Virginia vs. Duke College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions: Blue Devils Won’t Sustain Shooting Success? (Monday, February 7)
Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images. Pictured: Tony Bennett (Virginia)
- After pummeling North Carolina over the weekend, Duke returns home to face off against Virginia in an ACC clash.
- The Blue Devils have some shooting regression coming at both ends of the floor while the Cavs don't have the defense they've possessed in years past.
- Anthony Dabbundo explains why he's backing the Cavs on the road.
Virginia vs. Duke Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Duke returns to Cameron Indoor Stadium after three consecutive games on the road and three consecutive convincing victories and covers against the spread.
The Blue Devils will play host to Virginia, a team that’s usually competing with them near the top of the ACC standings, but has fallen off this season.
The Cavaliers catch Duke in a good spot here after the Blue Devils’ dominant road win against rival North Carolina. Meanwhile, Virginia enters following consecutive wins against Boston College and Miami (FL).
A program known for its defense, the Cavaliers have better offensive metrics than defensive for the second consecutive season.
Duke struggled with Louisville for most of its game two weekends ago, but a late run turned a tie game into a nine-point victory. Then, the Blue Devils crushed both Notre Dame and North Carolina, two teams widely viewed as top-five ACC squads.
They’re rolling right now, but could they be flat on Monday?
Duke relies heavily on turning over opponents so it can run out in transition to generate offense with its athletes in space. If the Cavaliers let Duke run, this will get ugly fast.
But Tony Bennett’s squad is elite at preventing teams from getting out in transition.
Virginia’s defense is outside the top 100 in transition defense, but still 41st in ShotQuality half-court defense. They won’t turn it over much because of veteran point guard Kihei Clark, and should keep this game in the half-court.
The Cavaliers rank 344th in transition frequency allowed. It’s very hard to run on them because they’re dead last in pace and don’t really commit for offensive rebounds at all.
Virginia doesn’t take a ton of 3s, but Duke does have some perimeter regression coming from a defensive perspective. Teams have made nothing against the Blue Devils in the half-court despite them allowing plenty of unguarded looks.
The Cavaliers’ defense isn’t what it’s been in the vintage Bennett years, but the unit is still top-30 in protecting the rim and doesn’t let teams get there too often.
The Cavs also sell out for defensive rebounds and won’t give Duke too many second chance looks, an area where the Blue Devils dominated both UNC and Louisville.
The biggest key in this game is whether Wendell Moore Jr. and A.J. Griffin can continue their ridiculous shooting pace. The Cavaliers will look to take away the rim and concede open shots in the process.
Moore is making 10% more 3s this year compared to last, and has improved his percentage from deep from 30% to 40%. That’s a significant leap that typically is outside the range of normal shot and talent development in one offseason.
Griffin has been the best shooter in the entire country that has any solid volume at this point in the season. He’s made 50% of his 3-point attempts (36-of-72) and has made 14-of-23 in the last five games.
Griffin has some inevitable shooting regression coming at some point, and I still have some questions about the Blue Devils’ half-court offense if he’s not hitting a ridiculous percentage from deep.
Like Virginia, Duke’s defense has been better in the half-court than its been in transition. The Blue Devils are a top-35 defense in the half-court, but they allow a lot of open 3-point looks and haven’t been punished at all for them.
Duke is 190th in defensive 3-point ShotQuality on catch-and-shoot 3s.
Virginia vs. Duke Betting Pick
When you compare the actual record of a team to the expected ShotQuality record, no squad has overperformed more in the ACC than the Blue Devils.
They are 19-3, but the SQ record puts them at 16-6. You’re paying a bit of a premium on the Blue Devils here at home despite them being in a very flat spot.
The biggest win and game of the whole Duke year thus far came at UNC, even if it’s not the best “true win” the Blue Devils have.
Winning on the road against an arch rival in Coach K’s final trip to the Dean Dome is an all-in spot. And while Virginia might’ve been a big game in years past, this version of UVA is very average at both ends of the floor.
Given the shooting regression coming for Duke at both ends of the floor, and it being overvalued coming off of those two blowout wins, I’ll take Virginia with the points on the road. Bennett will slow this game to a crawl and force Duke to continue to execute in the half-court.
Maybe Duke’s offense has really taken a step forward in the half-court in the last week, or maybe the Blue Devils won’t sustain their current level of jump shooting.
I’m expecting the latter.