The Duke Blue Devils begin their ACC tournament play with a quarter-final encounter with the Virginia Tech Hokies. Can the Blue Devils cover the big number? Find out which way we are leaning in this evenings matchup.

The third conference game of the day is between two teams that are very familiar with one another.

Early NCAA Basketball odds for this ACC tournament quarter-final matchup list Duke as the 8.5 point favorite. The O/U for tonight's ACC clash has opened at 136.

Which side of the lines do we want to be on with our NCAA Basketball picks? Join us as we break down this matchup and decide.

As the number two seed, the Blue Devils got to rest up through the opening round. They had a prime opportunity to win the regular season title and get that coveted number one seed, but ultimately got dismantled by arch-rival UNC in the season finale.

There's a very good chance Duke will get a chance at revenge in the finals, assuming everything goes according to plan throughout the bracket. The Hokies won't be backing down however as they try to shake things up in a major way.

Surprise surprise: Duke the favorites

Austin RiversThe only real surprise of the tournament thus far has been Virginia Tech's win over Clemson, and even that wasn't totally shocking.

Tech were considered 3.5-point dogs by sportsbooks, but won 68-63 in a hard-fought game. It was the Hokies' third ATS cover in their past four matchups.

Only two weeks ago the Hokies gave the Blue Devils a run for their money in Durham. They looked to have pulled off the improbable upset, before Duke rallied to force an overtime and eventually win. 

The first meeting of the season was a little more routine for the Blue Devils, who won by 15 up in Blacksburg. 

Horrible news out of the Duke camp though as Ryan Kelly injured his foot in practice and is expected to miss the entire ACC tournament. Kelly averaged 11.8 PPG and 5.4 RPG during the regular season and was a huge matchup problem for opponents due to shooting ability for a big man. 

Still, that means Andre Dawkins should get more minutes and he's hardly a bad shooter himself. Dawkins hasn't made nearly as much of a contribution as he'd have wanted this season, but he's still connecting on 41.0 percent from three on the year. 

Blue Devils need something positive 

This is also another spotlight for freshman Austin Rivers to shine in and, after seeing what he pulled off against the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill, you have to think he'll be bringing it come tournament time. It's also about time Mason Plumlee snapped out of his little funk, and what better moment than now?

Duke has had almost a week to think about their loss to UNC and I'm sure they're dying to get back on the court as soon as possible.

If there's one thing we've learned about the Blue Devils, it's that they're going to be near impossible to beat if they're hitting the shots. Averaging 78.7 PPG on the season, that happens to be the case more often than not.

Taking that into consideration, I feel Duke comes out hot from the get-go tonight and wins pretty easily.

PICK: Duke Blue Devils -8.5


Hokies are 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall

Blue Devils are 2-3 ATS in their last 5 games overall

UNDER is 6-1 in the last 7 head-to-head meetings

Blue Devils are 5-2-1 ATS in the last 8 head-to-head meetings