College Basketball Betting: Can Virginia Hang at Duke?

Aidan Cotter
Aidan CotterAidanCotterFD
College Basketball Betting: Can Virginia Hang at Duke?

The Virginia Cavaliers travel to Durham, North Carolina to take on the No. 10 Duke Blue Devils. In a matchup between the Atlantic Coast Conference's second- and third-best teams, Cameroon Indoor Stadium is the place to be on Saturday evening.

Below are the betting odds for Virginia-Duke, followed by a breakdown of the matchup and a best bet.

All NCAA basketball odds via FanDuel Sportsbook.

Virginia-Duke Betting Odds

Betting Odds: Spread, Moneyline and Total

Tipoff: Saturday (Mar. 2), 6:00 p.m. ET on ESPN

Spread: Duke -8.5 (-112)


Total: 125.5 (-110/-110)

Virginia at Duke Matchup Analysis

Saturday will be the first (and only) regular season matchup between these ACC powers, though they'd be on track to square off in the ACC Tournament if the standings hold. Entering the weekend, Duke sits at 13-4, second in the ACC. Virginia is right behind them in third place with a 12-6 record.

The Blue Devils have been dominant at home, winning 14 of 16 games overall. On the other side, Virginia hasn't been at their best on the road, going just 5-5.

In conference play, Duke boasts the ACC's third-best scoring offense (77.8 points per game) and scoring defense (68.2). They lead the conference in three-point field goal percentage (40%) and effective field goal percentage (55%). The Blue Devils rank second in total rebound rate (54%) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4). Simply put, there aren't many holes on this roster.

One look at Duke's roster explains their strong metrics. All five Duke starters average double-digit points per game, led by Preseason ACC Player of the Year Kyle Filipowski (16.6 PPG). However, it's their backcourt that's carried the load of late. Over their last five games, Jared McCain has led the way with 17.6 points per game, followed by Jeremy Roach (16.0).

The Blue Devils have a number of high-profile wins, taking down Michigan State, Baylor, Clemson, and Wake Forest. Road losses to Arkansas and Georgia Tech are the only stain on their otherwise stellar resume.

Virginia isn't as well-rounded as Duke, relying first and foremost on their elite defense. Virginia boasts the top scoring D in the ACC, allowing just 61.7 points per game in conference play. They've held ACC opponents to a 49% effective field goal percentage and boast a 14.8% forced turnover rate -- both top-four marks in the conference.

Offensively, the Cavaliers love to slow things down and move the ball. They play at the ACC's slowest pace but lead the conference in assist rate (61%). Still, their offense leaves a lot to be desired, even adjusted for the slow pace. Virginia averages 101.3 points per 100 possessions, fourth-lowest in the conference.

Virginia relies on the backcourt for the bulk of their offense. Senior Reece Beekman leads the team with 13.9 points and 5.9 assists per game, followed by sharpshooter Isaac McKneely (12.3 points; 2.4 threes per game).

Though Virginia is just 1-2 against Top 25 teams this season, they've proved capable of playing with top-flight competition. The Cavaliers defeated Florida and Texas A&M in non-conference play, and they have key ACC wins over Clemson and Wake Forest.

Virginia at Duke Best Bet

Given Virginia's offensive woes, it's hard to trust the Cavaliers to keep it close here. They've been held under 50 points in three of their last five games and just don't have the firepower to hang with Duke's lethal offense. They did hold North Carolina to 54 points last weekend but somehow still lost by 10. Duke has proven capable enough on defense to overcome Virginia's stout defense.

I'll take Duke -8.5 here. Considering Virginia's anemic offense, I'd lean Under 125.5 if you wanted to play the total, but betting Duke to cover the spread is the only way I envision myself wagering on this one.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.