College Basketball Picks: Belmont Bruins vs. Duke Blue Devils

Belmont Bruins at No. 6 Duke Blue Devils
Friday, 11/11/11, 9:00 PM EST, TV:  ESPNU
Opening Point Spread:  Duke -12
Current Betting Line:  Duke -12
Opening Total:  N/A
Current Total:  N/A
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Duke Blue Devils are 12-0 SU all-time in the Maui Invitational

Belmont will enter Cameron Indoor Stadium with plenty of confidence Friday night due to nearly beating Duke in the 2008 NCAA Tournament, dropping a 71-70 contest as 20-point neutral-site underdogs.  The Bruins have really grown as a program and are coming off a sensational 30-5 campaign, even receiving votes by some of the pollsters.  “We greatly appreciate the recognition and confidence voters have shown in us,” commented Bruins coach Rick Byrd.  The team is the reigning Atlantic Sun Conference regular season and tournament champions.  Belmont is 6-1 ATS in November the last two-plus years.

The Bruins program has made the third-most three-point field goals in the nation since going from NAIA to Division I basketball.  Belmont has won 20-plus games in six of the past eight years, winning 12 or more conference games in each of the past nine seasons.  Last year’s team outscored opponents by an average of 17.5 points, seeing its season end with a 72-58 loss to the Wisconsin Badgers in the NCAA tournament.  It’s hard to imagine a straight-up victory, with the school coming in with a 12-game losing streak against ranked opponents.

Duke is set to open its season and put its 12-0 all-time record in the Maui Invitational on the line, averaging 83.5 points in exhibition wins already.  The Blue Devils are 15-4 all-time against teams from the Atlantic Sun, while head coach Mike Krzyzewski has led the team to 12 straight wins versus the conference.  He starts the season needing just three wins to surpass Bob Knight as the all-time leader in wins in college basketball.  Duke is 8-2 ATS in November and 6-1 ATS when playing on Friday night the last two-plus seasons.

The Blue Devils have tallied an impressive 29-1 record in home openers under Krzyzewski, while also winning 28 consecutive games in November.  Duke brings back a somewhat experience roster, with eight returning letterwinners combining for 130 starts.  The team will still need to replace 68 percent of its scoring, as Seth Curry and Andrew Dawkins are the leading returning scorers in averaging 9.0 and 8.1 points per game respectively.  Mason Plumlee figures to be the go-to option inside, hitting all 14 of his field goal attempts during exhibition play.

Bettors will likely back the Blue Devils due to their 19-13 ATS mark at home, while the Bruins are 1-2 on Fridays.

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