NCAA Basketball Picks: #5 Duke To Reign Over Struggling Florida State

Jason Lake

Wednesday, February 24, 2016 8:24 PM GMT

The Florida State Seminoles haven't beaten the basketball odds in a while. They'll have trouble getting off the schneid Thursday night against the Duke Blue Devils.

Jason's 2015-16 record as of Feb. 24: 7-6 ATS, 1-1 Totals

A couple of weeks ago, we stuck a fork in the Florida State Seminoles. Okay, it wasn't that bad a hatchet job, but we faded the Seminoles in their game against the Miami Hurricanes, calling it one of the easier NCAA basketball picks we've made here at the home office. Final score: Miami 67, Florida State 65. The 'Canes were 1-point road faves when we made our pick, but the market preferred the 'Noles, pushing them to –1.5 at the close.

Whom will bettors prefer Thursday night (7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN) when Florida State visits the No. 15 Duke Blue Devils? Probably Duke. The Seminoles have dropped four straight games SU and ATS, while the Blue Devils are 5-1 SU and 3-2-1 ATS in their last six, including a massive away win against the North Carolina Tar Heels (–8.5). However, Duke opened as an 11-point home chalk on Thursday's NCAA basketball odds boards before dropping to –10 at press time. Interesting.

 

Basketball Jones
Before I let loose with some idle speculation, let's hit up the numbers. Sports-Reference has Duke (+21.5 SRS) rated over nine points better than Florida State (+12.2 SRS) on a neutral court, which works out to around Duke –13 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Might there be some value on the Devils at this low, low price?

It depends who plays. Guard Matt Jones (14.6 PER, +6.3 BPM) is expected to suit up after spraining his left ankle during the first half of Duke's win over North Carolina. Jones ended up missing last week's 71-64 loss to the Louisville Cardinals (–7 at home), although he did participate in the warm-ups. Also expected to play: guard Derryck Thornton (10.6 PER, +2.0 BPM), who hurt his right shoulder during the Louisville game, but was able to return. Duke was up 54-49 on the Cardinals when Thornton left the floor; in the five minutes he missed, Louisville outscored the Devils 17-5.

 

The List
So what's going on with these basketball odds? Are people really fading Duke in this situation? We don't have enough data yet to produce a consensus report, but according to the public money charts, Duke is No. 5 on the season, with Florida State way down the list at No. 106. Maybe this line move is just some early action from sharps who like betting on double-digit dogs.

We'll see. Given Duke's return to health and Florida State's losing streak, grabbing the Devils here at –10 looks like a decent bargain, before the betting public comes in and bumps the price back up. However, for future reference, we'll be keeping a close eye on those NCAAB odds for evidence of anti-Duke sentiment. That knowledge could come in handy down the road.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Duke -10
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline