College Basketball Picks: Duke vs. Kansas Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 11/23/2011
There is no college football on Wednesday night to bet on, but there is a nice NCAA basketball warm-up from the Maui Invitational before some great Thanksgiving Day football action: Hoops superpowers No. 6 Duke and No. 14 Kansas meet tonight at 10 p.m. Eastern on ESPN in the final of the holiday tournament from Hawaii. A Kansas win would make history as Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s Blue Devils are a perfect 14-0 all-time in this tournament (this is their fifth championship game).
Kansas is the winningest program in each of the last five seasons. Duke is third. Kansas ranks second in all-time victories with 2,041 in Division I. Duke is fourth with 1,950. KU has the longest active streak of 22 straight NCAA Tournament appearances dating back to 1990. Duke is second with 16. These two programs have met eight times, with Duke leading 6-2. But the last meeting was back in the 2003 NCAA Tournament. For what it’s worth, seven of the eight meetings have been decided by seven points or less.
Duke vs. Kansas Betting Storylines
This will be the end of a grueling schedule for Duke, the seventh game in 13 days for the Blue Devils – and it gets no easier after this one as they travel to No. 3 Ohio State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge next Tuesday. In Maui, Duke has beaten Tennessee, 77-67, and on Tuesday night No. 15 Michigan, 82-75, in a rematch of an NCAA Tournament game from last season. Star freshman guard Austin Rivers, second on the team in scoring at 15.2 points per game, scored a career-high 20 points against the Wolverines. Duke shot nearly 57 percent on Michigan and is shooting 49 percent as a team for the season, nearly 43 percent on three-pointers.
The Dukies (6-0) might have an early-season advantage over other teams because no team has traveled more miles or played more games together since the summer than Duke, which visited Dubai and China during the summer. They already appear in sync. Seth Curry, the younger brother of former Davidson and current NBA star Stephen, is hitting 58 percent of his threes and 57 percent overall so far this year.
Kansas (3-1) has bounced back from a 10-point loss at Madison Square Garden to No. 2 Kentucky last Tuesday with wins over Georgetown and UCLA in Maui. Last night against the Bruins, Elijah Johnson scored a career-high 23 points and star Thomas Robinson had 15 points and 10 rebounds. The only negative from that game being that KU allowed UCLA to climb within five points after leading by 20 – the Jayhawks went nearly seven minutes in second half without scoring -- before the Bruins eventually ran out of gas. KU hasn’t won the Maui Invitational since 1996.
Some very impressive Duke numbers will be on the line tonight. For example, the Blue Devils have won 14 consecutive non-postseason (so not including ACC or NCAA Tournament) neutral-site games and are 32-2 in their past 34 neutral site games overall. Duke has won 34 consecutive games in November, dating to 2006. The Blue Devils are 114-10 all-time in the month under Coach K.
Duke vs. Kansas Betting Odds and Trends
The Blue Devils opened as four-point favorites with the total at 146.5 on college basketball odds. Duke is 2-4 ATS this season and had lost three in a row before the Michigan game. Kansas is 2-2 ATS and had lost two in a row before the UCLA result. ‘Over/under’ records: KU 1-3, Duke 5-1.
Duke is 6-1 ATS in past seven vs. Big 12 teams. But just 2-6 ATS in past eight nonconference games. The ‘under’ is 7-0 in KU’s past seven neutral-site games.
Duke vs. Kansas Betting Predictions and Basketball Picks
Kansas might have the best player on the floor in Robinson, and he has had a double-double in every game so far. However, Duke is deeper in the post with Ryan Kelly and the Plumlee brothers as well as deeper as in the backcourt with Curry, Rivers and Andrew Dawkins. So essentially, Robinson and KU point guard Tyshawn Taylor will have to play out of their minds to win – and likely get a big game from a third option like Johnson (who hadn’t done a lot in the previous three games prior to Tuesday’s career-high) or Travis Releford. The one advantage KU should have is on the boards.
It’s the third game in a row for both, so fatigue should be about even, although the Kansas basketball schedule hasn’t been as grueling overall. I went against Kansas getting six points against Kentucky last week and that worked out well, so I’m going to continue that trend and take the Blue Devils. I do like the ‘over’ because I believe defense suffers most with tired legs, and the Dukies are shooting really well right now.
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