ACC Betting Preview: Duke Blue Devils at Virginia Tech Hokies

#5 Duke Blue Devils at Virginia Tech Hokies
Cassell Coliseum – Blacksburg, Virginia
Thursday, February 2, 2012, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Duke -3 1/2
Current Line: Duke -5
Opening Total: 143
Current Total: 140 1/2
Opening Money Line: Duke -200 / Virginia Tech +170
Current Money Line: Duke -215 / Virginia Tech +185

Duke travels to Virginia Tech in ACC action Thursday. The Blue Devils are 5 point road favorites.

The 18-3 Duke Blue Devils are #5 in the country and a half game behind North Carolina and Florida St for first place in the ACC with a 5-1 mark. Duke has won 6 of their last 7 games, including an 83-76 win over St. John’s at home Saturday.  Now, the Blue Devils go on the road to face the 12-9 Virginia Tech Hokies who are 1-5 in conference. Virginia Tech has lost 6 of their last 7 games, including a 73-69 loss at Maryland Saturday. Duke leads the series 37-8, and had won 15 of the last 18 games against Virginia Tech. The teams split the series last year with Virginia Tech winning at home 64-60, but Duke won 77-63 in the ACC tournament semifinals.

Duke is coached by the legendary Mike Krzyzewski. The Blue Devils have losses to Ohio St, Temple and Florida St. Duke has wins over Belmont, Michigan St, Davidson, Tennessee, Michigan, Kansas, Colorado St, Washington, Penn, Georgia Tech, Virginia, Clemson, Wake Forest, and Maryland.

Virginia Tech is coached by Seth Greenberg. The Hokies have losses to Syracuse, Minnesota, Kansas St, Wake Forest, Florida St, Boston College, North Carolina, and BYU. Virginia Tech has wins over Oklahoma St twice, Rhode Island, Florida International, Eastern Michigan, and Virginia.

Duke is outscoring opponents 80-69 this season. The Blue Devils shoot 48.9% from the field, including 39.9% from 3 point range. Duke is in the top 16 nationally in all three categories. The Blue Devils make 70.2% of their free throws. Duke averages 35.8 rebounds a game, and has a rebounding margin of +3.3. Duke averages 13.5 assists and 13.1 turnovers a game. Duke averages 6.5 steals and 4.4 blocks a game. Duke opponents are shooting 43.9% from the field including 32.6% from 3 point range. Duke forces 13.5 turnovers a game.

Duke has 5 players scoring in double digits. Austin Rivers averages 14.1 points to lead the team, 2.8 rebounds, 2 assists per game. He makes 38.2% from 3 point range. Seth Curry averages 12.2 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.5 steals a game. Curry leads the Blue Devils in assists and steals and is shooting 36.3% from 3 point range. Ryan Kelly averages 12.7 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.1 assists, 1 steal, and 1.1 blocks a game. He makes 47.2% of his three point attempts.  Mason Plumlee averages 12 points, 9.8 rebounds to lead the team, 2.1 assists, and 1.5 blocks a game to lead the team. Andre Dawkins and Miles Plumlee also score significant points for Duke.

Virginia Tech is outscoring opponents 67-61 this season. The Hokies are shooting 43% from 3 point range, and 36% from 3 point range. Virginia Tech shoots 74.5% from the free throw line. The Hokies average 35.4 rebounds a game with a rebounding margin of +1.3. Virginia Tech averages 12.7 assists, 12.7 turnovers, 6 steals, and 3.8 blocks a game. Hokie opponents are shooting 39.6% from the field and 25.9% from 3 point range. Virginia Tech is #2 nationally in opponents’ three point percentage. The Hokies force 13.1 turnovers a game.

Virginia Tech guard Erick Green averages 15.9 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.5 steals a game. He leads the Hokies in scoring, assists, and steals. He makes 38.9% of his 3 point shot. Dorenzo Hudson averages 11.9 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.6 assists a game. Jarell Eddie averages 9.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.3 assists a game. He makes 49.3% of his 3 point attempts. Dorian Finney-Smith leads the Hokies in rebounds with 7.2 a game. Cadaraian Raines leads the team in blocks with 0.8 a game. J.T. Thompson is out for the season with a knee injury.

Virginia Tech is 6-10-1 against the spread and the total is 6-11 this season. Duke is 8-13 ATS and the total is 14-7 this year. Duke is 4-1-1 ATS in the last 6 against Virginia Tech, and 4 of the last 5 have gone under the total. The Blue Devils are 4-0 ATS as a favorite of 6.5 points or less, 2-5 against teams with winning records, 2-6 as a favorite, and overall, 1-5 after a straight up win, and 0-5 in Thursday games. The Hokies are 4-1 ATS in Thursday games, 1-4 after a straight win, after a cover, and at home, 1-5 against teams with winning records, 1-6 overall, and 1-7 in ACC games.

I know that these two teams have played some close games recently with 6 of the last 10 decided by 10 points or less. However, this line seems awfully low with Duke a 5 point favorite on the road. It opened at 3.5. By contrast a couple of weeks ago, Virginia Tech hosted North Carolina. The Tar Heels were 7 point favorites and won by 14. I could see a similar score here. Lay -5 with Duke.

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