Duke vs. Virginia Odds & Picks 2/23/22
Duke Blue Devils (23-4 SU, 15-10-2 ATS) vs. Virginia Cavaliers (17-10, 13-13-1 ATS)
When: Wednesday, February 23, 7 p.m.
Where: John Paul Jones Arena, Charlottesville, Va.
Point Spread: DUKE -4/UVA +4 (SportsBetting.ag – Beautiful Website!)
Moneyline: DUKE -180/UVA +155
Last Time Out:
Duke hammered Florida State 88-70; Virginia beat Miami 74-71.
About the Matchup:
With three games to play in the regular season, Virginia has itself in a prime position to make it into the NCAA tournament as one of the last teams in the field and someone nobody wants to see in the first round. Given how different Virginia is from the typical high-major team, the Cavaliers are the rare team that’s actually better off as a lower seed because it can really make life difficult for a fellow power conference team if it can get there.
Where Virginia struggles with making life difficult for teams comes when they play lower-level teams who are just fine with waiting for a shot. They also struggle with making life difficult for Duke, which is the one school in the ACC (and really at the Power 6 level) that seems to have absolutely no problem with the Cavaliers’ pack-line defense. Yet the Cavaliers picked off the Blue Devils in Durham earlier this year, in large part because the Blue Devils didn’t get serious enough about Virginia’s threat, left the door open for the Cavaliers, and watched Virginia drill a 3-pointer to close the game out.
Another win here would be huge for the Cavaliers if Duke hasn’t learned from its mistake. But the Cavaliers haven’t won consecutive games against the Blue Devils since 1996, and the last time Virginia swept Duke in a season with Mike Krzyzewski on the bench was 1993.
Scouting the Cavaliers:
For the most part, Tony Bennett has a disciplined team that knows what it needs to do to be successful. There’s one aspect where the Cavaliers seem to lose their minds: the 3-point arc. Despite the fact that Virginia can’t shoot and can’t rebound, the Cavaliers keep jacking up 3-point shots and watching good scoring opportunities pass them by. Virginia shot 5-for-16 from deep against Miami last time out, and that was the Cavaliers’ best number in their past four contests.
Virginia is at its best when it takes the time to get the ball inside, waits for the right opening, and takes its shot. That’s what it did for the most part against Duke, as the Cavaliers scored 69 points that night despite going 2-for-12 from behind the arc. Virginia doesn’t rebound the ball well either, so the Cavaliers are going to have to either draw the ball away from Duke’s power inside or get at least one of the Blue Devil big men in foul trouble.
Scouting the Blue Devils:
In the loss to Virginia, there was a strong sense that Duke was merely toying with Virginia, letting the Cavaliers hang around and not taking them all that seriously. Duke found out the hard way that Virginia didn’t buy into its aura of invincibility, and when the Blue Devils squandered their edge, the Cavaliers took full advantage.
The question now is whether Duke has learned from that first game and will be ready to actually play at the proper pace to take control from the opening tip here. Duke looked very good in blitzing Florida State the last time it took the court, and the Blue Devils didn’t even need Paolo Banchero and Mark Williams to dominate on the glass for them to dominate the Seminoles on the glass. Banchero and Williams combined for 14 rebounds, and Duke won the battle on the boards by 38-21.
The one area of concern for the Blue Devils here is whether they can keep up the pace they showed against Florida State. Virginia isn’t likely to allow them 62 looks at the hoop, so Duke needs to be ready to play a slower-paced game than it faced the last time it took the floor. The Blue Devils have handled it just fine in the past against Virginia, and they need to be ready to go here.
Virginia will Cover If: The Cavaliers stop screwing around with the 3-pointer and actually take good shots. Virginia shot 54.7% from inside the arc in Cameron, and if the Cavaliers can take what the Blue Devils are willing to give them, they’ll have an excellent shot to steal the win.
Duke will Cover If: The Blue Devils stop turning over the basketball. In the last meeting, Duke had 15 turnovers compared to just five for Virginia. The Cavaliers aren’t going to beat themselves, which means Duke has to do the same thing. If the Blue Devils make too many mistakes with the ball, they’re in trouble.
Dan’s Best Prop Bets
With how these teams have scored the ball when they’ve faced each other, the over seems to be the play. Duke is not bothered by Virginia’s defense, and Virginia seems to understand it has to step up the speed against the Blue Devils. Backing the over makes a lot of sense here.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
Virginia is desperate to get another win here, but Duke should be more focused this time around. Duke has won three of its past four trips to Charlottesville and covered the number each time, and I like the Blue Devils’ chances here. Give me Duke. Bet your Duke/Virginia pick and ALL your college hoops predictions for FREE this week by taking advantage of a100% REAL CASH bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $1000 at BetNow Sportsbook!
125% Cash up to $400 w/Bonus Code: PREDICTEM