- 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.
Tony Bennett told reporters that Ty Jerome (back) is “improving”, but his status for Saturday’s game against Duke is TBD. Did not play in last game.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) February 4, 2019
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.
The Fab Four freshmen showed up and showed out and exceeded all the hype. And so Duke’s 118-84 vaporizing of No. 2 Kentucky was probably the most impressive season-debut performance in the history of college basketball. https://t.co/UmXdav05oj
— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) November 7, 2018
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.
Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett had 57 of Duke’s 72 points in a 72-70 win over No. 4 Virginia. Wonder if that will be good enough for Duke to stay No. 1 despite the loss to Syracuse on Monday.
— Brent Axe (@BrentAxeMedia) January 20, 2019
Duke’s two studs, Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett, were nothing short of phenomenal in the first meeting.
Duke vs Virginia Statistical Comparison
|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.
UVA 37-30 lead, 15:18 media timeout. Kihei Clark: 8 pts, 4 assists, 5 turnovers. Feast, famine. https://t.co/wsGa5R4F2P
— CGHoo (@AugFreePress) February 2, 2019
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.
|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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