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Duke Blue Devils vs Virginia Cavaliers Odds & Picks

RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson high-fiving.
Duke's RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson combined for 57 points on 63% shooting when the Blue Devils beat UVA earlier this year, but now they have to face the nation's second-best defense on the road. Photo by Keenan Hairston (wikimedia commons) [CC License].
  • No. 3 Virginia hosts no. 2 Duke this Saturday at John Paul Jones Arena (6:00 PM ET, Feb. 9th).
  • The Blue Devils won the first matchup at Cameron Indoor back in January (72-70). 
  • UVA is 12-0 at home, but could be without starting PG Ty Jerome.

Two of the top-three 2019 March Madness favorites meet this Saturday at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville (6:00 PM ET) as the Duke Blue Devils (20-2, 4-0 away) travel to face the Virginia Cavaliers (20-1, 12-0 home).

This will be the second meeting of the year between the schools, with Duke winning 72-70 in Durham back on January 19th.

Duke vs Virginia Odds, Spread and Total

Team Spread at  BetOnline Moneyline Over/Under
Duke +2.5 (-110) OFF O 136.0 (-110)
Virginia -2.5 (-110) OFF U 136.0 (-110)

The spread for this game was somewhat late to post because of injury concerns on the UVA sideline. Starting point guard Ty Jerome is questionable with a back injury.

While no official announcement had been made as of 5:00 PM ET on Friday, the opening line of UVA -2.5 is an indication that sportsbooks are confident Jerome will play.

Duke Blue Devils Outlook

This will be just the second time all year that Duke is an underdog. The first was the season-opener against Kentucky in Indianapolis.

The Blue Devils used that game to announce themselves as the best team in America.


They haven’t been perfect since then — dropping a tight neutral-site game to Gonzaga (89-87) and then getting stunned at home by Syracuse (95-91 OT) — but they have looked completely unbeatable on several occasions.

The Blue Devils already own double-digit wins over several top-50 teams, including beating St. John’s (#47 at KenPom) by 30, Clemson (#35) by 19, and Indiana (#45) by 21.

Add to that a six-point neutral-site win over Auburn (#14), a game they controlled from start to finish, plus the earlier win over UVA (#1), and you have arguably the best resume in the country in terms of quality wins.

It’s worth noting that Duke did not have their own starting PG, Tre Jones, in the first matchup with the Wahoos, and that game was not as close as the 72-70 final score would suggest.

Duke led 69-61 with just 44 seconds to play. Any bettors who had Duke -3.5 are rightfully aggrieved.

Duke’s two studs, Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett, were nothing short of phenomenal in the first meeting.

Duke vs Virginia Statistical Comparison

Duke
VS
Virginia

20-2 (4-0 away) Record 20-1 (11-0 home)
8-1 (T 1st) Conference Record (Standing) 8-1 (T 1st)
+34.80 (2nd) Overall Efficiency Rating +36.05 (1st)
87.0 (4th) Points Per Game 72.9 (T 185th)
122.1 (4th) Offensive Efficiency Rating 120.6 (5th)
65.2 (38th) Points Against Per Game 52.9 (1st)
87.3 (4th) Defensive Efficiency Rating 84.6 (2nd)

Virginia Cavaliers Outlook

The presence/absence of Jerome, who averages 13.0 PPG and 4.9 APG, could prove the difference against Duke. He is not just a key contributor in terms of points and assists, he is also their sure-handed floor general. If he’s out, freshman Kihei Clark will have to handle the ball a lot more.

The youngster averages 1.2 turnovers per game as a secondary ball handler, and he committed six turnovers when he stepped into the starting PG role against Miami last time out.

Jerome only commits 1.6 TPG while having the rock in his hands for a much greater portion of the game. (Jerome’s turnover rate is 13.6, while Clark’s is an inflated 22.6.)

Given that Duke’s Tre Jones is one of the best perimeter defenders in the entire country, Clark could again be forced into numerous turnovers if he’s the primary ball handler.

But when this UVA team is fully healthy, it is an absolute monster, especially at home. Thanks to a slow tempo, they only average 72.9 PPG. Their per-100-possession numbers paint a much different picture, and their offense actually ranks 5th nationally in terms of efficiency, just one spot behind Duke.

Betting Trends

Duke Betting Trends Virginia Betting Trends
Duke is 14-8-0 ATS overall Virginia is 16-5 ATS overall
Duke is 3-1 ATS away Virginia is 8-3 ATS at home
Duke is 1-0  ATS as an underdog Virginia is 15-5 ATS as a favorite
Duke is 5-4 ATS in ACC games Virginia is 7-2 ATS in ACC games
Duke is 4-1 ATS in its last five games Virginia is 3-2 ATS in its last five games
The UNDER is 15-5-2 in all Duke games The UNDER is 12-9 in all Virginia games

Recent H2H History

In addition to winning the first meeting this year, Duke has won four of the last five head-to-head, dating back to the 2014-15 season, and seven of ten going back to 2010-11.

Six of the last ten meetings have been decided by five points or fewer.

ATS & Total Picks

The injury to Ty Jerome is enough for me to fade UVA in this spot. Duke has been inconsistent within games this year — they somehow found themselves trailing Boston College at the half at home before storming back to win by 25 — but that inconsistency has rarely plagued them against elite competition. They have played their best when they play the best.

The return of Jones and the limitations of Jerome are enough to wipe out the change of venue for me; I’ll take the team that controlled the first meeting to do the same in the second.

Picks: Duke +2.5 and UNDER 136

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