NCAA Basketball Picks: Expect Okafor & Duke to Cover as Double Digit Road Favorites Against Florida State

Jeff Grant

Monday, February 9, 2015 1:31 PM GMT

Monday, Feb. 9, 2015 1:31 PM GMT

Duke is one of the favorites to cut down the nets in March due to a talented freshmen class, which will lead to an against-the-spread victory over Florida State Monday night.

Coming Together
Duke possesses too much young talent for Florida State to contend with at the Donald L. Tucker Center in Tallahassee, as its the only team in major college basketball with three freshmen averaging double figures in scoring.

It all starts with Jahlil Okafor in the middle, who is expected to be the No. 1 overall selection in the 2015 NBA Draft, as he’s averaging 18.2 points due to leading the Atlantic Coast Conference in shooting 65.9 percent from the floor.

The Blue Devils have the ability to spread the floor offensively due to Okafor’s presence, which will prove problematic for a Seminoles squad that relies heavily on its size to defend the interior.

Sports bettors should willingly lay the 9.5 points listed on the college basketball odds on the No. 4 team in the country in terms of offensive efficiency, as the host doesn’t create turnovers and won’t be able to block shots in this matchup.

 

Soft Schedule
Florida State will be a popular college basketball pick due to its recent 3-1 SUATS run since Jan. 28, but those victories came against lower end and middle of the pack conference opponents.

The Seminoles have found things much more difficult against foes that plan on participating in the 2015 NCAA Tournament, while its non-conference strength of schedule was 323rd in the country.

Its signature win came against a underachieving Florida squad on Dec. 30, but it has gone 0-4 ATS in its last four losses as a home underdog—failing to cover the number by an average of seven points in that situation.

Check out our top NCAA Basketball Picks ATS for today's Big-12 Matchups.

More Firepower
Forward Justise Winslow has emerged as a nice compliment to Okafor in the front court, as he’s recorded a double-double in three consecutive games—marking the eighth time a Duke freshman has accomplished that feat.

Winslow has the ability to take over the game in numerous ways, as he fills out the box score in averaging 16.3 points, 10.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.7 blocks and 1.0 steals.

With its first-year players dominating the paint, senior guard Quinn Cook will provide leadership in closing things out from the perimeter, as he’s averaging a career-high 14.2 points.

 

Attracting Action
The Seminoles will attract plenty of betting action due to head coach Leonard Hamilton defeating the Blue Devils six times during his time on campus, but those victories came with more experienced rosters.

Florida State ranks 300th nationally in average service time on the floor, which is just 22 spots ahead of Duke.

 

Prediction
The Blue Devils have won eight of the past 11 meetings in this series, with five double-digit victories in that stretch.

Duke will be properly motivated in its next two games in preparation for its high-profile affair against North Carolina on Feb. 18.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Duke Blue Devils -10.5 at 5Dimes

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