Chalky Duke Set to Roll Over Rhode Island in Second Round

Swinging Johnson

Friday, March 16, 2018 2:12 PM UTC

Friday, Mar. 16, 2018 2:12 PM UTC

No. 7 Rhode Island powered past Oklahoma in overtime to advance to a second-round meeting with No. 2 Duke, fresh off a double-digit win over Iona. Let’s analyze this Saturday Midwest Region matchup. 

No. 7 Rhode Island (26-7 SU, 16-13 ATS) vs. No. 2 Duke (27-7 SU, 21-11 ATS)Midwest Region, Saturday, 2:40 PM ETFree NCAAB Pick: Duke -9½Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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  • Duke is 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games as a favorite.
  • Duke is 9-3 ATS in their last 12 NCAA Tournament games.
  • Duke is 7-2 ATS in their last nine games vs. a team with a winning percentage above .600.
  • URI is 1-4 ATS in their last five games following a straight up win.
  • URI is 1-4 ATS in their last five games vs. a team with a winning percentage above .600.
  • URI is 6-20-3 ATS in their last 29 games as an underdog.

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The Brotherhood is about winning everything. It's our turn. #SI6HTS #HereComesDuke 🔵👿🕺

— Duke Basketball (@DukeMBB) March 15, 2018

Rhode Island’s E.C. Matthews delivered the knockout blow in overtime with a stone-cold three to put the Rams ahead for good and subsequently launched another to not only dispatch first-round foe Oklahoma but bring home the cash for all who backed URI in their college basketball picks on Thursday afternoon. Matthews scored 16 points to lead the Rams in a workmanlike victory and advance to meet Duke in the second round. The win was emblematic of the team itself, as Rhode Island doesn’t do anything spectacular but plays solid defense, allowing 68.5 points per game which ranks them 78th in the nation, and has a balanced offense that averaged 77 points per game (85th) this season.

The Blue Devils did pretty much what everyone believed they would do, and that was blow away No. 15 Iona in the opening round. However, those who had action on Duke were hardly comfortable as the Blue Devils were installed as a 21-point favorite by the college basketball odds makers and the 89-67 victory was just enough to get the cover. Perhaps the biggest news to emerge after the game was the revelation that freshman forward Wendell Carter Jr. is playing with a sore Achilles and was removed with 7:50 left, playing just 24 minutes. There are no reports that he will be sidelined for Saturday’s second-round tilt but how long and how well he plays will not be known until the game tips.

URI does not fare well in the role of the underdog. As we review their season, we see the Rams were in that position only four times and failed to cover the number in three of those. Granted, that was in the early part of their regular-season slate, but it is revealing nonetheless and harkens back to what Mike Tyson not so eloquently said: “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” That could be more literal than metaphorical with Duke’s Grayson Allen on the court, but I can’t see URI containing Duke and their No. 7 ranked offense, along with their status as the No. 3 rebounding team in the country.

I predicted this line would be Duke -11 but the oddsmakers are giving Rhode Island more respect than I, installing the Blue Devils as anywhere from 9½-10 point chalk as of this writing. I say lay it, and like it as we look for Duke to roll Saturday.

Check out SBR’s college basketball odds page for updated lines. Also, head over to the March Madness Betting Headquarters for vital handicapping information, picks, and a list of the best sports books and live betting options for the tournament season.

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