Kentucky vs. Duke Updated Odds, Pick, Prediction: New Faces Will Lead to Offensive Struggles
Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images.
- Updated Kentucky vs. Duke odds list the Blue Devils as a 3-point favorite for Tuesday's college basketball opener, with the total at 149 at DraftKings Sportsbook.
- The point spread has moved fairly significantly since opening, as betting steam earlier Tuesday pushed the Blue Devils from -1.5 depending on the book to -3.
- We're staying away from the spread and taking the total instead. Get our full Kentucky vs. Duke preview below.
Kentucky vs. Duke Odds
+100o / -120u
+100o / -120u
Finally, college basketball is back in New York City. The Champions Classic takes center stage at the World’s Most Famous Arena. As usual, the event will feature four of the game’s most prominent coaching figures, though, this year’s event holds extra importance.
Mike Krzyzewski is entering his final season as the coach of the Blue Devils. He has become one of the faces of not just college basketball, but of the entirety of basketball.
The accolades speak for themselves. Coach K is the winningest coach of all time. He’s won five national championships and 15 ACC Tournament titles.
The legacy that he has created will leave him in the upper echelon of basketball coaches. Coach K may not be finished quite yet, though, as his Blue Devils enter the season with the highest of aspirations.
While the spotlight will be on Coach K and the Blue Devils, John Calipari and his squad on the other side cannot be overlooked. Calipari — the king of one-and-done — once again rebuilt his roster, but this time it centers around transfers, not recruits.
Duke enters this matchup holding slight edges in both rankings and prior history. The Blue Devils defeated the Wildcats in the last meeting in the Champions Classic to take a 2-1 series advantage in the event.
It may not hold much weight because the rosters are drastically different, but you can be sure that coach Calipari remembers the outcome.
Will the Wildcats put a damper on the start of Coach K’s farewell tour?
2020 was a disaster for the blue-blood Wildcats. They had plenty of talent, were a top-10 team preseason and even sent four players to the NBA. However, they finished 9-16.
With his talented freshmen leaving once again, Calipari looked for an answer as to how to turn the program around. He then discovered the transfer portal.
This Kentucky team is going to be very different than what we usually see. Not one projected starter is a true freshman.
In fact, its new leader is a graduate transfer, Kellan Grady. Grady gives the Wildcats an instant dose of offense, as over his four seasons at Davidson, he accumulated over 2,000 points.
Grady was joined by fellow transfer guards Sahvir Wheeler and CJ Fredrick. Wheeler may be lacking in stature (listed at 5-foot-9), but his game certainly makes up for it.
The Georgia transfer led the team in both scoring and steals last season. He brings a high motor and toughness to a Kentucky team that will surely endure him to both Calipari and the fans.
Fredrick is an Iowa transfer who should be a sharpshooter off the bench, as he shot over 46% from deep as a Hawkeye.
The three transfers just helped create an elite class, as they joined a midseason transfer from last season in Oscar Tshiebwe.
The big man from West Virginia is now eligible and is looking to give the Wildcats a dominant presence on the inside. Tshiebwe is a tenacious rebounder, so much so that he led the country in offensive rebounding percentage as a freshman.
While the Wildcats may be built on experience this year, that did not stop Coach Cal from bringing in two top recruits.
Guard TyTy Washington and forward Daimion Collins were the 14th and 15th-best recruits in the country, respectively, and will give Kentucky massive potential off the bench early in the season.
It was a disappointing year for the Blue Devils in 2020. They struggled out of the gate and frustration mounted amongst the club. The team looked to reach a boiling point when star freshman Jalen Johnson left the program to ultimately turn pro.
Duke showed signs of life when it mattered as it was victorious in the first two rounds of the ACC Tournament. However, its season came to an end when the team was forced to withdraw after a positive COVID-19 test.
Coach K and his successor Jon Scheyer enter the 2021 season with the fifth-ranked recruiting class that includes three five-star recruits.
The first of those recruits is Paolo Banchero. Banchero is a 6-foot-9, 250-pound power forward with the ability to do it all. The former state of Washington Gatorade Player of the Year is a tremendous athlete who has shown the ability to shoot from the mid-range as well as take defenders to the rack off the dribble.
Coaches are raving about Banchero as his willingness to pass the ball makes him a nightmare for opposing teams. He has Player of the Year potential and could be the next stud to lead the Blue Devils deep in the Big Dance.
Banchero is joined by two more top-25 recruits in AJ Griffin and Trevor Keels.
Keels is the projected 2-guard for the Blue Devils this season. He is well built and can score from anywhere on the court. Keels is also thought of as a prime-time player, meaning that his game only improves as the moment gets bigger.
Griffin is a natural wing like Banchero but has not played much basketball in the last year due to his high school’s COVID-19 protocols. He possesses massive upside off the bench and could be a real factor once he gets going.
Finally, the veteran on the team is sophomore forward Wendell Moore. Moore’s game matured throughout his freshman season and his potential to be a factor in both scoring and on the boards is key to the team’s success.
What may be even more critical is his leadership as the Blue Devils’ other four starters will be freshmen.
Kentucky vs. Duke Betting Pick
This opening game is a massive stage for all the young players on each side.
Add in the influx of new parts for Kentucky and the inexperience of the Blue Devils, and there could be some extended scoring droughts, especially early.
I’m going to take the under. I’d say wait until right before tip, as the total should keep rising and we can get the best of the number.
Pick: Under 148.5
How would you rate this article?
This site contains commercial content. We may be compensated for the links provided on this page. The content on this page is for informational purposes only. Action Network makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the information given or the outcome of any game or event.