Prop bets for No. 4-seed Duke against No. 13-seed Vermont

No. 4-seed Duke takes on No. 13-seed Vermont Friday to open up its NCAA tournament play. Ahead of the contest, the Blue Zone delivers with a few can’t miss prop-bets:

Duke (-11.5) vs. Vermont

After suffering back-to-back losses against Tobacco Road rivals North Carolina and N.C. State, the Blue Devils hope to use Friday’s contest as a get-right game for a hopeful deep tournament run. Meanwhile, Vermont is on a 10-game win streak, capped off by its third-straight American East championship. Led by a three-guard duo of Shamir Bogues, Aaron Deloney and TJ Long, the Catamounts hope to win their first opening-round game in the NCAA tournament since 2012.

While Duke has been inconsistent at points throughout this season, it should feel confident heading into Friday’s game against Vermont. The Catamounts aren’t the best offensive team — they shot a middling 34.4% from behind the arc this season compared to the Blue Devils’ 37.7% clip, and they rank 311th out of 351 Division I teams in free-throw attempts per game. Vermont boasts a sturdy defensive squad, but Duke has averaged 79.8 points per contest and had no trouble winning by 25 against a defensive juggernaut in Virginia earlier this season. The Blue Devils should get by the Catamounts with relative ease and move onto the Round of 32.

Pick: Duke -11.5

Over/Under 132.5 total points

As previously mentioned, Vermont is a stout team on defense, allowing just 63 points per game, good for ninth-lowest in Division I. The Catamounts have limited opponents to low field-goal and 3-point percentages, at 45.7% and 31.4% respectively, and Bogues and forward Ileri Ayo-Faleye were named to the America East All-Defensive Team. Meanwhile, Duke has a solid defense of its own, ranking 27th in adjusted defensive efficiency nationally per KenPom. Like the Catamounts, the Blue Devils have locked down the perimeter, allowing a 32.6% 3-point percentage on the season. 

On Thursday, these two teams should limit each other’s ability to score from outside the arc, which will in turn limit the total points scored. While Duke should have little trouble dispatching Vermont, the lack of free throws and consistent 3-point shooting of its adversary means that the collective score of this game should fall under the line of 132.5 points. 

Pick: Under 132.5 total points 

Jeremy Roach over/under 13.5 points

By the numbers, Jeremy Roach’s senior season, possibly his last in a Blue Devil uniform, has been a great success. The guard has averaged 14.0 points and 3.1 assists per game on great shooting splits — 43.6% from three and 86% from the line. For his good season, he received Third Team All-ACC honors. 

However, Roach has not been himself as of late. In his last four contests, the Leesburg, Va., native has gone 3-of-19 from 3-point range. In Duke’s recent losses, he played even more shaky, shooting 4-of-18 from the field and only making one of his 10 2-point tries. As such, Roach — currently 35th on Duke’s all-time scoring list — will hope to shake off the rust in his third NCAA tournament run with the Blue Devils.

Roach’s ability to step up in big contests in March is well-documented. As a sophomore, he posted back-to-back 15-point games against Michigan State and Texas Tech to aid in the Blue Devils’ Final Four run. In last season’s Round of 64 against Oral Roberts, he scored a career-high 23 points in a dominant victory. Friday’s contest against Vermont represents a strong opportunity for Roach to resume his consistency as a scorer, and history suggests he’ll meet the moment to kickstart a hopeful tournament run for this experienced Duke roster.

Pick: Over 13.5 points


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