Duke vs. Ohio State Odds, Picks, Predictions: Will Blue Devils Win on Road?
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Wendell Moore
- Duke takes on Ohio State in one of the most anticipated games of this week's Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
- The Blue Devils are coming off a monster win over Gonzaga, while the Buckeyes have been playing with fire so far this season.
- Shane McNichol breaks down the big matchup and offers up his best bet.
Duke vs. Ohio State Odds
-110o / -110u
|Ohio State Odds|
-110o / -110u
With some mild apologies to Florida State-Purdue and Michigan-North Carolina, the premier matchup in the annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge will be played in Columbus, Ohio on Tuesday night. The newly top-ranked Blue Devils come to town to face a very talented and accomplished Ohio State roster.
With the early stages of the season behind us and conference play looming on the horizon, each of these teams can prove themselves in this contest. Duke is eager to affirm itself as the nation’s top team, while Ohio State would love to send a message to the rest of the Big Ten.
In this highly anticipated non-conference showdown, which side deserves the smart money from the betting world?
In Coach K’s final season on the sidelines, the Blue Devils have stepped firmly into the national spotlight.
Last week’s victory over Gonzaga is the most impressive performance and strongest resume win in college basketball, and likely will hold both of those distinctions until March. The win elevated the Dukies to the top spot in the AP Poll and firmly into the national championship contention discussion.
This Duke team — like many in recent years — is built around a talented freshman class.
Paolo Banchero was considered by many to be among the leaders in the race to be the top pick in June’s NBA draft. After his performance against fellow phenom Chet Holmgren, consensus heavily favors the physically gifted and immensely skilled Banchero.
With a 6-foot-10 frame, Banchero is able to force his way around the court and has the ball skills to make defenders pay when he puts them out of position.
Duke’s other freshman, Trevor Keels, has added a consistent scoring presence on the perimeter, bullying smaller guards as he slashes into the paint.
On top of the success of Duke’s first-year players, its rise in the national rankings has been largely due to the improvements of returning Blue Devils.
Junior Wendell Moore has been playing more aggressively and more efficiently than he had in prior seasons. Sophomore Mark Williams has grown into an elite rim protector and screen-and-roll big man.
Most importantly, this Duke team defends in a way that harkens back to prior Coach K clubs. Gonzaga was swallowed by ball pressure and active Duke defenders in passing lanes. Duke is able to stay aggressive without giving up freebies. The Blue Devils lead the nation in free throw rate allowed.
There were high expectations for the Buckeyes after Chris Holtmann and his team earned a 2-seed last March. You don’t get paired with Duke in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge without some hype behind your team in the offseason.
That hype has been mostly fruitless to start the year, with the Buckeyes collecting two early losses and several other concerning results. Ohio State is just 2-4 against the spread this season.
The Buckeyes’ backcourt desperately misses Duane Washington Jr., who departed to the pro ranks after a fantastic season last year.
Second-year player Meechie Johnson Jr. has been inconsistent and Penn State transfer Jamari Wheeler simply doesn’t provide the scoring or creation needed in this offense. Senior Justice Sueing could fill that need, yet he’s expected to miss an extended period of time with an abdominal injury.
That places much of the scoring burden on E.J. Liddell. The junior power forward is one of the nation’s best offensive players — dropping 23 points and six rebounds nightly — but is being expected to carry the Buckeyes on his back.
Only 21 players across Division I are currently attempting a higher percentage of their team’s shots than Liddell. His game is built to find his own shot, not create opportunities for others.
On the other end of the floor, the frontcourt pairing of Liddell and Zed Key has struggled.
The two bigs — listed at 6-foot-7 and 6-foot-8, respectively — have been unable to protect the rim or clean the glass. The Buckeyes rank 309th nationally in defensive rebounding rate. Only one Ohio State opponent has scored fewer than 1.0 points per possession against the Buckeyes so far this season.
Duke vs. Ohio State Betting Pick
Based on our priors coming in to this game, Duke feels like an easy choice for bettors. The Blue Devils are coming off an eye-opening win and look like the best team in college basketball, while Ohio State is battling injuries and some early-season woes.
The Buckeyes have the talent to build themselves into a contender in the Big Ten and Tuesday offers the perfect chance for them to prove that, at home in their home gym in Columbus. Since Holtmann took over as head coach more than four seasons ago, the Buckeyes are 40-12 at home.
This happens, however, to be the rare opportunity for Ohio State to tip off in Value City Arena as a home underdog. That has happened just four times in Holtmann’s tenure, with the Buckeyes losing all four games and failing to cover the spread in all four.
Despite playing this game in blisteringly loud arena, Duke has too many advantages on the court to ignore. With Williams and Banchero each able to make Liddell’s life difficult, it’s hard to see where Ohio State will turn for offensive production.
On the other end of the floor, Duke is too athletic and too physical for Ohio State. The Blue Devils should dominate the boards, especially on the offensive glass.
Recency bias be damned, this Duke team is elite and a class above Ohio State. I like them to win and cover on the road.
Pick: Duke -3.5 (Play to -5.5)
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