Duke Blue Devils vs. Army Black Knights Pick
Army Black Knights (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS) vs. Duke Blue Devils (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)
When: Sunday, November 11, 2018 – 8:00 PM ET
Where: Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, N.C.
TV: Fox Sports 2
By: Dan Jamison, College Basketball Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: ARMY +31/DUKE –31 (Bovada Sportsbook)
Total: O/U 155
Last Time Out: Army defeated Marist 73-69 on Tuesday. Duke routed Kentucky 118-84 on Tuesday.
Analyzing the Black Knights: Army leads with experience, and that comes from its guards, senior Jordan Fox and junior Tommy Funk. Both are three-year starters, and both have the ability to hit the 3-pointer on a regular basis. Fox certainly got going on Tuesday, going 4-for-7 in Tuesday’s from behind the arc.
Army’s other main weapon is senior forward Matt Wilson, a 6-foot-9 forward who serves as the tallest player on the Black Knights’ roster. Against Marist, the three players combined to score 53 of their team’s 73 points, which underscores just how important each of them are to Army’s success.
Analyzing the Blue Devils: Duke was supposed to be a fantastic team from the word go, and the Blue Devils showed themselves to be exactly that against Kentucky. Freshmen R.J. Barrett, Zion Williamson and Cam Reddish were simply unstoppable, combining for 83 points on their own in the dominating performance. Duke might be young, but they boast the most experienced coach in history in Mike Krzyzewski, so youth isn’t going to be as much of a factor for the Blue Devils. Krzyzewski has had freshmen-dominated teams in the past and has consistently gotten excellent results out of his young players during the regular season. If Tuesday was any indication, that’s going to be the case in the regular season and beyond in 2018-19.
X-Factor: Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke owns the longest non-conference home winning streak in the nation at 139 games (Arizona is second at 48), and many teams from smaller conferences are beaten before they step on the court in Durham. If Army isn’t ready to handle the Duke crowd, this is going to be an easy cover for the Blue Devils.
Army Will Cover if: The Blue Devils are still thinking about Kentucky when the game tips off. The gulf in talent is just too wide to expect Army to stay in the game for long unless overconfidence becomes a factor. Duke is a young team that hadn’t tasted success on the college level before Tuesday night, and there’s a chance that the Blue Devil freshmen might not have their minds on Army when the game begins. If that happens, the Black Knights will have a chance to stay within shouting distance.
TIRED OF YOUR CREDIT CARD NOT WORKING AT SPORTSBOOKS? IT WILL AT BOVADA + GET A 50% BONUS!
Duke Will Cover if: The Blue Devils play to their talent level. There’s no reason that Duke should have any trouble putting Army away, and Krzyzewski has shown little mercy when facing his alma mater. These contests between Army and Duke have traditionally been blowouts, with Krzyzewski inserting his walk-ons early in the second half after the game gets out of hand. After what the Blue Devils did to Kentucky, there’s a good chance this game will be over by halftime.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Mike Krzyzewski loves his alma mater, but that doesn’t mean he takes it easy on Army when he’s on the other bench. In six meetings between Army and Duke with Krzyzewski coaching the Blue Devils, Duke’s margin of victory has averaged 44 points, and 2014’s game marked the first time Army had even come within 20 points of Duke.
There’s nothing that suggests this time will be any different. Duke looked otherworldly against Kentucky, and while Army managed a win against Marist in its opener, beating the Red Foxes simply isn’t the same as blasting the Wildcats. Based on the history and talent of the teams, this game looks like it’s going to be another blowout.
Normally, one of the worst times to bet on a favorite is right after they’ve just put up a dominating performance, because recency bias tends to make people think a team is better than it is and allows Vegas to add a few extra points to the cover to take advantage of these thoughts. But that doesn’t appear to have happened this time. If anything, the odds might not be giving Duke enough credit. We’re talking about a team that just beat Kentucky, a top-5 squad in preseason, by 34 points on a neutral floor, and Vegas is only forcing you to lay 31 to back the Blue Devils against Army at Cameron, where Duke hasn’t lost a non-conference game in 18 years.
College Basketball Pick: Betting your sportsbook to cover 31 points is a tall order, but Duke isn’t an ordinary team. I just can’t find a reason to take Army here, so I’ll lay the large margin with the Blue Devils.