agility also means that he can get easy buckets from takeaways, and Georgia Tech is prone to turnovers.
It’s been a rough stretch of games for Mitchell, but this may be the game that he’ll get over the slump.
Pick: Over 9.5 points
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