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Louisville Looks to Retake Top Spot in ACC Standings as 7-Point Underdog at Cameron vs Duke

Duke Blue Devils
Mike Krzyzewski's Duke Blue Devils are coming off a seven point loss at Clemson as sizeable road favorites, but now return to the friendly confines of Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday to host Louisville. Photo by D. Myles Cullen (Flickr).
  • Louisville can retake top spot in the ACC with a win over Duke at Cameron Indoor on Saturday (6:00 pm ET, Jan. 18)
  • The Blue Devils are 7-point home favorites
  • Duke is coming off a 79-72 loss at Clemson, while the Cardinals escaped from Pittsburgh with a 73-68 OT win

Currently in a three-way tie with Florida State at the top of the ACC standings, both No. 11 Louisville (14-3, 3-1 away) and No. 3 Duke (15-2, 8-1 home) will look for a pivotal conference win on Saturday (6:00 pm ET, Jan. 18) when they meet at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Blue Devils are heavily favored, opening as a 7-point home favorite in the Louisville vs Duke odds.

No. 11 Louisville vs No. 3 Duke Odds

Team Spread Total
Louisville +7.0 (-110) Over 137.5 (-110)
Duke -7.0 (-110) Under 137.5 (-110)

Odds taken Jan. 17.

Two top contenders in the 2020 NCAA Tournament odds, neither Duke nor Louisville played well last time out. The Blue Devils are coming off a 79-72 road loss to Clemson on Tuesday, while the Cardinals escaped Pittsburgh with a 73-68 overtime victory.

Road Warriors Or Road Weary?

Conference road wins are hard to come by, especially in the hyper-competitive ACC. But Louisville has won two straight away from the KFC Yum! Center. While those victories over Notre Dame and Pittsburgh may not have been pretty, or by wide margins, a win is a win.

There’s a couple schools of thought for UL on Saturday: either Chris Mack’s pack can build on the victories, or the Cardinals can come out sluggish on the third leg of a three-game road stint against what will be a highly motivated Blue Devils team.

I tend to think a Chris Mack-coached team doesn’t know what sluggish means. This game should be a tight one.

Blue Devils Defense

Mike Krzyzewski’s team has, by and large, been a defensive-minded unit. Before surrendering 79 points to Clemson at Littlejohn Coliseum, Duke had held its previous seven opponents to 64 points or fewer. They rate fifth in defensive efficiency at KenPom. Of course, the No. 3 team in the country looked nothing like that on Tuesday.

Clemson shot 57-percent from the field against Duke, with 17 of the Tigers’ 30 field goals coming off layups or dunks. A complete defensive meltdown like that won’t happen again, especially in front of what promises to be a raucous Cameron Indoor crowd.

Depleted Devils

With Wendell Moore already out with a broken hand, Duke sharpshooter Joey Baker is now dealing with a sprained right ankle.

“Not having what we have had hurts us. And we’re not going to have it for a little bit,” said Krzyzewski after the Clemson game, referring to Duke’s sudden depth issues.

Baker’s status for the Louisville game is still unknown. For a team that typically goes 10 players deep, his absence would be felt.

While Duke has won three straight in this series of blue-blood programs, four of the last six meetings have been decided by seven points or fewer. That just so happens to be the number Saturday.

As mentioned earlier, I think this one will be tight. Duke may very well prevail, but I’ll take Louisville and the points.

Pick: Louisville (+7)

 

 

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