Midwest Sweet 16: Blue Devils Set to Squeeze the Orange

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Swinging Johnson

Tuesday, March 20, 2018 2:39 PM UTC

Tuesday, Mar. 20, 2018 2:39 PM UTC

Syracuse continues to prove the naysayers wrong as they stunned Michigan State and advanced against Duke, a team many believe is the best left in the tournament. Let’s check out which side gets the cover Friday in the Sweet 16.

No. 11 Syracuse (23-13 SU, 16-17 ATS) vs. No. 2 Duke (28-7 SU, 22-11 ATS)Midwest Region, Omaha, Friday, 9:37 PM ETFree NCAAB Pick: Duke -11Best Line Offered WagerWeb

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  • Duke is 9-2 ATS in their last 11 NCAA Tournament games as a favorite.
  • Duke is 6-0 ATS in their last six games as a favorite of 7.0-12.5
  • Duke is 5-1 ATS in their last six Friday games.
  • Duke is 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games vs. a team with a winning percentage above .600.
  • Syracuse is 6-13 ATS in their last 19 games following an ATS win.

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What a weekend...#MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/sA8BG8VzAD

— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 19, 2018
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The Syracuse Orange are the Cinderella story of a tournament chock-full of excellent candidates. It’s been a crazy Big Dance thus far, but nothing beats the run of a No. 11 seed entering through the backdoor via the First Four to advance to the Sweet 16. No, check that, something does beat it, and it was UMBC making history by becoming the first No. 16 seed to upset a No. 1 (Virginia), and they did it in gaudy fashion with a dominating 74-54 victory. But watching Syracuse save their biggest upset for the second round of the tournament by stunning No. 3 Michigan State, 56-53, as 10-point underdogs is not exactly chopped liver. Suddenly America’s favorite color is Orange.

The Blue Devils are the antithesis of their upstart opponent in Friday night’s Sweet 16 showdown. Much was expected this season, and the very fact that they failed to earn a No. 1 seed had to irk the Duke faithful. But it obviously grated on the players as well because they have come out flying in the tournament after being upset by North Carolina in the ACC semis. Duke mauled No. 15 Iona 89-67 and covered the college basketball odds as a 21-point favorite. They then gave No. 7 seed URI a sound beating by the score of 87-62 as 9½-point chalk, which means they have thrashed their first two opponents by an average of 23½ points. Those riding Duke’s coattails down the stretch in their college basketball picks have been handsomely rewarded as the Blue Devils have won and covered nine of their last 11 games.

Look, I love a good underdog and Syracuse certainly fits that bill. If you’re a fan that’s one thing, but if you’re risking your own money then it’s time to get real and bet the team that is going to cover. You can’t cross your fingers, close your eyes and wish it to happen. If it was as simple as that, UMBC would still be in the tournament and we’d be getting rich by betting them on the money line. Duke is a team in the top 10 in the nation in points scored (84.9 PPG), assists (17.8) and rebounds (41.6). But what everyone is overlooking is their defense. Yes, take the cumulative total for the year and they rank 100th allowing 69.3 points per game. However, if you average their last 10 games the Blue Devils are surrendering just 61 points per game!

Although it would be remiss to overlook Syracuse’s defense, ranked 10th in the nation and allowing just 63.6 PPG, they will have big problems against an offense of this magnitude. Sure, the Orange shut down MSU, but they were blown out by North Carolina shortly before the tournament. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Syracuse has had a terrific run and Jim Boeheim has worked his magic. But the big dog is coming to play and it won’t be pretty. Duke will meet the winner of the Clemson/Kansas game in the Elite Eight.

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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