ACC Basketball Betting Preview: #17 Duke Blue Devils vs #2 Syracuse Orange

#17 Duke Blue Devils vs #2 Syracuse Orange
Carrier Dome – Syracuse, New York

Saturday, February 1, 2014, 6:30 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Syracuse -3 1/2
Current Line: Syracuse -3
Opening Total: 135
Current Total: 133 1/2
Opening Money Line: Syracuse -145 / Duke +125
Current Money Line: Syracuse -150 / Duke +130

Coach K and Duke travel to Syracuse in a key ACC game Saturday.
Coach K and Duke travel to Syracuse in a key ACC game Saturday.

For the first time in college basketball history, two coaches with over 900 wins will meet Saturday as Mike Krzyzewski’s Duke Blue Devils travel to Jim Boeheim’s Syracuse Orange. Coach K is the career lead in wins with 974 and Boeheim is right behind him at 940. This is only the fifth meeting between these two legendary programs. All four previous meetings were on neutral courts, including twice in the NCAA tournament. The series is tied at 2-2, but they haven’t played since the 1998 NCAA Tournament when Duke won 80-67. The new ACC rivals ¬†will meet again February 22 in Durham.

Syracuse is 20-0 this season and leads the ACC with a 7-0 record over 7-1 Virginia. The Orange are one of three undefeated teams along with Arizona and Wichita State. It is the first time since 1976 that 3 teams enter February with unblemished records. Duke is 17-4 this season and 6-2 in the ACC. The Blue Devils are tied for third in the conference with Pittsburgh.

Duke has losses to Kansas in Chicago, Arizona in Madison Square Garden, at Notre Dame and at Clemson. The Blue Devils have won 5 straight games since the Clemson loss. Duke has key wins over Davidson, Florida Atlantic, East Carolina, Vermont, Alabama at MSG, Michigan, UCLA in New York, Georgia Tech, Virginia, NC State, at Miami, Florida State, and Monday at Pittsburgh 80-65. The Blue Devils are 13-8 ATS and the total is 9-11 this season.

Duke is outscoring teams 82-66 this season. The Blue Devils are #21 in scoring nationally. Duke is shooting 47.2% from the field and 41.4% from 3 point range. The Blue Devils are #6 nationally in 3 point shooting. Duke is #28 in free throw shooting at 74.6% from the line. Blue Devil opponents are shooting 44.4% from the field and 29.8% from 3 point range. Duke is #29 nationally in three point defense. The Blue Devils average 35.6 rebounds per game and opponents average 30.2 rebounds per game. Duke averages 15.2 assists, 9.6 turnovers, 7 steals and 3.1 blocks per game. Opponents average 11 assists, 12.9 turnovers, 5.2 steals and 3.4 blocks per game.

Freshman forward Jabari Parker averages 18.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1 steal, and 1.1 blocks per game. He is projected to be a high lottery pick in the NBA draft. Forward Rodney Hood averages 17.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game. Guard Quinn cook averages 12.4 points, 2.7 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Guard Andre Dawkins averages 9.4 points and 1.5 rebounds per game. Guard Rasheed Sulaimon averages 8.3 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. Forward Amile Jefferson averages 6.8 points, 7 rebounds and one assist per game. Tyler Thornton, Matt Jones, and Josh Hairston will also get time in the rotation.

Syracuse is coached by Jim Boeheim. The Orange have key wins over Cornell and Fordham at home, Minnesota, California, and Baylor (all in the Maui Invitational), Indiana at home, at St. John’s, and Villanova at home. In conference, Syracuse has home wins over Miami, North Carolina and Pittsburgh plus road wins at Virginia Tech, Boston College, Miami and Wednesday night at Wake Forest 67-57. The Orange are 11-4-1 ATS and the total is 5-8-2 this season.

Syracuse is outscoring teams 72-58 this season. The Orange are #6 nationally in points allowed. Syracuse is shooting 46% from the field and 35% from 3 point range. The Orange make 69.3% of their free throws. Syracuse opponents are shooting 41.1% from the field and 34.2% from 3 point range. The Orange average 35.3 rebounds per game and opponents average 26.3 per game. Syracuse is #8 nationally in rebounds allowed. The Orange average 12.8 assists, 9.5 turnovers, 9.3 steals and 4.8 blocks per game. Opponents average 12.7 assists, 15 turnovers, 4.4 steals and 3.1 blocks per game.

Syracuse forward C.J. Fair averages 16.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. Guard Trevor Cooney averages 13.5 points, 1.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 2.2 steals per game. Forward Jerami Grant averages 12.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game. Guard Tyler Ennis averages 12 points, 3.3 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 2.5 steals per game. He is probable with an ankle injury. Forward Rakeem Christmas averages 5.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game. Forward DeJuan Coleman averages 4.3 points and 4.2 rebounds per game but is out for the season with a knee injury. Michael Gbinije, Tyler Roberson, and Baye-Moussa Keita also get significant minutes in the rotation.

Duke is 4-0 ATS after a straight up win, against teams with winning records, overall and against ACC teams, and 5-2 after a cover.

Syracuse is 5-0-1 ATS after a straight up win, overall, and against ACC teams, 4-0-1 against teams with winning records, 3-0-1 after a cover, 6-1-1 at home, and 3-1-1 in Saturday games.

While Boeheim and Krzyzewski will get most of the headlines in this match-up, it will be the players on both teams that will decide the game obviously. Both teams are loaded with talent. Syracuse is much better on defense, and I think that will be the difference in the game. Duke is starting to gel, but I like the Orange in a tight game in front of the raucous Carrier Dome crowd.

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