Duke-Notre Dame Betting Preview: Is a Blue Devils Letdown Coming in South Bend?

Duke-Notre Dame Betting Preview: Is a Blue Devils Letdown Coming in South Bend? article feature image

USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Zion Williamson (1), D.J. Harvey (5).

We witnessed a wild weekend in college basketball, but nothing topped LSU’s unfathomable backdoor cover at Missouri on Saturday, ending in a Tigers’ six-point overtime win.

Among the two ranked teams in action on Monday evening, No. 2 Duke travels to South Bend to face the 11-9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Which side presents the most value in this matchup? Let’s break it down.

>> All odds as of Sunday night. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NCAAB odds and track your bets.

Betting Odds: Duke Blue Devils at Notre Dame Fighting Irish

  • Spread: Duke -14.5
  • Over/Under: 150
  • Time: 7 p.m ET
  • TV: ESPN

The Fighting Irish (7-13 against the spread) are coming off a 27-point home defeat to the hands of Virginia on Saturday — their worst loss of the season. They’ve failed to cover in seven of their past eight games, too.

But the Blue Devils (11-8 ATS) haven’t impressed in that department of late, either, lacking a cover in four of their past five games.

Duke was a bit rusty with point guard Tre Jones (shoulder) back in the lineup vs. Georgia Tech on Saturday, and Mike Krzyzewski’s unit needed second-half surge to dispose of the Yellow Jackets (14-6 ATS), facing a seven-point deficit with 16:39 left.

Georgia Tech’s size (they rank 94th in average height) kept them from controlling the glass.

Notre Dame boasts the 33rd-highest average height, and Mike Brey will be sure to throw a bunch of different looks at the 6-foot-8 Zion Williamson (21.7 points per game) to limit his touches in the low-post. Trusting the rest of Duke’s frontcourt is a tall task, as Marques Bolden is dealing with a toe injury and Javin DeLaurier saw just two minutes against Georgia Tech.

Moreover, Duke’s attack has taken over games down the stretch with its prowess for getting to the line, thanks to Williamson and R.J. Barrett (23.9 ppg) via the dribble drive. The Irish own the lowest opponents’ free-throw rate (free throw attempts/field goal attempts) in the nation, though, and that same ranking has continued into ACC play.

Those factors will play an immense role for the Irish at the other end, given 36.6% of their scoring comes from behind the arc (No. 65 in Division I). While the Blue Devils own the seventh-lowest opponents’ Effective Field Goal percentage (43.6%) in college basketball, the Irish should generate clean looks and hover around a single-digit deficit if they’re able to keep Duke from setting up its defense.

Notre Dame’s D.J. Harvey (11.1 ppg) failed to show up against the Cavaliers’ vaunted bunch, but expect the athletic, 6-foot-6 forward to have more success around the free-throw line and outward while feeding his teammates around the arc.

Considering the Blue Devils’ rapid pace, it’d typically be a lock to jump on this mid-range total. But with the Irish delivering the 61st-lowest Adjusted Tempo in DI, I’m staying away.

According to our Bet Labs data, Notre Dame is 9-11 (45.0%) ATS as an underdog, dating back to last season. But bet against that trend, as this game represents their Super Bowl amid the week of the big game itself.

THE PICK: Notre Dame +14.5