NCAA Basketball Picks: Duke vs. Virginia Tech

Darin Zank

Wednesday, February 25, 2015 3:59 PM GMT

Here's our NCAA Basketball pick for tonight's battle between Blue Devils & Hokies. Duke is playing for a conference championship & a No. 1 seed at the Big Dance; Virginia Tech is playing for pride. 

Blue Devils-Hokies Betting Odds
Most NCAA Basketball odds opened this game with Duke favored by 16.5 points, the total offered at right around 142, and both those numbers were holding firm in the early betting.

Those who, for whatever reason, think Virginia Tech might pull the upset here could get +1450 on the moneyline at Heritage.

 

Blue Devils-Hokies: Background
Duke has won seven games in a row, after taking care of Clemson Saturday 78-56. The Blue Devils only led by 10 with about 14 minutes to go, but pulled away from there and covered at -13. Duke shot 52 percent from the floor, and held the Tigers to just 42 percent shooting.

The Blue Devils have won seven in a row SU, but have alternated wins and losses against the spread over their last nine games. Last Wednesday Duke knocked off North Carolina in overtime but couldn't cover at -8, while just before that it won at Syracuse 80-72 and got lucky with a cover at -7.

At 24-3 overall, 11-3 in conference play the Dukies sit in second place in the ACC, two games behind first-place Virginia. They're also in the running for a top seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament.

Virginia Tech has lost three in a row, and 13 of its last 15, after going down at NC State Saturday 79-63. The Hokies trailed by double-digits early, pulled to within three points early in the second half, then faded, and missed on the cover at +13.

Virginia Tech shot 46 percent Saturday, and hit seven of 20 three-pointers, which ain't too bad, but allowed the Wolfpack to shoot 52 percent.

Last Wednesday the Hokies lost at Miami 76-62, and just prior to that they lost at Clemson 75-54.

At 10-17 overall and 2-12 in conference play the Hokies remain, at best, a work in progress.

 

Dukies-Hokies Recent History
Duke has beaten Virginia Tech seven times in a row, most recently a 66-48 decision in Durham exactly one year ago today. But the Hokies hung on for the cover that night as 20-point underdogs.

The Blue Devils are 4-3 ATS over those last seven meetings.

Check out another top-value NCAA Basketball Pick: Washington/UCLA

By the Numbers
Duke is shooting just under 50 percent from the floor this season, which ranks fourth in the nation, and 39 percent from 3-point land, while holding opponents to 43 percent FG shooting.

Virginia Tech is shooting 45 percent from the field, and 39 percent from long range, but only 62 percent from the FT line, while holding foes to 43 percent shooting.

 

Blue Devils-Hokies Betting Trends
Duke has skewed toward the OVERS this season by a 16-9 margin, as Dukies games have averaged 146 points.

Virginia Tech is 11-7 on the totals, as Hokies games have averaged 134 points.

Ten of the last 11 meetings in this series have played UNDER on the totals, mainly because Duke's defense has put the clamps on Tech most of the time.

 

Injury Update
Duke F Jahlil Okafor (18 points, nine boards PG) turned an ankle in the win over North Carolina, then missed Saturday's victory over Clemson; his status for tonight is still uncertain. But the Blue Devils just won by 22 without him, and they should win this game, too.

 

Blue Devils-Hokies Free Pick
Normally we'd take the road favorite for our NCAA Basketball Pick in a spot like this, the better team at the more manageable spread, but the Okafor situation concerns us just enough to prompt a pass. So instead, seeing that Duke has held Tech to 48, 57, 56 and 56 points over the last four meetings, and the Hokies have struggled recently just to score 50 points, we'll go with the UNDER.

Free NCAA Basketball Pick: UNDER 142 at The Greek