Midwest Region: Duke Set to Roll Past Overmatched Iona

Swinging Johnson

Tuesday, March 13, 2018 4:41 PM UTC

Tuesday, Mar. 13, 2018 4:41 PM UTC

The second-seeded Duke Blue Devils begin their tournament march by meeting the No. 15 Iona Gaels on Thursday. Let’s check out the NCAA odds and determine whether Duke is worthy of being such a huge favorite in this Midwest matchup.

No. 15 Iona (20-13 SU, 15-13 ATS) vs. No. 2 Duke (26-7 SU, 20-11 ATS)Midwest Region, Thursday, 2:45 PM ETFree NCAAB Pick: DukeBest Line Offered Intertops

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  • Duke is 6-1 ATS in their last seven games following a straight up loss.
  • Duke is 7-2 ATS in their last nine games as a favorite.
  • Duke is 5-1 ATS in their last six games as a favorite of 13.0 or greater.
  • Iona is 0-5 ATS in their last five NCAA Tournament games as an underdog.
  • Iona is 0-4 ATS in their last four games as an underdog of 13.0 or greater.
  • Iona is 3-7 ATS in their last 10 neutral site games as an underdog.

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On Thursday we dance.#SI6HTS#HereComesDuke 🔵😈 pic.twitter.com/jH5RM2LsIG

— Duke Basketball (@DukeMBB) March 11, 2018

When last we saw Duke, they were being unceremoniously dumped as the defending ACC tournament champions in a 74-69 defeat to North Carolina in the semifinals. However, the season as a whole was a success, and the Blue Devils will have an easy time of it in the opening round when they tip off against lightly-regarded Iona. The question really is not if Duke wins, but by how much. A quick glance at the NCAA basketball odds reveals the Blue Devils as 19½-point neutral-site favorites pretty much across the board at all of the major online sportsbooks.

Duke owns the eighth-ranked offense in the nation, averaging 84.7 points per game, and has been devastating on the glass with nearly 42 boards per contest, ranking them third in the nation. On the flip side we have Iona, with a decent offense of their own, averaging 79.8 PPG against vastly inferior competition than that of Duke. However, they rank 258th in rebounding, which reveals what a huge advantage the Blue Devils will have down in the post.

Perhaps the most unheralded aspect of this Duke team is how well their defense has rounded into form since switching primarily to a zone defense. Over Duke’s last eight games their defense has allowed an average of 60 points per game, which is nine below their season average. When you combine a prolific offense and a defense that is becoming one of the best as the tournament commences, then you have all the makings of a good old-fashioned blowout against a team used to playing the Fairfields, Marists and Sienas of the world. The difference in talent, depth and experience is simply too great a gap to expect Iona to overcome and that’s why we will back the Blue Devils in our NCAA basketball picks on Thursday afternoon. They next will face either Rhode Island or Oklahoma.

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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