NCAA Basketball Picks: Duke vs. Miami

Jeff Grant

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 1:04 PM UTC

Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013 1:04 PM UTC

The Duke Blue Devils will play just their second true road game of the season tonight, as they take on the upstart Miami Hurricanes. Let’s take a closer look at the betting odds and decide where to place our NCAA Basketball picks.

Moving on without Kelly

Duke has split its two games since losing forward Ryan Kelly to a right foot injury, as it comes off a 73-57 victory over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets as 14.5-point home favorites six days ago, while going OVER the posted total of 129.5. The Blue Devils forced 21 turnovers in that affair—directly leading to 28 points on the offensive end. Offensively, the team has shot at least 40 percent in every game this season, while four of its five starters currently average double figures in scoring.

Streaking on the mainland

Miami has won five games in a row since returning from the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii over the Christmas holiday, including a 60-59 triumph over the Boston College Eagles as six-point road favorites a week ago. The Hurricanes are 1-4 ATS when playing with five or six days rest over the last two-plus seasons, with the OVER going 4-1 in that situation. 

Last year’s meeting

Sports bettors need to realize that the Hurricanes tallied their highest ranked ACC win in school history against the Blue Devils last year—something to consider when looking over the NCAA basketball odds page. Miami came away with a 78-74 overtime victory as 12-point road underdogs in that affair, with center Reggie Johnson finishing with 27 points and 12 rebounds in 35 minutes of action. He’ll miss this affair with a hand injury that has sidelined him since Christmas Eve. 

Plumlee is the key

Mason Plumlee averages 17.4 points and 11.5 rebounds per game, as the Blue Devils forward is one of 17 players nationally averaging a double-double this season. He should have his way in the paint without Johnson in the middle, while also having the ability to kick the ball out to guard Seth Curry on the perimeter. Either Curry or Plumlee has led Duke in scoring in 15 of 17 games this season.


When making your picks against the spread Wednesday night, I suggest looking past each team’s bench in this matchup, as both teams offer very little in that department. Miami’s bench has only scored 158 points this season, and only 73 since Julian Gamble moved into the starting lineup eight games ago. Duke’s starters account for 85.8 percent of the team’s scoring, which is the second-highest percentage nationally.

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I’m going to recommend that readers back the Blue Devils as one of their NCAA basketball picks, as they’ve had plenty of time to move past the Kelly injury for the rest of the conference schedule, considering they’ve played just two games since Jan. 8. The road team improves to 6-0-1 against the spread in the last seven meetings in this series.

College Basketball Pick: Duke Blue Devils -2

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