The opportunity to be tied atop the ACC standings is on the line tonight at the Joyce Center in Indiana. The 14-6 Notre Dame Fighting Irish will play host to the 17-3 #9 team in the country, the Duke Blue Devils. Both teams are 7-2 in ACC play and trail Miami by just half the game. Duke is riding a 3-game win streak following their loss to Florida State on the road on the 18th of January. The Irish have won 4 straight and 10 of their last 11 with their sole loss being on the road to Virginia Tech.
Duke is led by freshman sensation Paolo Banchero’s 17.6ppg and 8.3rpg. Wendell Moore Jr. provided a strong second option to the Blue Devils and Trevor Keels was their 3rd option before a calf injury forced him out over the past 3 games. Keels is questionable again for tonight’s tilt at Notre Dame. The Irish have a strong one-two punch of their own in Dane Goodwin and Blake Wesley. They are both averaging 15ppg and combined for 8.1 boards and 3.8 assists per game.
If Your Team Wins
Let’s be clear, the Blue Devils are a better team when Trevor Keels is on the floor. However, Duke has gone 3-0 in his absence and has won those games by an average of just over 10 points per game. Freshman AJ Griffin has provided the boost while Keels has sat. Griffin is averaging just over 8 points per game this season but has averaged 14 over the 3-game stretch and has done it with the long ball. He has shot 10 of 15 from beyond the arc over the last three games, providing points and forcing defenses to extend further on the perimeter.
In their last game, a 74-65 win at Louisville, Griffin was perfect from deep (5-5) en route to tying his career high with 22 points. Mark Williams and Paolo Banchero both provided a double-double in the win, combining for 25 points and 26 boards. As a team, Duke killed the Cardinals on the offensive glass, grabbing 20 offensive rebounds. Duke took a 5-point halftime advantage and extended it to as much as 16 at one point before finishing the game with a 9-point win.
The Irish already picked up one big win defeating #10 Kentucky in early December. If they can knock off #9 Duke here at home, it will only bolster their resume for the NCAA tournament. Fortunately for the Irish, this game is at the Joyce Center tonight where they are undefeated for the season (9-0). The Irish will look to keep the Blue Devils off the offensive glass and chase their shooters off the perimeter.
Notre Dame is coming off a hard fought 69-65 win over Virginia. Despite being outrebounded 39 to 26, the Irish used great shooting, specifically from deep to offset the rebounding woes. They went 10 of 23 from long distance and 46.8% overall. Nate Laszewki and Dane Goodwin combined to go 7 of 11 from downtown for 32 points. Blake Wesley and Paul Atkinson each had 14 points and combined for 12 boards and 10 assists in the win.
As we do with all of our college basketball picks, let's take a look at some of the key betting trends that apply to each side of this bet.
Duke is 2-4 ATS in their last 6 games following a loss.
Duke is 5-13 ATS in their last 18 games on the road.
Notre Dame is 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games.
Notre Dame is 2-0 ATS this season as home underdogs.
I like the Irish in this spot for several reasons. First, they survived their look-ahead spot against Virginia in the last game and still got the cover. Second, they have been underdogs at home twice this season and not only covered but won the game outright. Third, Duke has lost outright twice as a short road favorite, combining that with their arch rivals up next on the road, and there is plenty of reason to avoid laying points with the Blue Devils here. Take the points and bet the Irish on Monday night.
Notre Dame plays with one of the slowest offensive paces in the country. I believe they will dictate the pace and keep this one a more halfcourt game. Both teams are exceptional at limiting their turnovers, which will keep transition opportunities for quick baskets to a minimum. Duke has gone over the total just once in their four road games while the Irish have done the same at home in just three of their nine. I like this one to stay under the number in a game that should be close throughout.