NCAAB Odds, Picks & Prediction for Duke vs Syracuse

NCAAB Odds, Picks & Prediction for Duke vs Syracuse article feature image

Lance King/Getty Images. Pictured: Duke’s Kyle Filipowski.

Duke vs Syracuse Odds

Saturday, Feb. 18
6 p.m. ET
Duke Odds
-110o / -110u
Syracuse Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Syracuse looks to extend its three-game win streak and salvage what seems to be a lost season as it welcomes Duke to the JMA Wireless Dome on Saturday night.

The Blue Devils bounced back following two straight losses with a late win over Notre Dame. Barring a disastrous end to the season, Duke should slide into the NCAA Tournament as a middle-of-the-pack seed.

Syracuse has beaten Duke just once in their last 10 matches. Can the Orange rally behind what's sure to be a sold-out crowd at home and take down a Blue Devils team that's much more vulnerable than years past?

Duke Blue Devils

It's almost March, and I'm still not totally sure what to make of Duke. In Jon Scheyer's first season at the helm, the Blue Devils have not looked the part. Despite an 18-8 record, Duke is just 2-8 in Quadrant I games.

Duke is a slow-paced team that prefers physicality around the rim. It's the tallest team in the country and ranks sixth in offensive rebounding rate. Nearly 40% of shots come at the rim with 7-foot freshman Kyle Filipowski leading the charge.

While the rest of the freshmen have struggled at times, Filipowski has been the consistent star. He's used on 29% of possessions when on the floor and leads the team in points (15.1), rebounds (9.1) and steals (1.2). He's often paired with 6-foot-10 Ryan Young or 7-foot-1 Dereck Lively, giving the Blue Devils a distinct height advantage at all times.

But this offense has lagged behind all season. Some of it stems from injuries, but Duke also turns the ball over at a high rate and ranks 231st in eFG%. Struggles largely come from the perimeter, where the Blue Devils are in the mid-200s on both catch-and-shoot and off-the-dribble 3s.

A lot of that has to do with the primary playmakers. Of the three players with 90+ 3-point attempts — Filipowski, Jeremy Roach and Tyrese Proctor — Roach is the best at 33%.

Dariq Whitehead returned back to the lineup on Feb. 11 against Virginia and should see more run after a slow start to his freshman season. He's the team's best shooter at 39.7%.

As expected because of its height, Duke's defense is most efficient in defending shots at the rim. The Blue Devils clean up the defensive glass well and use their length — even the backcourt is tall — to funnel players into the midrange.

Only 35% of opponents' shots come from the perimeter, and Duke ranks 26th in 3-point defense. The Blue Devils don't create turnovers. Instead, they slow the game down with their length and pressure, forcing contested shots.

From a ShotQuality perspective, Duke is most vulnerable in the midrange (340th) and on off-the-dribble 3s (284th).

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Syracuse Orange

Roller-coaster seasons have become a consistent trend for Syracuse. The program no longer cruises toward an automatic NCAA Tournament bid like it once did, and the NIT Tournament seems all but likely for Jim Boeheim's Orange.

Syracuse's offense runs through three players: Joe Girard, Judah Mintz and Jesse Edwards. Each member of the trio averages 14+ points per game, and each has a different strength.

Girard is a 3-point shooter but battles inconsistency issues against more physical guards. Mintz loves the midrange jumper and uses his athleticism to attack as the primary ball-handler. Edwards is a dominant force around the rim.

Syracuse shoots from the midrange on nearly 30% of shots and rarely attacks from the perimeter. The Orange are also top-20 in finishes at the rim on an efficiency basis, per ShotQuality.

This offense likes to push the pace behind Mintz's speed. Turnovers are rare, and SU can clean up the offensive glass behind Edwards and Maliq Brown.

Here's the fun part. What's a Syracuse write-up without a mention of the 2-3 zone?

Nearly half of Syracuse's shots allowed come from the perimeter, and the team has struggled at times to create enough disruption. Cuse is about league average in both 3-point and 2-point defense and gives up second-chance opportunities at one of the highest rates in the country.

A lot of that has to do with position inside the 2-3 zone. Shots from the perimeter create long rebounds, and the zone often leaves pockets of space inside for second-chance opportunities.

Edwards has been a rim deterrent — he ranks 11th in block rate — but the zone often takes the ball away from the 6-foot-11 senior's strength.

When the Orange force turnovers and push transition, they're extremely efficient (16th). Mintz has been a huge help in this area, ranking 83rd nationally in steal rate and drawing fouls frequently. He's a physical guard who's a strong passer but struggles shooting.

Duke vs Syracuse Betting Pick

I'm not sold on Duke by any means, but this sets up well to be another win for the Blue Devils.

Duke has the size to neutralize Edwards. The 6-foot-11 senior is a matchup nightmare for smaller teams, but the Blue Devils have one of the best defensive bigs in Lively to attach at Edwards' hip. Tack on the deep frontcourt that includes Young and Filipowski, and physicality will be a constant for Edwards.

The X-factor for this game will be Duke's 3-point shooting. Inconsistencies and struggles reign supreme, but Whitehead's return should provide a boost to the Blue Devils offense. Last year in the ACC Tournament, Roach went 5-of-10 from 3 in an 88-79 win over the Orange.

Even on the road in what should be the craziest crowd of the season for Syracuse, I believe Duke still has the edge here. Perimeter issues could become an issue, but the Blue Devils are going to dominate the interior. Second-chance points will be plentiful.

Last year, we saw Mark Williams grab eight offensive rebounds as Duke cruised to a 25-point win. Lively and Young should have no issues on the glass, and Filipowski presents a matchup nightmare in the middle of the zone as well.

It’s always scary to take a road favorite in conference play, but I’m not sure Syracuse’s offense will find much success on Saturday night.

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