NCAA Basketball Picks: Bet Duke -9.5 Over Notre Dame as They Look to Even the Score in This Back-to-Back Clash

Darin Zank

Saturday, February 7, 2015 12:16 PM GMT

Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015 12:16 PM GMT

Notre Dame upset Duke in their first meeting this season two weeks ago, winning straight-up as a two-point home underdog. The Irish are almost double-digit dogs for Saturday afternoon's meeting with the Blue Devils in Durham.

Irish-Blue Devils Betting Odds
Duke opened up as a nine-point favorite around most of the college basketball odds and that line was holding steady in the early betting.

 

Irish-Blue Devils: Round 2
These teams just met 11 days ago, Notre Dame taking a 77-73 victory at home.

Three days after beating Duke, however, the Irish went to Pittsburgh and faded late, losing to the Panthers 76-72. Notre Dame then followed that up with a 71-63 victory Wednesday over Boston College. The Irish led the Eagles by 25 points in the first half, but allowed BC to rally late and gave up a back-door cover as 12-point favorites.

Notre Dame shot 50 percent from the field against Boston College, and made 10 of 21 from long range, but went just 11-19 on free-throws, and missed a push on the spread by four points.

Three days after dropping that game to the Irish the Blue Devils went into Charlottesville and handed Virginia its first loss of the season, 69-63. Duke trailed that game 63-58 with three minutes to go, but scored the last 11 points of the game, winning straight-up as a five-point dog.

But Wednesday the Blue Devils struggled to beat Georgia Tech 72-66 and never came close to covering the spread as a 17-point favorite. Duke allowed the Wreck to stick around all night in part by shooting poorly, making just five of 18 shots from long range and missing nine of 24 free-throws.

Big-picture, Notre Dame is basically tied with Virginia for the lead in the ACC at 9-2, while Duke is tied for fifth place at 6-3.

As mentioned above, Notre Dame took the first meeting between these teams this season two weeks ago up in South Bend 77-73. Duke led that game by 10 points halfway through the second half, but the Irish rallied and hit some big shots down the stretch, picking up their biggest victory of the season.

Notre Dame shot 52 percent from the floor that night, hit eight of 18 shots from 3-point range and got a little help from Duke, which made just 10 of 20 free-throws.

That game sneaked UNDER its total of 152.

Notre Dame has trailed by double-digits several games recently, and managed to come back and win a few of them. Now, it's one thing to rally from such deficits, but it's also a little dangerous to fall behind by that much so often.

Notre Dame also beat Duke in the only meeting between the teams last season 79-77 also up in South Bend. Saturday will be the first time the Irish have visited Durham since 1994.

 

Irish-Blue Devils Key Stats
Notre Dame is shooting 52 percent from the field this season, which ranks No. 2 in the nation, and 40 percent from 3-point range, which ranks 15th. At the other end of the floor the Irish are holding opponents to 41.5 percent shooting.

Duke is shooting 49.5 percent from the field this season, which ranks seventh in the nation, while holding foes to 43 percent shooting.

 

Irish-Blue Devils Betting Trends
Notre Dame is 9-5 on the totals this season, as Irish games have averaged 145 points.

Duke is 13-7 on the totals, as Devils games have also averaged 145 points.

 

Irish-Blue Devils Free Pick
Normally we might say the home team is favored by too much here, and play the dog, but Duke had Notre Dame down by 10 in the first meeting, before giving way, and we like the Blue Devils to avenge that defeat Saturday. And while the spread might seem a bit much, the team that wins the game more often than not covers the spread, and that's what we'll hope for our NCAA basketball picks.

Free College Basketball Pick: Duke -9 at Bookmaker

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