Thursday from Las Vegas - 59% last 68 CBB.
Sweet 16 Free Pick: Duke vs. Utah
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Let's get the obvious out of the way here. Duke will be public
chalk in this game and that's not something that thrills me from a
wagering standpoint. But while I'm one who prefers to go against
the grain when I can, if I think the popular favorite is the right
side, I'm generally going to go ahead and play it regardless.
Larry Krystkowiak has done a truly phenomenal coaching job at Utah.
He took over a program that has absolutely bottomed out and getting
the Utes to this level so rapidly is nothing short of incredible.
Make no mistake, there's nothing fluky about Utah. They're
balanced, they're big and they're legitimate.
However, I'm liking this Duke entry more and more. It really has
become a true addition by subtraction scenario for the Blue Devils.
Since Coach K decided to give Rasheed Sulaimon the boot, Duke has
become a better basketball team. They're 14-1 since his departure
and that record has been achieved against some very talented
My key for this game is not in the numbers. Fact is, I think I
could use the math to build a case for the underdog if I was
inclined to. My take is that Duke is playing such good offense
right now, I believe they can get good looks and cash in regularly,
even against a very tough Utah defense. If that happens, I don't
see Utah keeping pace for 40 minutes.
I'll also toss in the moment as a potential factor. I'm certainly
not going to say with any degree of certainty that Utah gets
overwhelmed by the pressure that comes with playing in the Sweet
16. But I think it's a possibility. Duke has been prepping for this
moment all season, and I will speculate that this could be an
advantage for the Blue Devils.
Is this as strong an opinion as a typical regular season game where
I can implement all kinds of variables? Nope. That's one of the
things that, at least for me, makes the post season less of a
certainty than the regular season. The numbers are razor sharp and
the spread is frequently a coin flip right to the finish. So yeah,
there's a grain of salt recommendation here. But I'm seeing Duke as
the winner here and while the line is surely no bargain, I prefer
the Blue Devils minus the points.