Dragging a 2-game losing streak into the week, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish take on the Duke Blue Devils in a game that's sitting level on the college basketball odds.
They used to call it Big Monday, but that certainly isn't the case today with only two ranked teams in action and the slate filled with teams from conferences like the Sun Belt, Southern, and Ohio Valley conferences.
The good news is those two ranked teams are going head-to-head in one of only two matchups among the Power 6 conferences. And while any battle between ranked teams is a big one, this one carries even more than the usual weight as far as the Atlantic Coast Conference goes with the Duke Blue Devils traveling to South Bend to take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Tip-off comes a little past 7 PM (ET) with ESPN's cameras on hand to document the affair. BetOnline sent it out as a pick 'em, and after a little movement towards the Irish, it's right back at a pick. Scoreboard punters are looking at 154½ for the total.
Teams A Combined 0-4 ATS Last Week
Duke (16-5 straight up, 8-12 against the spread) continues to hover at the .500 mark in the ACC ranks, entering the week 2½ games behind North Carolina in the league's catbird seat. The Blue Devils split their two tilts this past week, losing at home to NC State before rallying for an 85-83 win at Wake Forest on Saturday.
At least the Blue Devils mustered a split; Notre Dame (17-5 SU, 9-7 ATS) dropped both of its games to Virginia and at Georgia Tech, failing to cover the NCAA basketball odds in either contest. The setbacks dropped the Fighting Irish to 6-3 in the ACC, a game back of the Tar Heels after opening the conference slate with five consecutive wins. Mike Brey's band had trouble finding the net from any spot on the floor in the losses, especially from long range where the Irish converted just 10-of-35 attempts (28.5%).
ND Looking For 4th-Straight Over Duke
On the surface, Duke's 20-7 record against Notre Dame makes the series look very one-sided. However, most of that gap between the schools was built prior to Brey taking over the Irish and before they joined the ACC a few years back. Notre Dame is 5-1 in the rivalry since 2014, and has won the last three meetings, covering each of those as the underdog. Last year's battle also took place in South Bend where the Blue Devils came in as 2 point favorites and the Irish posted an 84-79 overtime decision. The last two clashes went 'over' the totals which are split 3-3 overall in the league matchups.
Winning on a hostile floor is never easy, but it has become increasingly difficult in the ACC this season. And that's why I'm taking the Irish for my free college basketball pick with the spread still level for tonight's encounter.