College Basketball Odds & Picks for Florida State vs. Duke: Blue Devils to Blowout Noles?
Photo by Lance King/Getty Images. Pictured: Mark Williams (Duke)
- Duke takes on a Florida State team that could be missing four of its top five players.
- The Blue Devils are also seeking revenge after they lost at FSU earlier in ACC play.
- Jim Root previews this ACC affair and offers up his best bet.
Florida State vs. Duke Odds
|Florida State Odds|
-106o / -114u
-106o / -114u
Much ado has been made about Duke not having won or shared a regular-season ACC title since 2010. In Mike Krzyzewski’s final season in charge, that streak could finally be broken.
Duke is currently tied with Notre Dame atop the standings. While the schedule has some remaining landmines, the Blue Devils are the odds-on favorite to win the league.
Doing so likely requires avenging a loss to Florida State in Tallahassee back on Jan. 18. The Blue Devils fell in overtime after forcing the extra period with a late surge.
Semi-related: Florida State has won an NCAA-record 13 straight overtime games. That’s ludicrous!
The issue for Florida State right now is playing someone close enough to even get to overtime. Prior to a one-point victory over Clemson on Tuesday, the Seminoles had lost six straight games to tumble out of postseason consideration.
It really is not anyone’s fault — FSU has been utterly destroyed by injuries. Veteran starters Malik Osborne and Anthony Polite are likely done for the season, and starting guards Caleb Mills and RayQuan Evans are iffy for this contest (Mills missed that Clemson game).
That’s four of FSU’s five best players. Even Leonard Hamilton’s OT wizardry cannot solve that conundrum.
A trio of true freshmen — Matthew Cleveland, John Butler and Jalen Warley — have become the key presences on the squad. They’re incredibly talented, but they’re extremely young. Asking them to go into Cameron Indoor Stadium and compete without Mills and Evans might be too much.
For what it’s worth, Hamilton called both “doubtful,” sounding more concerned about Mills. He’s widely known as playing coy with injuries, though.
One central tenet dominates the process of handicapping Duke games. It’s not about matchups — instead, it’s about deciphering the Blue Devils’ motivation level.
With five likely NBA first-round draft picks on the roster, the Blue Devils’ ceiling is as high as any squad in the country. When fully locked in, they’re a juggernaut. For evidence, just look at the win over Gonzaga in Las Vegas or the 40-minute domination of UNC in Chapel Hill.
The excessively young roster is prone to letdowns, though. The Blue Devils lost the game immediately following both aforementioned victories (favored in both), evidencing that exact “letdown” effect.
This, however, sets up as a motivated spot. The young Blue Devils will surely remember the disappointment felt in Tallahassee, and with a conference championship within reach, they should be locked in.
Florida State vs. Duke Betting Pick
Comparing this game to the first meeting is largely a fruitless endeavor. Osborne (32 minutes played) and Polite (31 minutes) are no longer present, and Mills (35 minutes, 18 points) and Evans (31 minutes) may not be able to play either.
This is a large number to lay in a conference game against a program that typically is one of the ACC’s best. Without so many key cogs, though, the Seminoles are a shell of themselves.
Given the high ceiling Duke can reach — plus the incentive to reach that ceiling — this one could be a blowout. The young Noles have fallen to 11th in the ACC in turnover rate, and an athletic Duke squad could pressure them into oblivion.
One last angle, if it matters to you: this is the second-to-last home game of Coach K’s tenure. The energy level in the building will be off the charts.
I fear for the young Seminoles here. Considering my expectations that this one turns into a laughter, I’ll lay up to -17.
Pick: Duke -14 (Play to -17)
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