The Duke Blue Devils look to extend their three-game winning streak on Monday night when they host the Syracuse Orange in a key ACC contest. Syracuse also comes into the game on a three-game winning streak, with both teams trying to make a push to get into NCAA March Madness.
The Orange (13-6) have climbed up to 7-5 in league play, sitting in a tie for sixth in the standings with Clemson. Syracuse is coming off home wins over Boston College and Notre Dame by identical 75-67 scores.
The Blue Devils enter this one in the afterglow of their best win of the season, a 66-65 upset of No. 7 Virginia on Saturday. Duke (10-8) is 8-6 against ACC opponents this season and is percentage points behind Clemson and Syracuse in the league standings.
If you’re betting online on this contest, an interesting subplot to keep in mind is Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim’s critique of freshman Jalen Johnson opting out of the Duke program last week. The Blue Devils are 5½-point favorites in this game, with the over/under set at 150½ in our NCAAB odds.
Orange vs Blue Devils Betting: On A Roll
Syracuse may have won three straight, but its most impressive victory was its latest, as the Orange rallied from a 20-point second-half deficit to top Notre Dame by eight. Junior guard Buddy Boeheim led the charge with a career-high 29 points, including six 3-pointers.
Boeheim is one of three Syracuse players now averaging 15.2 points on the season. The coach’s son has also made 38 3-pointers. Also averaging 15.2 points is junior forward Alan Griffin, who has a team-high 42 3-pointers and leads the team with 1.6 blocks per game.
The third of the top-scoring trio is sophomore forward Quincy Guerrier, who leads the team with 9.4 rebounds per contest.
While the rally from a 20-point deficit to win is great, the troubling part is falling behind by 20. Syracuse ranks second in the ACC in field-goal percentage defense, allowing teams to shoot just 41.1% from the field, but it has been inconsistent in its play on the defensive end.
Making A Rally
Duke’s NCAA Tournament hopes were thought to be over, especially with Johnson’s opt-out of the rest of the season. But suddenly, the Blue Devils are making college basketball news with their play on the court again.
Saturday’s win over Virginia showed some grit we didn’t see in the Blue Devils a couple of months ago. Part of it may be coming together as a team after Johnson’s departure.
Sophomore forward Matthew Hurt led the way with 22 points in the win, including five 3-pointers. Hurt has paced the Blue Devils in scoring all season long, averaging 18.5 points as well as a team-high 6.4 rebounds per game. He shoots 46.9% from 3-point range and 56.1% overall, and he’ll be the number one focus of Syracuse’s defense.
Freshman guard DJ Steward is the other double-figure scorer for coach Mike Krzyzewski, averaging 12.9 points. He’s hit 31 3-pointers this season. Another key for the Blue Devils on both ends of the floor is senior guard Jordan Goldwire, who leads the team with 3.8 assists and 2.6 steals per game.
Devils Take Tight Battle
This game should be quite a chess match between two of the all-time best college coaches. Syracuse’s zone defense can be difficult to solve, but Krzyzewski has plenty of experience against Boeheim and should be able to find some answers.
The Orange have been great at home this season at 11-1 but are just 2-5 on the road. While Cameron Indoor Stadium isn’t the same intimidating place this season without fans, it’s still a tough place to play when the Blue Devils are on their game, as they seem to be now.
Orange vs Blue Devils Betting Pick
Syracuse will put up a fight, as it usually does against the Blue Devils, but in the end, we expect Duke to come out on top. When doing your college basketball betting, go with the Blue Devils to win and cover.