After hitting at a 57% hit rate in recent years, the betting preview had a down year only winning 44% of games. We’re back and looking to improve on that number. As always, lines are courtesy of Draftkings Sportsbook, so head over there and get in on the action.
This is one of those cases where the total can’t be low enough. The book is essentially begging us to take the over, but I’ve seen this movie before. Virginia’s defense should put the clamps down on a uncharacteristically bad Irish offense. There’s no Nate Laszewski or Cormac Ryan and it shows with Notre Dame shooting a paltry 26.7% from three. That’s almost ten points lower than a year before and what we come to expect from the Fighting Irish. Given an almost double digit total and two of the slower teams in the ACC, I’ll hold my nose and hope for an ugly rock fight.
Pick: Under 116.5
Everything in this game points to a shootout. Both teams play at a frenetic pace with both squads in the top 88 in possessions per game. But, I’m going to zag. Florida State will have the height advantage and force the Bisons into relying on outside shots. If those shots fall, this total sails over, but a couple empty possessions and we’re set up for a 79-70 type game. Finally, should this game come down to foul shooting, I’ll take my chances with Florida State making only 66% of their free throws and leaving points on the table.
Pick: Under 152.5
Pittsburgh Panthers @ Syracuse Orange
KP: Syracuse +1, O/U 147
Draftkings: Syracuse -2, O/U 148.5
This line has been hovering right around a pick-em since lines came out and it’s gone too far the wrong way (or the right way depending on how you look at it) as I like Pitt to win outright. In what seems to be his tenth year in Pittsburgh, I think Jeff Capel has finally put together a team that should be competitive in the ACC as last year wasn’t really a mirage, but more of a sign of things to come. Syracuse will have trouble with their small lineup matching up with Blake Hinson all over the floor and the rest of the Panthers on the offensive glass. The Carrier Dome (I refuse to call it anything else) isn’t the hornet’s nest it used to be and I think Pitt leaves with the win and if not at least a cover of the +2.
Pick: Pittsburgh +2
As much as I loathe watching Virginia Tech play basketball, I’m actually very intrigued by this matchup. Both teams are looking to prove they belong in the ACC’s top half and both look to be in the mix for the tourney this year. I think Wake gets the job done at home, but am looking at the total here. While both play a fairly mid-tempo pace, neither is afraid of scoring. But I really like this profile from the Hokies. They’re taking 40% of their field goals from beyond the arc and hitting at a decent 33% clip. Add to that they’ve got a free throw rate of over 40% and shoot almost 80% once they’re there. As a road dog, I think that’s a recipe for some combined points.
Pick: Over 144.5
Queens Royals @ Duke Blue Devils
KP: Duke -27, O/U 159
Draftkings: Duke -27, O/U 158
Coming off giving up 109 points to Clemson a week ago, I can see the Royals giving up at least that or more against Duke. However, as much as the Blue Devils won’t mind scoring at will, it’s the defense that will rule the day for Duke in this one. Since Jon Scheyer became head coach Duke has become much more methodical on the defensive end forcing their opponents into long possessions. Duke will score close to their implied 90+, they’ll cover the number, but this game goes under because Queens will struggle to break 60.
Pick: Under 158
Season Total: ATS (0-0-0), O/U (0-0-0), Total (0-0-0)