Key Betting Trend Points to Duke Losing in Sweet 16 of 2019 NCAA Tournament

By Ian McCafferty
UCF v Duke
UCF v Duke / Kevin C. Cox

Cover Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

In a tournament that has been a bit light on upsets, the No. 1-seed Duke Blue Devils gave us arguably the best game of the bracket on Sunday. Duke narrowly defeated No. 9-seed UCF, 75-74, in an absolute nail-biter that ended when a putback shot from UCF just narrowly rolled off the rim just before the buzzer.

It was heartbreak for UCF and a massive sigh of relief for the tournament's top seed. But if Duke's history is to be trusted, that relief isn't going to stick around much longer in this year's tournament.

The Blue Devils were 26-point favorites in their first-round matchup with North Dakota State, but the Bison pushed Duke in the first half and the Blue Devils won by 23 points.

They were also 13-point favorites over UCF, despite their single-point survival at the buzzer. While they've managed to escape the upset scares so far, those aren't exactly awe-inspiring performances, particularly against UCF.

The last two times a Duke team failed to cover the spread in their first two games of the tournament, they also went on to lose in the Sweet 16. In 2000, the Blue Devils lost to Florida and then they lost to Michigan State in the Sweet 16 once again in 2005. Both of those opponents wound up making the Final Four in their respective year, with Florida getting all the way to the National Championship game in 2000.

So Virginia Tech certainly has history on its side as the Hokies look to pull off the upset against a team they've already beaten once this year. Given the success of the previous two teams in Virginia Tech's position, it certainly seems like a great omen for the Hokies as well.

We'll have to wait and see if Duke can break this trend come Friday, but after coming within a couple inches of losing to UCF in the second round, there's reason for concern.

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Ian McCafferty is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Ian McCafferty also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username itmccaff. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.