Duke at Virginia Picks and NCAA Basketball Odds
by Dave Schwab - 2/28/2013
The Duke Blue Devils will look to stay in the race for the ACC regular season title with a tough test on the road against the Virginia Cavaliers this Thursday night at John Paul Jones Arena. Tip off for this conference clash is set for 9 p.m. (ET), and the game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.
Duke comes into this matchup following routine victories over Virginia Tech and Boston College in which it covered as a double-digit favorite. It is now 24-3 straight up on the year but trailing Miami by two games in the ACC standings at 11-3. The Blue Devils have gone 15-12 against the spread this season, and the total has stayed “under” in four of their last seven games.
The Cavaliers are tied with North Carolina for third-place in the ACC at 9-5 SU. They are 19-8 SU (16-7-1 ATS) overall and a perfect 16-0 SU (12-1-1ATS) at home this season. The total has gone “over” in six of their last seven games.
Duke at Virginia Betting Storylines
The Blue Devils remain in the running for a No.1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but they will have their work cut out for them with Miami at home and North Carolina on the road to close out the regular season. They continue to be one of the top scoring teams in the nation with an average of 78.9 points a game while shooting a solid 47.6 percent from the field. The one concern for this game is a defense that is now ranked 138th in the country in points allowed (64.9).
The game plan here could be to simply outscore Virginia behind Mason Plumlee and Seth Curry, who have combined for an average of 34.3 points a game this year. Duke also has two other competent scorers in Rasheed Sulaimon and Quinn Cook, who are each averaging over 12 points a game. However, the loss of Ryan Kelly has cut a bit into its overall production.
The Cavaliers have built their impressive record around a stingy defense that is allowing just 54 points a game. This has not always been the case lately as they have allowed 66 points or more in three of their last seven games, but they remain tough to score on nonetheless.
To win this game, Virginia is going to have to generate some offense, so look to Joe Harris (16.6 points) and Akil Mitchell (12.6 points) to carry the load as the only two players on the team averaging more than 10 points a game. The Cavaliers are averaging just 65 points a game but shooting 46.6 percent from the field. Harris is the team’s best outside shooter; hitting 46.4 percent from three-point range. Evan Nolte is only averaging 6.7 points a game, but he is connecting on 40.6 percent of his shots from beyond the arc.
Duke at Virginia Betting NCAA Basketball Odds and Trends by BetOnline
BetOnline has opened Duke as a two-point road favorite with the “over/under” line still off the board for this matchup as of our deadline for this article.
The Blue Devils are 2-5 ATS in their last seven road games and 2-6 ATS in their last eight games following an ATS win. The total has stayed “under” in five of their last six games against a team with a winning record.
The Cavaliers are 15-5-1 ATS in their last 21 home games and 11-3 ATS in their last 14 games following an ATS win. The total has gone over in four of their last five games at home.
Head-to-head in this matchup, the road team is 15-5-1 ATS in the last 21 meetings, and the total has stayed under in eight of the last nine games. Duke has won the last eight meetings SU and has a 5-3 edge ATS.
Duke at Virginia Picks and Betting Predictions
This is a very dangerous matchup for Duke with the Hurricanes waiting in the wings for this Saturday’s showdown in Durham. The Blue Devils should remain focused enough to get out of Charlottesville with a SU win. However, since it is just too close to call, the play in this game is with Virginia to keep things painfully close until the final buzzer.
Take # 540 Virginia (+2) over Duke (Thursday, Feb.28, 9 p.m.)
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