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Louisville vs. Duke College Basketball Odds & Pick: Betting Value on Blue Devils

Louisville vs. Duke College Basketball Odds & Pick: Betting Value on Blue Devils article feature image

Mark Brown/Getty Images. Pictured: Jordan Goldwire (14 ) of the Duke Blue Devils brings the ball up the court.

  • Duke has saved its season with four straight wins, including a pair of victories over Virginia and Syracuse.
  • Louisville is just 1-1 after coming back from a three-week COVID-19 break and lost by 45 point to North Carolina last Saturday.
  • Will Dukes continue to make a case for the NCAA Tournament? Mike Randle makes the case.

Louisville vs. Duke Odds

Louisville Odds
Duke Odds
+200 / -250
Time | TV
Saturday, 6 p.m. ET | TV
Odds as of Saturday evening and via BetMGM.

The reports of the death of Duke’s NCAA Tournament hopes have been greatly exaggerated. 

The Blue Devils are now in the midst of a four-game winning streak, including consecutive home wins over Virginia and Syracuse.

Louisville shook off the rust of a three-week COVID-19 break, with a 69-57 home win over Notre Dame. This was a bounce-back performance from an embarrassing 99-54 loss at North Carolina.

With both teams in the middle of the bunched-up ACC standings, who should bettors look to back in this pivotal late-season ACC race?

The Matchup

Duke has turned its season around on the back of an offensive explosion.

The Blue Devils have improved both their 2-point shooting (54.6%) and 3-point accuracy (37.5%) to top-three rankings within ACC play.

Sophomore Matthew Hurt (18.3 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 46.5% 3) has reached 22 or more points in three of the past four games. Freshmen DJ Steward (13.4 PPG, 35.4% 3) and Jeremy Roach (9.3 PPG) have production with increased roles as a result of classmate Jalen Johnson (11.2 PPG, 6.1 RPG) opting-out for the remainder of the season. 

The departure of Johnson has also coincided with a significant increase in defensive efficiency, with the Blue Devils holding three of their past four opponents to 65 points or fewer. This followed an embarrassing home loss to Notre Dame in which they allowed 93 points at Cameron Indoor. 

Freshman Mark Williams (4.6 PPG, 3.7 RPG) has seen a big increase in playing time and has delivered. The 7-foot center is coming off his best performance of the season, with 18 points and 11 rebounds in the win over Syracuse.

Williams has also been a major force on the defensive end, averaging 2.5 blocks per game over Duke’s last eight contests.

ncaa-college basketball-betting-odds-pick-duke-virginia-february 20
Mark Brown/Getty Images. Pictured: The Duke Blue Devils.

In their first meeting on Jan. 23, the Cardinals were greatly assisted by a friendly whistle. Louisville made 18-of-24 shots from the charity stripe, led by Carlik Jones making 11-of-12 attempts. Duke had just nine total attempts, which should certainly change at home in Cameron.

Jones was dominant in that first game, scoring 24 points with five assists and two steals.  Look for the Blue Devils to limit his production with senior Jordan Goldwire, who is averaging 2.5 steals per game this season.

The Cardinals will be bolstered by the return of center Malik Williams. The 6-foot-11 senior has returned from a foot injury and posted six points and 10 rebounds in the win over Notre Dame. He joins 6-foot-7 Samuell Williamson (9.7 PPG, 7.7 RPG) to solidify the interior.

The Louisville defense, particularly against the 3, has been elite in ACC play. The Cardinals allow opponents to shoot just 29.6% from beyond the arc, best against conference opponents.

Their offensive metrics, however, are below average. As a team, Louisville shoots just 48% from inside the arc and 29% from 3-point range.

Louisville has also benefited from luck, with opponents shooting just 67.8% from the free-throw line.

Betting Analysis & Pick

This is a momentum play, with the Blue Devils playing their best basketball of the season. Duke’s strong 3-point shooting from deep is even more dangerous with the development of Williams inside.

The Cardinals have looked disjointed since a return from a 10-day COVID-19 pause. They have failed to cover four of their past six games, and this is not the time to play a hot Duke team at home.

Despite a poor start to this season, Duke is still a great bet as a home favorite in ACC games. Over the past four years, the Blue Devils have covered at a 60% rate.

I’m rolling with the Blue Devils and laying the 5.5 points to a Louisville team that has yet to regain its pre-COVID pause form.

Pick: Duke -5.5 (up to Duke -6).

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