Bet Duke -6 With Your NCAA Tournament Picks Against Yale

Jason Lake

Friday, March 18, 2016 7:02 PM UTC

Friday, Mar. 18, 2016 7:02 PM UTC

After pulling off the requisite 12-versus-5 upset, can the No. 12 Yale Bulldogs beat the NCAA Basketball odds again this Saturday when they face the No. 4 Duke Blue Devils?

Jason's 2015-16 record as of Mar. 17: 20-12 ATS, 1-2 Totals

Easy game, right? As expected, the No. 12 Yale Bulldogs got the job done Thursday, beating the No. 5 Baylor Bears 79-75 as 5.5-point puppies to advance to the second round of the NCAA men's basketball Tournament. And as expected, the No. 4 Duke Blue Devils failed to cover in their 93-85 win over the No. 13 UNC Wilmington Seahawks (+10). It ain't rocket surgery, folks.

Hypothesis: Maybe we should stick with the Bulldogs when they face the Blue Devils this Saturday (tip-off TBD) in the second round. The reasons for doing so remain the same. Yale is still the nerdy Ivy League college, and Duke is still Duke. At press time, the Bulldogs are getting up to six points on our NCAA Tournament odds board. Seems viable enough.


Dancing With the Devils
Let's see what the basketball scientists have to say about this matchup:

FiveThirtyEight (Elo): Duke –6 to –6.5
Sports-Reference (SRS): Duke –11.4

Once again, the usual devaluing of the smaller-conference team by the Simple Rating System. But that Elo-based projection is very close. The Blue Devils opened as 5.5-point favorites, then the early bettors piled on at a 62-percent clip, according to our consensus reports. There might even be a slim profit margin left over if we want to bet on Duke at –6. Yay science?

So now we have to figure out what happened to Yale's betting value. Neither team had any additional injuries to report after Thursday's action. Maybe the oddsmakers are just very good at their jobs. But let's speculate anyway, just for fun. Over-reacting to events is what humans do, especially recreational bettors, and the ones who watched Thursday saw what Yale (23-6 SU, 12-6-2 ATS) did to Baylor. It was probably the only Bulldogs game they'd ever seen. That's a small sample size. They also saw Duke (24-10 SU, 13-18-2 ATS) struggle a bit in the first round; granted, that's not a rare occurrence, but it doesn't happen like clockwork in the NCAA Tournament.


Slow Children Crossing
Anyway, given how the projections worked out for this matchup, maybe we'll be better off looking at the total if we want to make some coin with our NCAA Tournament picks. How does 146 points grab you? Well, the OVER is 12-8-2 for Yale this year, and the UNDER is 18-15 for Duke, so maybe not.

Then again, these Blue Devils are built to go OVER. They have the No. 4-ranked offense in Division I, according to Ken Pomeroy's charts, and the No. 118-ranked defense. Pace is a slight problem, though, at No. 195 overall. And Yale is weighted heavier toward defense (No. 24) than offense (No. 80), while operating at an even slower pace (No. 278). Shazbot. Just give us Duke at the best price on the board, and may the sphere be with you.

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3000681, "sportsbooksIds":[1096,93,19,92,238,169], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]
NCAA Basketball Pick: Duke –6
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

comment here