Duke-Syracuse Betting Preview: Can Blue Devils Cover Without Zion Williamson?


Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Duke F RJ Barrett

Feb 23, 2019, 04:22 PM EST

When Zion Williamson suffered a Grade 1 knee sprain against North Carolina on Wednesday, most media types seemingly earned their doctoral degree to assess whether the 6-foot-7, 285-pound forward should ever play college basketball again.

Meanwhile, us degenerates attempted to figure out how much Williamson’s leave would impact the spread for the No. 1 Blue Devils at Syracuse.

In the teams’ last meeting on Jan. 14, the Orange (+1200 moneyline) won 99-95 in overtime on the road in Durham. Blue Devils freshmen Cam Reddish (sick) and Tre Jones (shoulder) both missed much of that matchup, though.

Jim Boeheim’s crew owns only three quadrant one wins, so a victory would aid Syracuse’s odds of jumping up the bracket ranks come March. The Orange are currently projected to be around an eight-seed on Bracket Matrix.

So where’s the value in this critical ACC contest? Let’s break it down.

>> All odds as of Friday night. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NCAAB odds and win probabilities on your bets.

Duke Blue Devils at Syracuse Orange Betting Odds

  • Spread: Duke -4.5
  • Over/Under: 145
  • Time: 6 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN

The Blue Devils (15-11 against the spread) have lost three consecutive games ATS after covering in four of their previous five affairs before that while the Orange (15-11 ATS) have won four of their past six matchups ATS.

Duke gave us a glimpse of its defense without Williamson in Wednesday’s loss to UNC, yielding a 65.5% clip from inside the arc. Even with Williamson in the lineup, the Blue Devils are allowing the 10th-highest 2-point scoring rate in the country (56.9%).

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