NCAA Basketball Picks: Betting Miami vs. Duke's Large Spread

Willie Bee

Tuesday, January 13, 2015 12:43 PM GMT

How will Duke respond coming off its first loss of the season? See what we think in our preview and free college basketball for Tuesday's Blue Devils-Hurricanes matchup in Durham. 

And then there were two. That's the number of unbeaten college hoops teams are left after the Duke Blue Devils fell for the first time this past Saturday at rival North Carolina State.

Kentucky and Virginia are those two, and both will be in action Tuesday night around the same time Duke tips off at home against the Miami Hurricanes. ESPN2 will televise the Atlantic Coast Conference battle beginning at 9 PM (ET), a Big 12 clash between Oklahoma State and Kansas preceding the Blue Devils and Hurricanes.

Duke opened -15 on SBR's live college basketball odds, that spread sticking overnight with the total forthcoming.

This is still a relatively new and developing rivalry with Miami in its 12th ACC season. As is the case with a lot of series involving Duke, the Blue Devils hold a sizeable advantage against the Hurricanes with a 17-4 record over the years.

Duke's control of the series has slowed in the past few seasons following Jim Larrañaga's arrival in Coral Gables. The Blue Devils have won each of the past two meetings after the Hurricanes won their first two under Larrañaga. Last year's collision in Miami stayed 'under' a 130 point total while the previous meeting in Durham (March 2013) sailed past a 137½ scoreboard tally.

 

'Canes Hit ACC Highway For 1st Time
For Miami (11-4 straight up, 6-7 against the spread) to win for just the second time at Cameron Indoor Stadium, Larrañaga's lads have to put forth a similar effort to what they showed against Virginia 10 days ago. The Hurricanes came out on the short end, 89-80, but mounted a furious second half comeback to take the undefeated Cavaliers to a second overtime before running out of steam.

Two starters, center Tonye Jekiri and point guard Angel Rodriguez, fouled out of the game during the second OT, and the Cavs survived the upset by outscoring Miami by 10 at the charity stripe.

The Hurricanes did bounce back from that loss with a 60-56 triumph over Boston College last Saturday, but poor shooting from long range (5-for-22) contributed to them not covering a 9 point closing spread on the NCAA odds board. It marked the fourth time in the last five games that Miami backers had to tear up their losing tickets, and fifth time in the six most recent lined affairs.

 

Defense Breaks Down For Duke Against NC State
Ok, so it's not like Duke (14-1 SU, 8-7 ATS) has ever been known for defense under Mike Krszyzewski, but the Blue Devils seemed to completely forget about that facet of the game two days ago against the Wolfpack in Raleigh. Coach K's kids had no answers for NC State guards Trevor Lacey and Ralston Turner, who combined to sink 9-of-14 tries from beyond the arc, plus were outplayed inside by the 'Pack.

Top it all off with Wolfpack reserves outscoring the Blue Devil bench by about 2:1, and all the ingredients were there for the upset. It's not an overly impressive bench to begin with for Krzyzewski, especially at center where he needs to give freshman Jahlil Okakor a breather now and then with the only replacement being Marshall Plumlee.

We know Duke is not going to be able to sink 38% or more of its 3-point shots game in, game out, that rate good enough for 51st in the country, so getting help from someone other than Okafor in the paint is going to be a must. The Blue Devils also have to get more production off the bench, especially with four conference road games in a span of five contests coming up after this matchup with Miami.

Duke's second try at securing win No. 998 for Coach K should be successful, but I'm taking the 'Canes plus the points for my free NCAA basketball pick.

Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Miami +15
Season: 14-19 (-6.90)

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