Strong Home Court Advantage Makes Miami Our NCAA Basketball Pick Over Duke

Joe Gavazzi

Monday, January 25, 2016 4:31 PM UTC

Monday, Jan. 25, 2016 4:31 PM UTC

The Duke Blue Devils visit Miami, Florida for this 7:00 ET tip, the first game on tonight’s Big Monday card. Don't miss our betting preview and get our NCAA basketball picks.

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Miami -158
Best Line Offered: at Heritage


Duke vs. Miami, FLA (-3) 7:00 ET ESPN
When these teams met last season at Cameron Indoor Stadium, Miami emerged with a (90-74) outright victory as 15 point underdog. Clearly, the Hurricanes will not be scared by the aura of Duke. With Duke trailing Miami by a game in the loss column in the ACC standings, look for a highly-competitive performance by the Blue Devils. But, Miami, Fla. is the better team for the reasons noted below and along with their strong home court, they will emerge with this victory.


Game Overview
Only the perception of Coach K and his great success with Duke through the years allows these Blue Devils to be priced as the better team in this matchup. Yes, they did manage to record a 10 point victory over NC State Saturday afternoon, but that came on the heels of a trio of 3 losses at Clemson (68-63) and on their strong home court by scores of (95-91) to Duke and (64-62) to Syracuse. Lone road victories for the season have against Boston College and defenseless Wake Forest (a team Miami pummeled 77-63 on Saturday on this court). Only the leadership of Coach K is keeping these Blue Devils afloat at 15-5 SU. Without interior force, Amile Jefferson, who has been out since early December, the Blue Devils lack any kind of interior force. Plumlee, the younger, is clearly not the answer. And, there is lack of depth in the backcourt which makes it tough for Duke to compete with the upper echelon of the league. That also shows up on the defensive end of the floor, where the Blue Devils are allowing 71 PPG and 43% shooting. That will make it very tough for them to slow down a high-powered Miami, Fla. team.


Betting Analysis
A look at last week’s article on the 2016 CBKB B.R.A.T.S. sees Miami as a clear qualifier. Their 65/41 defense is clearly better than that of Duke. They also have a (+5.6) rebound margin, plus 1.8 assist/TO margin and +0.8 TO margin. With an offense averaging 80 PPG on 49% shooting and 37% from the arc, the numbers say they are the better team. That does not even take into account the veteran coaching of Laranaga or the strong home court of the Hurricanes, where they are 8-1 SU this season, 5-2 ATS as home chalk with every home victory being by double digits. 

In the PERCEPTION/REALITY game of the day, we side with the better team in Miami, Fla. on their strong home court. I invite you to put the NCAA basketball odds in your favor and join me in my NCAA basketball pick with the Miami Hurricanes tonight.

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