Pick Gardner-Webb +24.5 vs. Duke

Jeff Grant

Monday, December 16, 2013 2:11 PM GMT

The Duke Blue Devils will return to the court after a 12-day layoff, as they prepare to take on the Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs Monday night. Find out where we think the best value lies.

Let’s take a closer look at the NCAA basketball lines for this non-conference matchup at Cameron Indoor Stadium, with the opening tip scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPNU.

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Familiar foe

Gardner-Webb will be playing Duke for just the second time in school history, but leading scorer Naji Hibbert has some familiarity with Monday’s opponent, as he was a high school teammate of Blue Devils point guard Quinn Cook.

The Runnin’ Bulldogs will try to snap a seven-game losing streak versus ranked opponents, while they’ve gone 4-2 ATS as an underdog against lined opposition the last two-plus seasons.

Rust factor

Duke returns to action after a 12-day layoff, which could lead to a slow start for a perimeter-oriented team that relies heavily on the three-point shot, especially when you consider that Gardner-Webb allows foes to knock down just 27.2 percent of their shots from that distance.

The Blue Devils have three players averaging in double figures, with freshman forward Jabari Parker leading the way at 22.1 points a contest.  He has scored in double figures in each of the team’s first nine games.

Challenging schedule

College basketball handicappers need to realize that the Runnin’ Bulldogs won’t be overwhelmed by Monday’s setting, as they’ve already played tough road games against Missouri and Xavier.

Gardner-Webb also has the advantage of playing a warmup before this affair—picking up a convincing 106-54 home victory over Clearwater Christian Saturday.

Streaking

The Blue Devils will likely extend their winning streak to 108 games against non-conference opponents at this venue, as they’ve won all 34 of their opportunities when playing on seven or more days rest since 1997.

Duke also has a 21-game winning streak against current teams that make up the Big South Conference.

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Runnin’ Bulldogs for their college basketball picks, as the Blue Devils are a mediocre 3-3 ATS as home favorites of 24.5 to 30 points.

Duke’s coaching staff has also spent a good portion of its long layoff preparing for its upcoming game against UCLA Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.

College Basketball Pick:  Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs +24.5