Prop bets for No. 4-seed Duke vs. No. 1-seed Houston

Freshman guard Jared McCain scored 30 points in the team's outing against James Madison Sunday.
Freshman guard Jared McCain scored 30 points in the team's outing against James Madison Sunday.

After a commanding victory against James Madison Sunday, the Blue Devils are set to face off against No. 1-seed Houston. Before tipoff, the Blue Zone breaks down some key prop bets:

Duke (+4.5) vs. Houston

Duke’s most recent game against James Madison marked one of the most dominant all-around performances by the Blue Devils. There was never a doubt in this one, as Duke annihilated the Dukes by 38 points, one of its highest margins of victory this season. The most notable aspect was the Blue Devils’ shooting performance as the team shot a staggering 50% from 3-point land on a total of 28 attempts. Looking at Houston, the Cougars have begun to show some signs of weakness over the past few weeks after they were taken down by Iowa State in the Big 12 title game and barely scraped by No. 9-seed Texas A&M in overtime this past weekend. With Duke trending in the right direction and Houston going through a rough patch, the Blue Devils could be positioned to pull off the upset. 

Pick: Duke +4.5

Over/Under 134.5 total points

Initially, this line might seem a little bit low considering that Duke has averaged 79.8 points per game this season while the Cougars have averaged 74.1. However, when considering the style of basketball that both teams play, this line starts to seem fairly accurate. While this year’s Blue Devil team is most well-known for its offensive weapons, Houston is known for its stifling defense and ability to shut down opposing star players. Throughout the season, in a powerful Big 12 conference, the Cougars have only given up 57.7 points per game, the lowest of any Division I team in the country. Conversely, Duke’s defense has also improved as of late as it has kept both of its opponents to under 60 points in the tournament, thus setting up a potentially low-scoring game. For most of the year, the Blue Devils have not won their games in a grind-it-out style, but that might need to change if Duke wants to pull off the upset against Houston.

Pick: Under 134.5 total points

Jared McCain over/under 13.5 Points

In the Blue Devils’ dominant performance Sunday, McCain was the star of the show. The Sacramento, Calif., native was firing on all cylinders offensively, shooting an astounding 8-for-11 from beyond the arc. McCain has been a bright spot for this high-flying offense through the first two contests of March Madness, averaging 22.5 points per game. In a matchup where Duke will experience a much more tenacious team than it has in its opening games of the tournament, shooting will play an important factor in the Blue Devils’ ability to neutralize the Cougars’ defense.

Pick: Over 13.5 points


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