Bucknell vs Duke Odds, Pick | NCAAB Betting Guide
Pictured: Kyle Filipowski. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Bucknell vs Duke Odds
The early season schedule for a highly ranked team like Duke can be a real grab bag.
Duke's past two outings were blockbuster, made-for-TV matchups against Arizona and Michigan State, which the Blue Devils split. Now they head home to face a Bucknell Bison team that should offer little resistance.
How will the Blue Devils handle the shift in competition? Let's break down the game and make a pick for Bucknell vs. Duke.
Bucknell finds itself at a crossroads.
From 2011 to 2019, the Bison won or shared the regular season Patriot League title eight times in nine years. In that span, Bucknell won the Patriot League Tournament and ensuing NCAA Tournament bid four times, notably giving both Michigan State and West Virginia a scare in the first round. Bucknell was the premier program in the Patriot League.
At some point, the talent pool dried up. Head coach Nathan Davis oversaw four straight losing seasons before being shown the exit this past spring, while Colgate grew into the Patriot League's new dynasty.
The good news is a new head coach, former St. Joe's assistant John Griffin. He played for Bucknell during one of its prior bright spots as he was a member of the 2005 and '06 teams that won NCAA Tournament games against Kansas and Arkansas. He was also an assistant coach at his alma mater until 2019, right when the downturn began. If there's someone with a good sense of how to win at Bucknell, it's Griffin.
The bad news? The cupboard is pretty bare. Griffin got Jack Forrest to tag along from St. Joe's via the transfer portal and Forrest been a clear bright spot, averaging nearly 17 points per night. Beyond Forrest, the Bison are looking for contributions from a lot of unproven players who haven't looked ready for the spotlight so far.
Bucknell grabbed a road win against an unimpressive Niagara team, but in three chances against mid-tier opponents (Delaware, Penn and La Salle), the Bison went 0-3 with an average margin of defeat north of 17 points. I hate to break it to Bucknell fans, but Duke is a step above "mid-tier".
Duke fans, always expecting the best, probably weren't thrilled with the Blue Devils splitting their first real tests of the season. A neutral court win over a Michigan State team that has looked sloppy to start the season was nice, but Duke also dropped a home date with Arizona last Friday.
Neither team looked sharp in that game, but the Wildcats dominated on the glass and in the paint, a concerning sign for a Duke lineup with an experienced and stout front line.
Kyle Filipowski has looked the part of a returning all-conference performer, a potential All-American and a candidate for the major national Player of the Year awards. For Duke to remain among the nation's elite, the pieces around Filipowski need to produce. Jeremy Roach and Tyrese Proctor need to consistently look like one of the best backcourts in the ACC and someone, either Mark Mitchell or Ryan Young, needs to produce next to Filipowski on the front line.
Bucknell vs. Duke
Betting Pick & Prediction
This matchup essentially pits one of the 20 best teams in college basketball against one of the 20 worst teams in Division I and the point spread is well aware of that discrepancy.
That number might sound like a lot, but I don't think it's enough. Duke beat a Dartmouth team in Bucknell's class by 38, while Bucknell lost to the best team it has played (Delaware) by 21 points.
I'm more than happy to lay the points here. It's certainly possible for this to start out as a letdown performance after Duke's past two games, but the Blue Devils' size and talent advantages are enough to counteract any signs of a letdown.
Pick: Duke -30.5
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