Miami at Duke Picks and NCAA Basketball Betting Odds
by Robert Ferringo - 3/2/2013
The Duke Blue Devils will find themselves in kind of a strange situation when they wake up Saturday morning.
No. 7 Miami will head up to Tobacco Road to take on No. 3 Duke in a crucial ACC clash. The game is set to tip off at 6 p.m. EST on Saturday at Cameron Indoor Stadium, a venue where the Blue Devils have won 92 of the past 97 times they have taken the court.
The Blue Devils are fresh off a 73-68 loss at Virginia on Thursday. That is just their fourth loss of the season. And for a team that has lost just 18 regular season games over four years, the Blue Devils aren’t used to trying to bounce back from defeat.
But what makes the situation really odd is that Duke is also in a massive revenge situation against Miami after the Hurricanes buried the Blue Devils, 90-63, when these teams first met back on Jan. 24. That 27-point loss was Duke’s worst in five years and represented Miami’s first win over a No. 1 team in the country.
Duke playing off a loss is weird. Duke playing off a loss and facing a team that beat it by 27 points in the first meeting is bizarre.
Here is a breakdown of this week’s top matchup:
Miami at Duke Betting Story Lines
The Blue Devils should come into this game as focused as we have seen them all year. Miami eviscerated the Blue Devils down on South Beach, and you know that Duke has been waiting weeks to get another crack at Miami.
This game was being billed as the possible determinant for the ACC regular season championship. But after Duke fell to the Wahoos earlier this week, that guaranteed Miami at least a share of its first ACC hoops title.
While Miami would love a season sweep over mighty Duke – Miami has won two straight in the series after losing seven of eight – you would have to think that already claiming a piece of the crown would blunt some of Miami’s motivation.
But the Hurricanes also have some loftier goals in mind. This team is angling at a No. 2 or even potentially a No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. They could make a strong case for either if they secured a regular season and ACC Tournament Championship. Miami is 23-4 on the season and 14-1 in conference play and has been the best team in the league for months.
Also, Miami actually won at Cameron Indoor last year in an overtime thriller. The Hurricanes boast the ninth-most experienced team in the country, and the average age of their starters is 22 years old. So this isn’t a team that will be easily rattled.
The Hurricanes have three senior starters including stud forward Kenny Kadji and smooth shooting guard Durand Scott. Sophomore point guard Shane Larkin calls the shots for this team, which is one of the most efficient offensive and defensive groups in the country.
Duke relies heavily on seniors Mason Plumlee and Seth Curry. That inside-outside duo compiles 34.5 points per game and are the clear go-to guys for this group. Duke is one of the best outside shooting teams in the country, hitting an impressive 41.4 percent of their three-pointers, good for No. 4 in the nation.
The Blue Devils will likely be without senior swing forward Ryan Kelly, who is still trying to recover from a foot injury. The Blue Devils started the year 15-0 with Kelly in the mix. But they finished last year 0-2 without him and are just 9-4 this season when he doesn’t take the court.
This game should be a battle. Miami’s size and athleticism should help them control the perimeter, defensively, and in the paint on both sides of the court. Miami can attack both inside and out, and I think with their experience they won’t be intimated by the size of the stage.
However, Duke plays out of its mind at home. Visitors have to fight the crowd, the shockingly partisan officiating, and a very talented team bent on their destruction. I expect a top effort from the home team, and this one may just come down to something as simple as which team is able to generate, and knock down, more open jumpers.
Miami at Duke NCAA Basketball Betting Odds and Key Trends
The Hurricanes have gone 10-1 ATS in their last 11 Saturday games, and they are 14-6-1 ATS against teams with a winning record. However, Miami has gone just 1-3-1 ATS in its last five games overall, and they are just 1-4-1 ATS in their last six road games. The Hurricanes have gone 5-0-1 ATS in their last six meetings in Cameron Indoor Stadium, and the road team is 5-1-1 ATS in the last seven in the series.
Duke has covered five of six home games, and they are coming in off a loss, which is a rare spot for them. The Blue Devils are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games after losing, and they are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games after an ATS defeat. Duke has not been a good bet against the Hurricanes, however. Duke is just 1-6-2 ATS in the last nine meetings, and they were favored every time.
Miami at Duke Picks and Betting Predictions
You can’t bet against Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Well, you can, but you’d have a lot more fun just punching yourself in the face repeatedly for two hours. The refs will be doing whatever they can to give this game to Duke, the obnoxious crowd will be going crazy, Duke will be hitting shots from all over the court, and you are really just setting yourself up for a very frustrating experience. Trust me here.
The thing is, I have a hard time laying this many points, even with the revenge angle. I think that Miami is the better team in this game. But the fact is that the Hurricanes have been sagging a bit under the weight of their expectations. And the only two teams to even come close to Duke in Cameron this year were North Carolina and Ohio State.
This isn’t one that I’d want to get too involved in. I suppose if I had to, I would look at the “over”. I know that Miami’s offense has really struggled over the past couple weeks. But they played three straight games – FSU, Clemson, Virginia and Wake – against teams that really like to slow things down. And three of those teams play a grinding style. Duke is coming off a low-scoring game, but they have shot lights out at home this year. I can see both teams hitting around 70 points, and I think that this one can sneak over.
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