Florida State Seminoles vs. Duke Blue Devils Preview and Pick – Point Spread

Florida State Seminoles (15-4 SU, 4-10 ATS) vs. Duke Blue Devils (16-3 SU, 12-6 ATS), 9:00 p.m. EST, Wednesday, January 27, 2009, Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, N.C. TV: ESPN
by Ryno of Predictem.com

Point Spread: Florida State +14/Duke -14
Over/Under: 141

Winning at Cameron Indoor Stadium is not an easy task at all. In fact, it’s one of the toughest places in college basketball for a road team to win at. Florida State will try to be one of the rare teams to do so, as the Seminoles face the Duke Blue Devils on Wednesday night in an ACC battle.

Florida State has been one of the worst ATS teams in college basketball this season at 4-10 ATS, while Duke has been one of the best ATS with a 12-6 ATS record. The Seminoles are 1-4 ATS on the road and 2-3 ATS as an underdog, while the Blue Devils are 10-3 ATS at home and 11-6 ATS as a favorite. This should raise a red flag in the mind of the astute college basketball bettor. You better believe this line is going to be inflated and no matter how bad FSU is, they should be considered an option to bet on tonight.

Duke has been great at home but not very good on the road. Luckily for the Blue Devils, this game is at home, so their 1-3 road record is irrelevant. In ACC play, they have defeated Wake Forest, Boston College and Clemson twice. Their two ACC losses have come to Georgia Tech and NC State.

After their 88-74 win at NC State last Wednesday, the Blue Devils bounced back with their first road win of the season, a 60-47 victory at Clemson. Nolan Smith scored 22 points, Jon Scheyer had 11 points, and Kyle Singler had 12. But Lance Thomas really stepped up with 13 points and seven rebounds. If Duke is going to make a deep run in the NCAA tournament, it needs its big men - Thomas, Brian Zoubek, Mason Plumlee and Miles Plumlee - to step up and have consistent performances like Thomas had against Clemson.

Florida State is 3-2 in the ACC after earning two victories over Georgia Tech. The Seminoles’ other conference win came over Virginia Tech, while the two losses came to Maryland NC State. The Seminoles have won two games in a row over Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech.

In their 68-66 win at home over Georgia Tech on Sunday, 7-footer Solomon Alabi made two free throws with 22 seconds left to win the game for the Seminoles. Alabi finished with 14 points and seven rebounds. Chris Singleton scored a game-high 23 points and Deividas Dulkys added 11. The Seminoles shot just 4-of-19 from 3-point range, missed 11 free throws, and committed 18 turnovers, but they forced Georgia Tech into 20 turnovers and the Yellow Jackets also missed 11 free throws.

Duke’s biggest edges in this game are in 3-point shooting and rebounding. The Blue Devils are shooting 38 percent this season on 3-pointers, but they are struggling in conference play at just 26.8 percent. They are holding their opponents to 28.3 percent from beyond the arc for the season and 26 percent in conference play. Florida State is shooting 34.3 percent on 3-pointers for the season and 27.3 percent in conference play. FSU’s opponents are shooting 32.5 percent on 3-pointers for the season but are shooting 43.1 percent in ACC play. Duke is out-rebounding its opponents by about six boards per game for the season and in conference play, while FSU is getting out-rebounded in conference play. Florida State is forcing about 17 turnovers per game, so the Seminoles will have to rely on strong defense and trying to get some steals for easy fast break baskets.

The Seminoles are 17-8-1 ATS in their last 26 games as an underdog, 2-5 ATS in their last seven road games, 1-4 ATS in their last five games as a road underdog, 1-6 ATS in their last seven games following an ATS loss, and 0-4 ATS in their last four games overall. Duke is 4-0 ATS in their last four home games and 6-2 ATS in their last eight games as a favorite. The under is 10-3 in the last 13 meetings between these teams. The underdog is 9-3 in the last 12 meetings between Duke and FSU. The Seminoles are 5-1 ATS in their last six games at Duke and 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games overall against Duke.

Ryno’s Pick: Florida State has played well against Duke lately, as evidenced by its 5-1 ATS record in its last six games against the Blue Devils. Duke won all three games against FSU last season but each of them was by 10 points or less. But it’s tough to bet against Duke at home, as it’s highly unlikely the Blue Devils will actually lose at Cameron Indoor, so there isn’t much value. Both of these teams are struggling offensively, as both teams are shooting less than 30 percent from beyond the arc in ACC play. The total has gone under in 10 of the last 13 meetings between these teams and it will once again be a low-scoring defensive battle. Take the under 141 and consider putting some lunch money on FSU as well.