(29-5, 14-18-2 ATS)
Duke Blue Devils
(31-5, 20-13-2 ATS)
March Madness betting action was supposed to claim at least one of these teams in the first week of the tournament, but in a year where we have grown to expect the unexpected, the #1 and #4 seeds meet up in the Sweet 16 in the South Region on Friday night when the Purdue Boilermakers look to upset the Duke Blue Devils. Purdue has found ways to win close games in this tournament even without F Robbie Hummel. The Boilers took down #13 Siena 72-64 and #5 Texas A&M 63-61 in overtime. The Dookies haven’t had any such problems with close calls, as they trashed #16 Arkansas-Pine Bluff 73-44 and #8 California 68-53.
The man who stepped up and filled Hummel’s shoes last Sunday was F Chris Kramer, who scored 17 points and brought in seven boards for HC Matt Painter’s crew. Cramer only averaged 6.5 points per game this year, but he now has two straight double digit point efforts and has scored at least ten in four of his L/7 games, all of which have come without Hummel on the court. Defense has been critical for the Boilermakers of late, as 12 straight foes that have faced them in college basketball betting affairs have failed to reach 70 points.
The team that exemplifies defense in the tourney though is Duke. The Blue Devils are holding teams to just 61.0 points per game this season, and the opposition is only shooting 40.1 percent from the floor and 27.8 percent from downtown. The Blue Devils still haven’t even conceded 100 points yet in this tournament, which is making life a heck of a lot easier for G Nolan Smith and F Kyle Singler, who combined for 37 points in the ‘W’ against the Golden Bears. At some point though, G Jon Scheyer is going to have to step up and lead the way again for Coach K’s club. He averaged over 18 points per game this season, but he only has 20 total points scored in this tournament in spite of the fact that he has played all but eight minutes of action.
This is a hefty, hefty spread for the Blue Devils to cover. Duke is a team that is notorious for finding ways to win close games in March, and this one may not be an exception. Talent wise, this game is a lot closer than it looks on paper, even without factoring Hummel into the equation. The Boilers might not win it, but they’ll keep it close enough to stick in front of the number.
Selection: Purdue Boilermakers
The Boilermakers are a solid 7-3 ATS in their L/10 NCAA Tournament betting clashes as underdogs. You can find Purdue +8.5 and all of the other great college basketball betting lines right now at Bookmaker Sportsbook!