College Basketball Betting Picks: #5 Duke Blue Devils at St. John’s Red Storm

#5 Duke Blue Devils at St. John’s Red Storm
Madison Square Garden – New York City, New York

Sunday, January 25, 2015, 2:00 pm Eastern, TV: Fox
Opening Line: Duke -5 1/2
Current Line: Duke -7
Opening Total: 142 1/2
Current Total: 141 1/2
Opening Money Line: Duke -310 / St. John’s +255
Current Money Line: Duke -340 / St. John’s +280

Coach K goes for win #1,000 as Duke travels to St. John's Sunday.
Coach K goes for win #1,000 as Duke travels to St. John’s Sunday.

In the pantheon of legendary men’s division one college basketball coaches, no one has ever achieved 1,000 career wins. Not even Adolph Rupp, Phog Allen, Bob Knight, Dean Smith, John Wooden, Jim Calhoun, Lute Olson or Jerry Tarkanian have achieved that milestone. In fact only NAIA coaches Herb Statham and Danny Miles have achieved 1,000 career wins along with legendary women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt. Coach Mike Krzyzewski can join that exclusive club as his Duke Blue Devils travel to the St. John’s Red Storm Sunday. Of course, Krzyzewski and the Duke faithful would prefer he reach the milestone at home, but Madison Square Garden on national television  isn’t a bad second choice though.

Duke is 16-2 this season and 4-2 in the ACC. The Blue Devils are tied for fifth in the conference with Miami. St. John’s is 13-5 overall and 2-4 in the Big East. The Red Storm are in eighth place in the conference. St. John’s is trying to not only avoid being a footnote in history but also to bolster their admittedly shaky NCAA tournament resume.

Duke leads the series 15-6 against St. John’s. Duke won the last meeting 83-76 in Durham in 2012. St. John’s won in Cameron Indoor Stadium in 2000. Since that game Duke has won 116 straight non-conference games at home. St. John’s upset Duke in the last game between the teams at MSG in 2011.

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Duke has losses at North Carolina State and at home against  Miami-(FL). The Miami loss snapped the nation’s longest home winning streak at 41 games. The Blue Devils have won 2 straight games after a 2 game losing streak.  Duke has neutral site wins over Michigan State in Indianapolis, Temple and Stanford in Brooklyn, and Connecticut in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Blue Devils have home wins over Army, Toledo, Boston College and Pittsburgh 79-65 Monday, along with road wins over Wisconsin, Wake Forest and Louisville. Duke is 9-8-1 ATS and the total is 10-6 this season. The Blue Devils were 14 point favorites against Pittsburgh and the total was 136.5.

St. John’s is coached by Steve Lavin. The Red Storm have a loss to Gonzaga in the championship of the pre-season NIT, road losses at Seton Hall and DePaul, along with home losses to Butler and Villanova. St. John’s has won 2 of their last 3 games after a three game losing streak. The Red Storm have home wins over Minnesota, Niagara, Fordham, St. Mary’s (CA), Long Beach State, and Marquette 60-57 Wednesday night. St. John’s has a neutral site win over Tulane in Brooklyn, plus road wins over Syracuse and Providence. The Red Storm are 7-7-1 ATS and the total is 5-9-1 this season. St. John’s was a 6.5 point favorite against Marquette and the total was 128.5.


Duke is outscoring teams 82-64 this season. Duke is #12 in scoring nationally. The Blue Devils are shooting 50% from the field including 37.4% from 3 point range. Duke is #5 nationally in field goal percentage. The Blue Devils make 70.4% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 42.1% from the field and 29.3% from 3 point range. Duke is #20 nationally in 3 point defense. The Blue Devils average 37.6 rebounds per game and opponents average 28.3 per game. Duke averages 16.1 assists, 11.4 turnovers, 7.8 steals and 3.9 blocks per game. Opponents average 10.6 assists, 13.5 turnovers, 5.3 steals and 2.4 blocks per game.

Duke forward Jahlil Okafor averages 18.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.6 blocks per game. Okafor has been projected by many as the #1 pick in the 2015 NBA draft. Guard Quinn Cook averages 14.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.3 steals per game. Justise Winslow averages 11.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2 assists per game. Tyus Jones averages 10.1 points, 3.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.4 steals per game. Amile Jefferson averages 8.9 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game. Rasheed Sulaimon averages 7.9 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. Matt Jones, Semi Ojeleye, Greyson Allen and Marshall Plumlee will also get minutes in the rotation.

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St. John’s is outscoring teams 71-63 this season. The Red Storm are shooting 44.4% from the field and 31.8% from 3 point range. St. John’s makes 70.5% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 38.5% from the field including 31.4% from 3 point range. The Red Storm are #28 nationally in field goal defense. St. John’s averages 36.2 rebounds per game and opponents average 34.1 per game. The Red Storm are #321 out of 353 teams in rebounds allowed. St. John’s averages 12.2 assists, 10.7 turnovers, 8.7 steals and 6.9 blocks per game. Opponents average 12.8 assists, 14.3 turnovers, and 5.2 steals per game.

Guard D’Angelo Harrison averages 19.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.3 steals per game. He is probable with a calf injury. Rysheed Jordan averages 13.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.1 steals per game. Phil Greene IV averages 12.5 points, 2.9 rebounds,  1.4 assists and 1.3 steals per game. Sir’Dominic Pointer averages 11.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 2.1 steals and 2.1 blocks per game. Chris Obekpa averages 7.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.6 blocks per game. Jamal Branch will also get time in  the rotation. Center Adonis Delarosa is ineligible for the season.


Duke is 2-5-1 ATS after a straight up win, 2-5 in non-conference games, 1-3-1 against teams with winning records, and overall, 5-15-1 against Big East teams, and 0-5 in Sunday games. The last 4 games in this series have gone overt eh total.

St. John’s is 7-1 ATS against ACC teams, 5-1 in non-conference games, 14-5-1 after a straight up win, 5-2 in Sunday games, 1-4 at home, against teams with winning records and against teams with winning road records, and 1-5 overall. St. John’s has covered the last 4 games in this series and were underdogs in each of those contests. St. John’s has covered 4 of the last 5 home games against Duke.

After a two game stumble, Duke seems to back on track with convincing wins over Louisville and Pittsburgh. Duke is simply the better team here and should win this game to give Coach K win #1,000.

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