Texas Tech-Duke Betting Preview: Can the Red Raiders Slow Down the Blue Devils?

Texas Tech-Duke Betting Preview: Can the Red Raiders Slow Down the Blue Devils? article feature image

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: R.J. Barrett, Zion Williamson

  • No. 2 Duke hosts No. 12 Texas Tech on Thursday night (7 p.m. ET on ESPN2).
  • Eli Herskovich breaks down the matchup and makes a pick.

So much for preseason polls. Texas Tech was projected to finish seventh in the Big 12 standings, and while its conference slate has yet to begin, the Red Raiders find themselves at 10-0 with a matchup against 10-1 Duke looming.

Which side presents more value in the Ameritas Insurance Classic at Madison Square Garden? Let’s dissect the matchup.

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

Texas Tech Red Raiders at Duke Blue Devils

  • Spread: Duke -8
  • Over/under: 146
  • Tip: 7 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: ESPN2

The Blue Devils (7-4 against the spread) haven’t faced a team with a top-10 Adjusted Defensive Efficiency this season, and the Red Raiders (5-5 ATS) have yet to play an opponent with a top-10 Adjusted Offensive Efficiency. Both trends will change with Texas Tech owning the first-rated AdjD while Duke showcases the second-ranked AdjO.

Between the broader numbers, the most prominent factor will be pace. Chris Beard’s unit boasts the 91st-lowest in Adjusted Tempo, in large part because it grinds out opponents’ offenses to the tune of a 18.5-second average possession length.

Although slowing down Duke is a much different ballgame, the Red Raiders match-up well with the Blue Devils, especially with the addition of St. John’s transfer Tariq Owens. The 6-foot-11 big suited up for the Red Storm amid their upset of Mike Krzyzewski’s crew last season. Owens’ presence allows the 6-foot-8, 250-pound Norense Odiase — Texas Tech’s center a campaign ago — to guard Zion Williamson.

Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Norense Odiase

Williamson (20.1 points per game) will exhibit his enhanced ball handling and strength on his fair share of possessions, but he’s yet to matchup with a physical presence like Odiase at this level. I’m expecting Odiase to give Williamson some trouble, and Jarrett Culver has the build to stick with R.J. Barrett (24.5 PPG) — another one of Duke’s five-star magicians.

Overall, the Red Raiders have limited their opponents to the lowest and third-lowest 3- and 2-point percentages in the country. The Blue Devils have been average from the perimeter (33.7%), stemming from freshman Cam Reddish’s inconsistent play, yet their bread and butter is inside the arc (59.7%).

Duke struggled in that department against Gonzaga’s frontline of Rui Hachimura and Brandon Clarke. Owens and Odiase could very well provide a similar resistance, and their intense ball pressure should bother the 10th-youngest team in college basketball.

Offensively, the Red Raiders have generated a fine 55.7% 3-point clip, and Culver’s frame should allow him to create via the 64th-highest assist rate in Division I.

However, Texas Tech has faced a fairly easy schedule, besides a matchup against Nebraska, so we’ve yet to see this Red Raiders offense operate at an efficient clip against an elite opponent. The Blue Devils display the fourth-lowest AdjD in the nation.

In order to push the floor and utilize those strengths, the Red Raiders will have to limit Duke’s second-chance opportunities with their 95th-highest defensive rebounding rate in DI. They thrive off turnovers, but Krzyzewski’s bunch won’t amass a high amount of miscues with its 16.1% turnover rate.

Even though the Blue Devils have racked up the fourth-highest offensive rebounding percentage, they’ve yet to square off against an aggressive front line like this Texas Tech one. They’ve struggled at the other end on the glass, too, ranking No. 214 in opponents’ offensive rebounding percentage.

According to our Bet Labs data, the Red Raiders are 1-0 ATS under Beard when they’re getting at least 7.5 points. Look for them to cover in one of top non-conference games to date.

THE PICK: Texas Tech +8

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