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Duke vs Boston College Picks, Predictions: Can You Trust Blue Devils on Road?

Duke vs Boston College Picks, Predictions: Can You Trust Blue Devils on Road? article feature image

Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images. Pictured: Jon Scheyer (Duke)

Duke vs Boston College Odds

Saturday, Jan. 7
1 p.m. ET
ACC Network
Duke Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-115o / -105u
Boston College Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-115o / -105u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

ACC league play has gotten off to a topsy turvy start. The early leaders in the clubhouse at 4-0 are Clemson and Pitt, who were picked 11th and 14th in the preseason poll, respectively.

In the middle of the league standings at 2-2, are Boston College and Duke, two teams who differ far more than their ACC records suggest.

Duke is a top-25 team by just about any metric you look at, while BC’s horrific start to the season has it toiling in the middle of the national power rankings.

Duke will look to bounce back from a shocking beatdown at the hands of NC State, while BC will look to extend its home winning streak to four games.

Duke Blue Devils

Poor Jon Scheyer is off to a rocky start as the new head honcho in Durham, but you won’t find anyone feeling sorry for him or his cadre of five-star talents.

The Blue Devils have notched just two Quad 1 victories this season and have yet to win a true road game, failing against Wake Forest and NC State in conference play.

It’s hard to point to just one factor as to why Duke has gotten off to a slow start (by the program’s lofty standards). The Blue Devils aren’t necessarily bad at anything (expect maybe outside shooting), but they also aren’t elite at anything either (except maybe offensive rebounding).

To date, Duke ranks outside the top 30 in both offensive and defensive efficiency (per KenPom), the first time that’s happened in the site’s 25-year history.

It’s the worst Duke offense we’ve seen since 2007 and the eighth-worst defense in 25 seasons.

Talent isn’t the problem, though it’s safe to say No. 1 overall recruit Dereck Lively II hasn’t lived up to his billing, and 6-foot-7 wing phenom Dariq Whitehead has stalled out of the gates in part due to injury.

But something isn’t quite right.

Perhaps it’s simply growing pains of a very young team with a brand new head coach; perhaps we will start to see this Duke team become extremely dangerous over the next several weeks.

While BC shouldn’t be taken lightly, this should be a get-right game for Duke. The Blue Devils are far more talented than the Eagles and have the athleticism edge.

A staple of Duke’s offense this season has been the pick-and-roll, which it runs among the highest rates in the country.

BC has been awful guarding ball handlers off screens this season, meaning guys like Jeremy Roach and Tyrese Proctor should find success probing off ball screens and finding rolling lob or pop partners.

Duke’s efficiency has been poor in this area this season, due in large part to its lack of shooting, but it should find it easier to manufacture offense against a softer defense.

The offensive glass should still be exploited despite the return of BC 7-footer Quinten Post, and the Blue Devils should find opportunities in transition.

Duke has been at its best when allowed to play in the open floor, begging the question why Scheyer has maintained a below-average tempo.

Defensively, Duke should have no trouble slowing down the 273rd “best” offense in the land.

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Boston College Eagles

Boston College’s early season troubles aren’t entirely its own fault. Injuries have plagued the Eagles all season, and head coach Earl Grant has already used seven different starting lineups in 15 games.

With Post’s return to the fold, BC is as healthy as it’s been all season, and that means the Eagles are likely undervalued by the market and analytics.

Keep in mind, this team began the year ranked 74th in KenPom. It returned four starters from a surprisingly competitive 2021-22 squad, and some gave the Eagles an outside shot at an at-large bid.

The jury is still out on whether BC can climb back up to its preseason rank (it currently sits at No. 166), but there’s no question the Eagles have been better the past few games.

An overtime win against a very good Virginia Tech squad was impressive, and a victory over Notre Dame was the perfect bounce back from an ugly loss at Syracuse.

With the big, bad Duke Blue Devils coming to town, BC is sure to give its best effort.

Scoring is going to be a challenge for the Eagles. BC is the ninth-worst 3-point shooting team in the country and gets most of its buckets near the rim.

Scoring inside is difficult against a big Duke frontline. Lively is an active shot-blocker, and Ryan Young and Kyle Filipowski are strong 7-footers with excellent noses for the ball.

Post should be a factor on the block, and maybe he can force foul trouble on one or two of the Duke bigs, but it’ll take others — like forward T.J. Bickerstaff — for BC to find success inside the paint.

BC’s guards should be able to find their way into the lane against a Duke perimeter defense that has struggled at times to keep ball handlers in front.

Eagles guard Jaeden Zackery is like a cannonball when he attacks the rim, and he and 6-foot-5 wing DeMarr Langford Jr. have had success posting smaller defenders.

The challenge will be getting clean looks off against Duke’s lengthy frontcourt cleaning up the help-side.

Duke vs. Boston College Betting Pick

Sometimes in sports betting it’s best to challenge a team to do something it’s failed to do all year.

For Duke, that’s play competitive on the road. In its two true road games this season, the Blue Devils have lost outright as a 6.5- and 4.5-point favorite.

Why not dare the Devils to cover a 10-point spread on the road against an improving BC team with its 7-foot center back in the fold?

Pick: Boston College +10.5 (Play to +9)

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