Friday College Basketball Odds & Betting Picks: Virginia Tech vs. Duke & Rhode Island vs. Providence

Friday College Basketball Odds & Betting Picks: Virginia Tech vs. Duke & Rhode Island vs. Providence article feature image

USA Today Sports. Pictured: Vernon Carey Jr.

  • Mike Randle breaks down the betting odds and his picks for two college basketball games on Friday: Rhode Island vs. Providence and Virginia Tech vs. Duke.

College basketball’s Friday night slate is greatly improved this season.

Tonight, we have a big annual intrastate Rhode Island battle, as well as a Duke team traveling on the road in their personal “house of horrors.”

Let’s see which teams have the advantage on the college hardwood.

Friday College Basketball Betting

Odds as of Friday afternoon and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150). No strings attached. No rollover required.

Rhode Island vs. Providence

  • Spread: Providence -1.5
  • Over/Under: 144
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN2

The home team has won the last three battles in this intrastate rivalry, with all three games decided by single digits.

Rhode Island (5-3) has challenged itself with a difficult non-conference schedule. Its three losses have come against teams with a combined two total losses.

The Rams returned all five starters from last year’s team and are 4-0 at home with an average margin of victory of 12.5 points. They’re again solid on defense, allowing opponents to shoot only 28.7% from 3P. Rhody also ranks 60th in defensive steal percentage led by point guard Fatts Russell, who is second in the nation with an average of 3.5 steals per game.

The Rams face a Providence team that’s also strong defensively, ranking 45th in adjusted defensive efficiency and ninth in defensive turnover percentage. However, this is a Friars team that hasn’t played anywhere near as difficult as schedule as Rhode Island. Providence has only one win away from home, which was a three-point neutral court win over Pepperdine last week.

Rhode Island does not rely on the three-pointer to score with only 22.3% of its points generated from beyond the arc. Yet, its superior 3P defense will often frustrate opponents.

The Rams’ 93-79 home win over Alabama, they held the Crimson Tide to just 22.7% (5 of 22) from deep.

I always like taking the home team for intrastate rivalry games, and getting points is simply a bonus. The Friars want to turn teams over, but Fatts Russell controls the tempo for the Rams as well as any point guard in the nation.

David Cox
Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: David Cox

Rhode Island head coach David Cox said his team will prepare this week “as if it’s the Super Bowl.” With Rhode Island’s home dominance coupled with Providence’s road struggles, I’ll take the home team and with the points in the battle for “Lil’ Rhody” supremacy.

The Pick: Rhode Island + 1.5

Virginia Tech vs. Duke

  • Spread: Duke -7
  • Over/Under: 143
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET
  • ACCN

Duke (8-1) played its best game of the season with an 87-75 thrashing of Michigan State at East Lansing. Duke now travels to Blacksburg on a short turnaround against a well-rested Virginia Tech team.

The Hokies (6-2) started the year strong with a true road win at Clemson and a neutral court win over Michigan State as well. They slowed down considerably over their last two contests in the Maui Invitational losing consecutive games to Dayton and BYU.

However, the always exuberant betting public has made this line very attractive: 67% of the bets and 71% of the money are backing Duke (see live public betting data here), which is surprising given the Blue Devils struggles at Virginia Tech. They’re 1-2 in their last three trips to Blacksburg with their only win coming in overtime.

While Duke played fine without injured starting guard Cassius Stanley against Michigan State, his talent certainly weakens the Blue Devils. The Hokies will certainly need to find a way to limit the talented Duke center Vernon Carey Jr. (19.2 ppg, 9.7 rpg), who destroyed Michigan State.

But the Blue Devils will have to contend with Virginia Tech’s brilliant 3-point shooting. The Hokies ranks second in the nation at an average of 43.1% from beyond the arc.

Playing at home against a Duke team without Stanley, the Hokies should be able to slow down Duke with their 314th ranked tempo and keep the possessions to a minimum. I also expect the Hokies to shoot well from 3P range at home.

The seven points are simply to give a Hokies team that always plays Duke well at home. Given that Virginia Tech coach Mike Young had a week to prepare for this game, look for the Hokies to keep this game close late and possibly earn another home win against Coach K.

The Pick: Virginia Tech +7

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