Virginia Tech vs. Duke Odds, Picks, Predictions: How to Fade the Blue Devils (Wednesday, Dec. 22)
Photo by William Howard/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Storm Murphy
- Duke is a heavy favorite over Virginia Tech on Wednesday night in Durham.
- The Blue Devils have a pair of impressive non-conference wins on their resume, while the Hokies have been relatively inconsistent.
- Anthony Dabbundo breaks down the matchup and makes his betting pick below.
Virginia Tech vs. Duke Odds
|Virginia Tech Odds|
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
The final year of conference play for Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski begins on Wednesday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium, as the Blue Devils play host to Virginia Tech.
The Hokies have had an up-and-down run through their non-conference schedule that includes victories against Maryland and St. Bonaventure and a loss to Dayton. They also had a puzzling 19-point home loss to Wake Forest in their conference opener.
Virginia Tech wasn’t originally expected to be amongst the ACC elite, but the conference appears much weaker than expected thus far. Now, this game could be a potential top 3-to-4 matchup in the ACC.
Duke has only played three teams ranked inside the top 150 in KenPom and has a 2-1 record in those games. Everyone watched the impressive victories against Kentucky to open the season and over Gonzaga on a neutral, but the Blue Devils showed weakness in their half-court offense when they lost at Ohio State.
The Blue Devils have the clearly more talented squad and are at home, but the number is a bit inflated and VT’s ability to shoot should keep it inside the number on Wednesday.
It’s been tough to figure out Mike Young’s Hokies this season. One game they look like one of the nation’s top-20 teams, and the next they lose by double digits to Wake Forest or lose at Dayton.
The Hokies are a jump-shooting team and deal with the natural variance that comes with being 3-point reliant.
Only 51 teams get a higher percentage of their points from the 3-point line, and the Hokies shoot at the eighth-best rate in the country from deep.
The Hokies’ four main usage players are not shooters, but they have four main rotation guys who project out as 40-plus percent shooters. Hunter Cattoor and Storm Murphy were two of the best shooters in the nation last year and are back with the Hokies.
Two things are critical for VT to keep Duke out of transition: avoid turnovers and make shots from deep. Virginia Tech plays at a snail’s pace on offense, doesn’t turn it over much and shoots well.
The result will be a lot of half-court offense from Duke, and while Virginia Tech doesn’t have an elite defense, the Hokies can force Duke to shoot from deep and take low efficiency, mid-range looks.
VT also doesn’t have a ton of size, but it does rebound well on the defensive glass. The Hokies sacrifice transition opportunities for this, but this benefits them in this matchup.
Duke’s offensive profile is an interesting one because it doesn’t project as a team that would have a ton of shooters, yet it has shot really well this year from beyond the arc.
The Blue Devils have improved considerably in shooting this year compared to last, but most of that has come from the unsustainable 46% from AJ Griffin and the 10% improvement that Wendell Moore Jr. has had.
Given the shot quality of the Duke offense in the half court, there’s reason to believe the offense isn’t quite as good at shooting from the perimeter as it has been this season.
When the Blue Devils can get out in transition, they have so many ball handlers and athletes that they are lethal. But one major strength of the Hokies is slowing down opposing offenses and forcing them to play in the half court.
Duke has a few other regression indicators defensively in both foul rate and free throw rate. No team has allowed fewer points at the line than Duke this year and while that’s a credit to the defense in some respects, it’s probably unsustainable to continue at the current clip.
Despite its athleticism, Duke doesn’t really have the elite length that could fluster the Virginia Tech shooters. Its perimeter defense can absolutely be had. While Ohio State made almost no shots against the Blue Devils, the Buckeyes’ motion offense that is heavily ball screen driven was able to generate plenty of good looks.
Virginia Tech should be able to do the same to produce open 3-point looks.
Virginia Tech vs. Duke Betting Pick
Given the Hokies’ ability to shoot the ball, they have a chance to take advantage of some holes in the Duke perimeter defense that Kentucky wasn’t able to, but Ohio State did in its upset win.
Virginia Tech can grind this game to a halt on defense and force Duke to operate in the half court, which I’m not convinced the Blue Devils can easily do with consistency this season.
Duke has some regression coming from beyond the arc on offense and probably isn’t as good at shooting as the early season returns have suggested.
The Blue Devils’ defensive strength — not fouling — won’t be that advantageous against a Hokies’ offense that relies more on ball screens and shooting than drives to the rim and into traffic.
Duke is rightly favored here, but the line seems a touch inflated and the Hokies have enough returning production and have played two true road games this year. I’m not concerned about them being overwhelmed in Cameron on Wednesday.
Anything +8 or better is good on the Hokies to keep it competitive with the presumptive ACC favorite.