College Basketball Betting Picks: #1 Syracuse Orange at #5 Duke Blue Devils

#1 Syracuse Orange at #5 Duke Blue Devils
Cameron Indoor Stadium – Durham, North Carolina

Saturday, February 22, 2014, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Duke -6
Current Line: Duke -6 1/2
Opening Total: 134
Current Total; 135
Opening Money Line: Duke -245 / Syracuse +205
Current Money Line: Duke -270 / Syracuse +230

Duke is a 6.5 point favorite at home against Syracuse Saturday.
Duke is a 6.5 point favorite at home against Syracuse Saturday.

Both the 25-1 Syracuse Orange and 21-6 Duke Blue Devils are in the top 5 for now. However, both lost their last game. Syracuse was upset at home by Boston College 62-59 in overtime Wednesday night. It was the first loss of the season for the Orange, and dropped them to 12-1 in the ACC, a half game behind 13-1 Virginia in the ACC. Duke lost at rival North Carolina 74-66 Thursday in  a game that was rescheduled from last week.  Duke is 10-4 in the ACC and in third place, by a half game over North Carolina.

Syracuse leads the series 3-2 against Duke. On February 1, Syracuse beat Duke 91-89 in overtime in the Carrier Dome in what many called the best game of the year. Syracuse has never played in Cameron before this game.

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, Pittsburgh Duke, Notre Dame , Clemson, and North Carolina State plus road wins at Virginia Tech, Boston College, Miami, Wake Forest and Pittsburgh. The Orange are 13-8-1 ATS and the total is 6-13-2 this season.

Syracuse is outscoring teams 70-58 this season. The Orange are #7 nationally in points allowed. Syracuse is shooting 45.4% from the field and 35.7.3% from 3 point range. The Orange make 70.5% of their free throws. Syracuse opponents are shooting 40.4% from the field and 33.7% from 3 point range. The Orange average 35.4 rebounds per game and opponents average 27.2 per game. Syracuse is #19 nationally in rebounds allowed. The Orange average 13 assists, 9.4 turnovers, 8.9 steals and 5.1 blocks per game. Opponents average 13 assists, 14.2 turnovers, 4.5 steals and 2.8 blocks per game.

Syracuse forward C.J. Fair averages 16.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. Guard Trevor Cooney averages 14.1 points, 2 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 2.2 steals per game. Forward Jerami Grant averages 12.8 points, 7 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game. Guard Tyler Ennis averages 12.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and 2.3 steals per game. Forward Rakeem Christmas averages 5.5 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.7 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. Keita is questionable with a knee injury.

Duke is coached by Mike Krzyzewski. Duke has losses to Kansas in Chicago, Arizona in Madison Square Garden, at Notre Dame, at Clemson and at Syracuse. The Blue Devils have won 9 of their last 10 games and 4 straight. 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, at Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, Boston College, Maryland, and at Georgia Tech. The Blue Devils are 17-10 ATS and the total is 12-14 this season.

Duke is outscoring teams 81-67 this season. The Blue Devils are #19 in scoring nationally. Duke is shooting 46.9% from the field and 41.6% from 3 point range. The Blue Devils are #2 nationally in 3 point shooting. Duke is #50 in free throw shooting at 73.6% from the line. Blue Devil opponents are shooting 44.8% from the field and 30.8% from 3 point range. Duke is #37 nationally in three point defense. The Blue Devils average 35 rebounds per game and opponents average 30.6 rebounds per game. Duke averages 15.2 assists, 9.4 turnovers, 7.1 steals and 3 blocks per game. Opponents average 10.8 assists, 12.8 turnovers, 4.9 steals and 3.3 blocks per game.

Freshman forward Jabari Parker averages 19.2 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1 steal, and 1.3 blocks per game. He is projected to be a high lottery pick in the NBA draft. Forward Rodney Hood averages 16.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 2 assists per game. Guard Quinn Cook averages 12 points, 2.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.4 steals per game. Guard Andre Dawkins averages 9.2 points and 1.5 rebounds per game. Guard Rasheed Sulaimon averages 9.3 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. Forward Amile Jefferson averages 6.9 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game. Tyler Thornton, Matt Jones, and Josh Hairston will also get time in the rotation.

Syracuse is 5-0 ATS in road games, 6-1 against teams with winning home records, 12-5-1 against teams with winning records, 13-6-1 overall, and 4-9-1 in Saturday games.

Duke is 6-1 ATS after failing to cover, 4-1 after a straight up loss and in Saturday games, 8-2 overall, and in ACC games, 7-2 against teams with winning records, 5-2 at home, and 2-5 against teams with winning records.

Duke has won 30 straight games in Cameron. Still, 6.5 seems like a lot of points for two teams that are evenly matched. I like Syracuse to cover, and they have good shot at pulling off the upset.

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