Duke Blue Devils vs #8 Virginia Cavaliers (2/11 @ 4:00 PM EST)
Spread: Virginia -5.5
Money Line: Virginia -250/Duke +210
Overview and Betting Info
The Duke Blue Devils (17-7) will head to Charlottesville to take on the #8 Virginia Cavaliers (18-4) in a battle of ACC rivals. Saturday will mark the first time these teams have met this season. Virginia leads the ACC, while Duke is just two games back in sixth place.
Duke is 9-15 against the spread this season and has only covered two of their last ten games. They have gone over the total eight times but have been under in seven of their previous ten.
Virginia is 9-12-1 versus the spread and has covered five of their last six games. They have gone over the total 12 times, doing so in four of their previous six.
Duke Blue Devils
After starting strong at 10-2, Duke has gone 7-4 to drop them to sixth in the ACC. They are coming off a blowout loss to Miami on Monday and will need a win to stay in the hunt for the ACC title. Their offense has struggled, ranking ninth in scoring (71.9 PPG), twelfth in field goal (43.7%) and three-point percentage (32.3%). They do rebound and pass the ball well, ranking second in rebounds (38.2 RPG) and fifth in assists (14.5 APG). Their defense has been great, ranking second in the ACC in opponent scoring (64.1 PPG) and third in blocks (4.8 BPG). Duke has won four of their last five games against Virginia, two of which came on the road.
The Blue Devils are led by Kyle Filipowski (15.5 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 1.3 SPG) and Jeremy Roach (12.5 PPG, 1.0 SPG). Filipowski had an incredible January but has slowed down over their last three games. The freshman center has been an astonishing defender, with six blocks and seven steals over their previous four games. Roach is a streaky scorer but is one of the Devil’s top three-point threats (34.5%). He has been consistent, averaging 17 points over his last three games. He’s coming off one of his worst games of the year, with just ten points and five turnovers against Miami. He’ll need to bounce back to give Duke a chance on Saturday.
Duke’s top stars are supported by Mark Mitchell (8.8 PPG, 4.3 RPG) and Tyrese Proctor (8.7 PPG). Mitchell is one of their best shooters from the field, making 46.4% of his attempts. Proctor leads the team in three-point attempts but makes just 28.3%. He’s been scoring better recently, averaging 11.2 points over his last eight games. Keep an eye on Dereck Lively II (4.7 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 2.4 BPG), as the center is second in the ACC in blocks.
The Cavaliers come into Saturday having won eight of their last nine games. The lone loss came on the road against their rival Virginia Tech. Virginia bounced back this week by clobbering #22 NC State on Tuesday. Despite their rankings and impressive record, their offense has struggled to produce. They rank twelfth in scoring (70.0 PPG), thirteenth in rebounds (30.9), and sixth in field goal percentage (45.7%). While they haven’t scored as much, they lead the conference in three-point shootings (38.0%). Their defense is among the best in the country, ranking tenth in opponent scoring (60.4 PPG). They are an aggressive unit, ranking fourth in steals (6.7 SPG) and fifth in blocks (4.4 BPG). Virginia has gone 11-1 at home this season, with the one loss coming to #2 Houston.
The Cavaliers are led by Armaan Franklin (12.2 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 1.0 SPG), Jayden Gardner (11.5 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 1.0 SPG), Kihei Clark (11.4 PPG, 6.0 APG, 1.2 SPG), and Reece Beekman (10.2 PPG, 5.0 APG, 1.3 SPG). While Franklin has led the team in scoring, he’s struggled offensively of late by averaging just 6.7 points over his last three games. He is coming off a game against NC State, where he went 0-5 from the field for a total of two points. It’s a disturbing trend that will need to be ended this weekend. Gardner has been on fire over his last four games, averaging 24.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 1.5 steals. He hasn’t made a three this season, but he’s making 51.8% of his shots from the field. Clark is their biggest deep threat (39.4% 3PT) and an excellent passer ranking second in the ACC in assists. Beekman is third in assists and is a solid scorer. He is coming off one of his best games with 15 points and three steals while making 54.5% of his shots.
Forwards Ben Vander Plas (7.2 PPG, 4.4 RPG) and Kadin Shedrick (7.1 PPG, 1.4 BPG) have supported Vigrinia’s top stars well this season. Plas has struggled to score of late, averaging just 3.2 points over his last four games. Plas makes his presence felt with rebounds and assists even when he doesn’t score. Shedrick has just 16 points over his previous six games, but it’s not from poor shooting. The junior has made 68.8% of his shots from the field this season. Guard Ryan Dunn (2.8 PPG, 1.1 BPG) should also play a key defensive role and add some steals and blocks.
Free Pick: Virginia -5.5
We see Virginia’s elite defense dominating a Duke team that has struggled to score all season, leading to an easy win at home. This is even more likely with Filipowski struggling to score, limiting Duke’s options on offense. The Cavs have five players averaging at least one steal per game, which will play a significant factor this weekend.
While Duke’s defense is sold, Virginia’s top scorers have been hot and should continue that on Saturday. Look for the Blue Devil defense to dominate the paint, but with Virginia’s guards, that shouldn’t throw off their offense.
With the homecourt advantage, we think the Cavaliers will win by at least ten points on Saturday.
We’re giving up the points to roll with Virginia this weekend.