NCAA Basketball Picks: Road Underdog Duke To Beat Pittsburgh ATS

Kevin Stott

Sunday, February 28, 2016 1:12 PM GMT

Duke heads north to face Pitt and chance for the Panthers to earn their 20th win of the season. Let’s get a good NCAA basketball pick for Sunday's game. 

Odds Overview
#15 Duke vs Pitt [Sunday 15:00] (CBS, (US), 2 p.m. EST/11 a.m. PST): Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski takes his now (AP) #15-ranked Duke Blue Devils (21-7, 10-5 in ACC) north to Pittsburgh and the Petersen Events Center to play new ACC member Pitt (19-8, 8-7 ACC) in a big games for both schools on Sunday afternoon. Offshore oddsmakers have opened up this game as a Pick ‘Em (Bookmaker) here with the Total (Points) here set at 147½ (Bookmaker).

 

Duke Blue Devils
Duke (13-12-2 ATS, 5-2-1 ATS on Road) and legendary Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski have been playing some pretty good basketball of late, W6 of 7 and beating some pretty good and some highly ranked ACC schools (NC State, Louisville, Virginia, North Carolina) along the way in this current run. In their last game on Thursday night, the now #15 (AP) Blue Devils (+250 odds to win ACC Tournament, Ladbrokes) defeated Florida St., 80-65 at Home in Durham as Grayson Allen (18 points), Brandon Ingram (16 points) and Marshall Plumlee (13 points, 10 rebounds) all had big games for the Tobacco Road hosts. It was the first game since Feb. 6 in which Duke (82.3 AF-70.8 AA) wasn’t playing a team that wasn’t ranked in the AP Top 25 so if you think your boss is giving you a hard time, imagine the Cavaliers and Tar Heels back-to-back and humbled is what you will be. The Blue Devils (20/1 to win National Championship, Coral) come into this game fairly healthy with only F Amile Jefferson (Foot) Out for this game which will probably be extremely close throughout and have several lead changes as well as possibly flip-flopping favorites for the ever-growing In-Game wagering crowd.

 

Pitt Panthers
Pittsburgh (11-13-0 ATS, 5-10 ATS at Home) and renowned 13th-year Head Coach Jamie Dixon have L5 of its L8 games but the Panthers are still a force to be reckoned both in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament (Pitt 25/1 odds to win ACC Tournament, Ladbrokes) as well as the Big Dance and are honestly still probably trying to get used to Basketball Life in the ACC (Pitt was in the Big East up until 2013.) In their last game, the Panthers lost to #11 Louisville here at Home, 67-60 (LOU -1½, 134½, Under) on Wednesday as Ryan Luther (17 points), Jamel Artis (13 points), James Robinson (12 points) and Michael Young (10 points) were all in double-digit scoring for Pittsburgh (77.6 AF-67.6 AA) which shot just 42% (21-50) from the Field—Artis was 3-for-13—and only 66.7% (14-21) from the Free Throw line against the Cardinals in the Loss. The Panthers (200/1 odds to win National Championship, Bet365) come into this game against #15 Duke extremely healthy with No Injuries to report.

 

Best Betting Approaches and Series Trends
There have only been two meetings between Duke and Pitt and three overall as the Panthers recently left the Big East Conference for the Atlantic Coast Conference and the series is split 1-1-1 ATS with Duke pushing the 14-point spread in Durham last year in a 79-65 win over Pitt (Total, 136½, Over) while the year before here in The Steel City, the Panthers lost outright, 80-65 as 4½-point favorites to the Blue Devils (Total 139½, Over). So, the 2 meetings in this series in ACC play have gone Over by 7½ and 5½ points while the 2007 non-conference meeting went Under (149½) despite going to OT with the visiting Panthers winning 65-64 as 6-point underdogs. Trend-wise, the Over is a strong 40-19 in Pitt’s L59 Home games (67.8%) while Pitt is 2-6 ATS in its L8 Sunday games while the Panthers (14-4 SU at Home) are a pathetic 16-35 in their L51 Home games here at the Petersen Events Center (31.4%).

Expect Duke (#10 in Pomeroy College Rankings, .9108 Pythagorean Winning Percentage) to see how well the outside game (3’s) is working through Allen (20.9 ppg, 63-for-50 of 3 attempts), Ingram (60-for-147), Luke Kennard (41-for-25), the oh-so-valuable Matt Jones (62-for-151) and Derryck Thornton (25-for-67) and Pitt (#47, Ken Pomeroy Ranking, .8032 Pyth) will need to do everything in its power to play the tight Defense it’s capable to try to avoid Duke from getting many open looks.

The Panthers’ 5-10 ATS mark at Home this season at the Petersen Events Center and that aforementioned 16-35 ATS over the L51 games just can’t be ignored and the Blue Devils have not only been playing good lately but have a newfound Confidence that comes from beating some of the best teams in the ACC and shooting well. Look for that roll to continue and laying the minimal points here is the Rx and let’s hold off on a Totals pick despite the Pitt 40-19 ATS Over L59 at Home Trend with the number coming out almost exactly the same as the Final Score prediction (Duke 80 Pitt 67).

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":2936662, "sportsbooksIds":[1096,93,19,92,238,169], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]
NCAA Basketball Pick: Duke +1
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes