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(645) Duke at (646) Houston

(645) Duke at (646) Houston
March 29, 2024 9PM EDT
Play Rating:
5% – Duke +4.0 (-110)

5% Big Ticket: Take Duke (#645)

My clients and I cashed an easy ‘right side’ winner backing Duke as a 5% Big Ticket play this past weekend, a game that was essentially over by halftime.  Let me start with an excerpt from that pro-Duke write-up:

“My clients and I cashed with Duke in their opening round win over Vermont.  The Blue Devils did not bring their ‘A’ game, shooting only 42% from the floor, 33% from three point range, while missing nine free throws. It didn’t matter – Duke’s defense was more than good enough to control the flow throughout, and their size and athleticism was too much for the Catamounts to handle.  I’m expecting more of the same on Sunday. 

Let’s not forget that after Duke’s run to the Final Four in Coach K’s final season on the job, Duke didn’t even make the Sweet 16 last year under Jon Scheyer, bounced by Tennessee in the second round last year; as hungry and motivated as it gets.  Last year, they started four freshmen in their loss in the Round of 32, as young as it gets.  This year, Duke only starts one frosh. 

Coach Scheyer: “I think for our guys, they remember that Tennessee game like it was yesterday. I can mention some other teams we’ve played this year that are really physical and really good, and I’ll put James Madison up there with any of them. Ton of respect for them. But also for our guys. I feel there’s no question we are ready for that, as well.”

The ACC has been as ‘bet-on’ as it gets in the Big Dance so far: 8-0 SU, 7-0-1 ATS; an emerging trend worth riding here.  And Houston has shown all kinds of struggles putting the biscuit in the basket against the better defenses that they’ve faced – look at their two meetings against Iowa State away from home for a clear example.  That’s bad news against a Duke defense that ranks in the Top 20 according to Ken Pom’s advanced metrics.

Houston just won a game vs Texas A&M in the Round of 32 in which four starters fouled out and they allowed 26 offensive rebounds.  Those do not tend to be ‘survive and advance’ type metrics, but we didn’t see a single #1 seed go down to defeat in the opening weekend of the Dance.  Expect that to change in a real way on Friday Night – be SURE to take at least a sprinkle of the Blue Devils on the moneyline, currently in the +160 range at most books as I write this on Monday.  Big Ticket: Take Duke.

Line Parameter: 5% at +4 or higher, 4% at +3.5 or lower

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