College Basketball Odds & Picks for Duke vs. Syracuse: Will Orange Keep it Close vs. Blue Devils?

College Basketball Odds & Picks for Duke vs. Syracuse: Will Orange Keep it Close vs. Blue Devils? article feature image

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  • Jim Boeheim vs. Coach K for the last time? Duke visits Syracuse at the Carrier Dome.
  • The Blue Devils are a bit inflated in conference play, so the Orange can take advantage.
  • Anthony Dabbundo dives into this clash and offers up his top selection.

Duke vs. Syracuse Odds

Saturday, Feb. 26
6 p.m. ET
Duke Odds
-110o / -110u
Syracuse Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski makes his final trip to the Carrier Dome Saturday night, as the Blue Devils visit the Orange to try to complete a season sweep.

Duke won the first meeting between these two teams in January in Durham by 20 points after a poor shooting day from the usually elite Syracuse offense.

The Blue Devils have significant matchup edges on the interior against the Orange's 2-3 zone. However, this is a difficult road environment for the Blue Devils, as they're traveling to a dome that could have north of 30,000 fans for the potential final meeting between Jim Boeheim and Krzyzewski.

Syracuse has almost no path to an at-large NCAA Tournament bid anymore following its loss to Notre Dame on Wednesday, meaning that the Orange will need to win the ACC Tournament to make it to the dance.

Either way, this is the most anticipated home game on the Syracuse schedule, and it'll have a chance to get revenge from a poor display last meeting.

Duke escaped another stiff challenge from Virginia Wednesday night on the road, surviving a Kihei Clark offensive 3-point onslaught in the first half to win by four.

The Blue Devils have at times struggled, and played down to competition in the league this season. They could be primed to do so on Saturday, too, if the Duke perimeter defense regresses.

Duke Blue Devils

Duke’s offense is really good at getting offensive rebounds and then kicking them out for wide open second-chance looks from deep.

The Blue Devils are getting offensive rebounds on 33.3% of misses in conference play, and should be able to get a matchup edge exploiting the Orange's usual defensive rebounding issues out of the zone.

If Syracuse wants to be close on Saturday, defensive rebounds are the number one area of focus for the Orange in the defensive half-court. The Blue Devils are top-50 in generating open 3 pointers, and are top-50 at making those shots. Freshman phenom A.J. Griffin is making 48% from beyond the arc.

But the Duke defense has some perimeter regression coming and has been quite lucky this season.

In league play, opponents are shooting a ridiculously low 28.8% from 3 against them. That is simply not sustainable at all, especially when you consider that Duke is 159th in catch and shoot 3-point ShotQuality allowed and 243rd in guarding off of the dribble.

Duke is allowing a ton of unguarded 3s and not getting punished for it.

Syracuse can be that team to get hot from beyond the arc — like Clemson did earlier this season and Virginia did Wednesday night. The Blue Devils are a top-50 unit defensively in the half-court, but they're outside the top-100 guarding in transition. Syracuse is more than comfortable pushing pace.

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Syracuse Orange

The Orange were more competitive than the scoreline suggests in the first meeting vs. Duke. Had they made more open perimeter jumpers, ShotQuality said the expected score was 82-74 in favor of Duke.

Syracuse was expected to score 17 more points on 3s and 15 more points overall than it actually did. Buddy Boeheim, Joseph Girard III and Cole Swider are all 40% 3-point shooters, but they combined to hit just 3-of-25 from beyond the arc in that contest.

It was the worst shooting display they've all combined for in a game this season.

The poor shooting doesn’t excuse the defense's performance in that game (and all season), as it had zero answers for Duke on the interior or the perimeter.

Duke is one of the most efficient transition offenses in the entire country and has multiple ball handlers and athletes that can overrun Syracuse if given the chance to run.

But the Orange don't really turn the ball over much at all, and rank in the top-35 nationally, with the lowest turnover rate on offense. If they force Duke to play in the half-court, the Orange can try to clog the middle and force the Blue Devils to shoot over the zone.

Syracuse lost breakout star center Jesse Edwards for the season 10 days ago, but they've now played three games without him, and both Bourama Sidibe and Frank Anselem have been decent substitutes for him on the defensive end.

The offense has taken a bit of a hit without Edwards finishing at the rim and his ability in the pick-and-roll, but the Orange weren't going to get much at the rim against Duke and Mark Williams anyway.

Duke might get red hot from beyond the arc, and is very capable of doing that, but the Blue Devils do have only one regular player who has shot in the Carrier Dome before. There is an adjustment to shooting with the different sight-lines in the Dome.

Duke vs. Syracuse Betting Pick

Syracuse has been considerably better at home this season than its been away from the Carrier Dome. The Orange posted wins against Indiana and Wake Forest on their home floor, and beat Boston College comfortably after Edwards' injury.

The Orange haven't lost a game on their home court when the students have been on campus all year. Despite their struggles to match the Blue Devils on the interior, I think they have the edge on the perimeter and from beyond the arc. They can shoot their way into staying in this game.

The Blue Devils continue to be a bit inflated in the conference, where they've often struggled to cover this season, and have played up and down to their competition.

I'll expect Syracuse to force Duke to execute in the half-court offense, and if the Orange make shots, they'll be live underdogs to win this game.

Pick: Syracuse +5 or better

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