Mike Krzyzewski and the second-ranked Duke Blue Devils top a shorter-than-usual Sunday college basketball betting card with a short trip to take on the North Carolina State Wolfpack.
Will Sunday be a good day for Coach K and Duke haters, or will the Blue Devils spoil it for those folks by beating the North Carolina Wolfpack?
Whether you love 'em or hate 'em, the Blue Devils almost always supply plenty of drama when they lace up the sneakers for a nationally televised contest. In the case of Sunday's NCAA betting card, college hoops needs all of the drama it can get to attract at least a portion of the TV audience away from the NFL Playoffs.
In this case, it's CBS providing the pictures and commentary beginning at 1:30 PM (ET). One of just three unbeaten teams remaining, Duke opened as 9½ point chalk on SBR's live NCAA odds, the spread creeping up to 10 at some sports books by Sunday morning.
The Blue Devils have emerged victorious the last three times they've met the Wolfpack, extending their lead in the series to 142-98 over the years. Duke easily covered a -13 line last year at PNC Arena, but it was NC State backers cashing tickets in the return match during the ACC Tournament. The Wolfpack's last win came almost exactly two years ago on their home court, an 84-76 upset of then-No. 1 Duke.
College basketball oddsmakers have yet to release a total for Sunday's clash, but four of the last five meetings have skipped past the mark, that same trend true for the last five clashes in Raleigh.
Coach K Drawing Near 1K Career Win Mark
It has so far been a bad season for the many who hate Duke (14-0 straight up, 8-6 against the spread). The closest the Blue Devils have come to losing a game was just a few days ago at Wake Forest, but they still managed to pull away late for an 8-point victory to avenge being upset in Winston-Salem last March.
Duke trailed the Demon Deacons with about six minutes remaining, barely covering half of the closing 15 point spread that opened as high as -17. Sunday's spread appears to be on its way up, and it will mark the seventh consecutive game -- and 13th time this season -- the Blue Devils will be asked to cover double digits if it closes -10 or higher.
A win by any margin would mark the 998th in Krzyzewski's college coaching career, setting up a chance for him to reach 1,000 next Saturday at Louisville. This afternoon's contest is one of five in the next seven Blue Devil games taking place on the road where they were 4-5 in the ACC last year.
'Pack Back Home After Tough Loss At Virginia
North Carolina State (11-5 SU, 6-5-2 ATS) is getting a second chance to knock off one of the undefeated teams left in the college basketball betting season. The Wolfpack spent this past Wednesday at Virginia where they had the lead with under nine minutes to go, only to go cold and drop a 61-51 decision to the Cavaliers.
Mark Gottfried's gang did get the cover on a +14 spread, leaving NC State backers a perfect 3-0 so far on the conference slate. Including the conference tourney last March, which ended with a 75-67 loss to Duke in the semifinals, the Wolfpack have covered eight consecutive ACC games, five of those as the underdogs.
Extending that streak to nine means having to frustrate Duke with persistent and consistent perimeter defense. The Blue Devils have netted at least 40% of their 3-point attempts in the last four games, so NC State is going to have to stay in the faces of Quinn Cook, Tyus Jones and Rasheed Sulaimon.
Coach K should net win No. 998, but my free college basketball pick will be on the Wolfpack and the points at home in this ACC rivalry.
Free College Basketball Pick: North Carolina State +10 at 5Dimes
Season: 13-19 (-7.90)