NCAA Basketball Picks: Santa Clara Broncos vs. Duke Blue Devils

Santa Clara Broncos at No. 1 Duke Blue Devils
Saturday, 12/29/12, 12:00 PM EST, TV:  ESPN2
Opening Point Spread:  Duke -18
Current Betting Line:  Duke -18
Opening Total:  149.5
Current Total:  149.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Duke Blue Devils haven’t played in nine days

Santa Clara has won six games in a row, including a 69-45 win over Wagner as 11-point home favorites last week.  The Broncos are off to their best start since the 1988-89 campaign with an 11-2 record, as their led by senior forward Marc Trasolini, who is averaging 16.3 points and 7.8 rebounds per game.  “Marc is a really good scorer, inside and out,” commented Broncos head coach Kerry Keating.  The program is 0-11 all-time against top-ranked teams in the country, with its last such game coming in 1999.  Santa Clara is 3-2 ATS as a road underdog of 12.5 or more points over the last two-plus seasons, with the OVER going 3-2 in that situation.

The Broncos were one of just four teams nationally to score 70-plus points in every game this season until falling just short of that number last time out.  San Clara will put its 3-0 road record on the line in this affair, which can’t be ignored when making your NCAA basketball picks Saturday.  It’s important to note that the team is 19-85 all-time against ranked opponents, with its last such victory coming in 2004.

Duke will attempt to open a season with 12 straight wins for the 10th time under Coach K, as it has compiled a dominating 209-31 all-time record when occupying the top spot nationally.  The Blue Devils have won 19 straight games in the month of December, with 15 of those victories coming by 20 or more points.  Duke is 6-4 ATS as a favorite this year, with the UNDER going 5-3 in that situation.

The Blue Devils are led offensively by forward Mason Plumlee, who ranks second in the ACC in scoring 19.3 points per game, while also leading the league in grabbing 11.5 rebounds.  Duke has won an NCAA-best 100 straight non-conference home games, which should continue against the likes of Saturday’s opponent, while the starting lineup has accounted for 765 of the team’s 884 points.

Sports bettors will likely back the Blue Devils due to their 4-1 ATS mark versus West Coast Conference schools, while the Broncos are 0-2 ATS as road underdogs of 15.5 to 18 points.

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