Kentucky Wildcats vs. Duke Blue Devils predictions 11/9/21

by | Nov 9, 2021 | cbb

Kentucky Wildcats (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. Duke Blue Devils (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)

When: Tuesday, November 9, 9:30 p.m.

Where: Madison Square Garden, New York

TV: ESPN

Point Spread: UK +1/DUKE -1 (MyBookie - Start your season off right with a 100% REAL CASH bonus on your first deposit of $50 to $300! Use bonus code PREDICT100 to receive this special bonus!)

Total: 148.5

Last Time Out:

Kentucky lost 74-73 to Mississippi State; Duke defeated Louisville 70-56.

About the Matchup:

Think Kansas and Michigan State were unhappy with how last season went? At least the Jayhawks and the Spartans were still playing after the conference tournament. Duke and Kentucky, on the other hand, completely crashed to their worst seasons in decades during COVID, as the Blue Devils and the Wildcats won a combined 22 games between them last season, and neither came close to the NCAAs. Duke could have competed in the NIT if it had wanted, but Kentucky couldn’t even get to that level, as the Wildcats were just 9-16 a year ago.

But these are the two one-and-done programs, both of whom should be back in the saddle in a more typical year. Both teams went out and rebuilt their rosters, and both are expected to look more like themselves this season. The question is, how much more like their glory days will these programs be after undergoing a total rebuild? These programs are used to fielding the youngest teams in the nation, but that didn’t work a season ago, so how will they react to getting this year off to a new start?

Scouting the Wildcats:

This might be the start of a new era for Kentucky, as the Wildcats hit the transfer portal fairly hard and came out with a new point guard in Sahvir Wheeler and a new big man in Oscar Tshiebwe. Whether that’s really addition or a case of subtraction by addition remains to be seen, as Tshiebwe caused more headaches for West Virginia than he did wins before coach Bob Huggins had seen enough.

If he can jell with Kentucky and Wheeler can get him the ball, the Wildcats will be in good shape. Wheeler did some great things at Georgia, but he also made a fair amount of mistakes and isn’t a good shooter. Kentucky has some good shooters in Kellan Grady and TyTy Washington, and how well Wheeler handles Duke’s defense will decide whether Kentucky is able to get a win here.

Scouting the Blue Devils:

Few teams in the country can match Duke inside now that the Blue Devils have Paulo Banchero and Mark Williams in the paint. Banchero is considered by many to be the next Zion Williamson, and as a potential No. 1 overall pick in next year’s NBA draft, expect him to dominate the headlines all season long. Duke was already a strong rebounding team before Banchero showed up in Durham, and the Blue Devils should be dominant on the glass this season.
The problem for the Blue Devils was that Duke’s defense was relatively poor, and that’s not really what we’re used to seeing from Mike Krzyzewski’s team. Odds are, he’s not going to allow another bad defensive effort in his final year on the job, so this unit should show some signs of improvement.

Kentucky will Cover If:

Wheeler is on the same page with the Wildcats’ shooters and doesn’t try to force the issue. Often, the team that loses in these Champions Classic games is the team that makes more mistakes with the basketball, and Kentucky’s starting a turnover-prone point guard who’s in his first game in a new offense. If it works out, the Wildcats will be in great shape, but if not, Kentucky will have a hard time staying with Duke.

Duke will Cover If:

The Blue Devils can get Tshiebwe into foul trouble early. The biggest knock on Tshiebwe at West Virginia was his tendency to pick up far too many fouls early and leave the Mountaineers in a tight spot. Duke already has the significant edge in the paint because of two bodies instead of one, so if Banchero and Williams can get Tshiebwe in foul trouble, they’d really be able to hammer away at Kentcky’s defense.

More Picks: Kansas vs. Michigan State Predictions

Dan’s Best Prop Bets

I can’t see this being a low-scoring game. These are kids who want to play fast and didn’t play good defense a year ago. This looks like it will get into the 80s, and if it does, the over will be a runaway winner. As long as Duke and Kentucky don’t struggle to shoot, the number is attainable.

Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread

Both teams struggled badly a year ago, but I think Duke has addressed its deficiencies better than Kentucky has. I don’t really love the strategy of going the transfer route to build your team, as there’s often an underlying reason why someone is in the portal. It worked for Fred Hoiberg at Iowa State with junior college graduates, but those were graduates, not transfers.
I like the strategy of going with freshmen better, and Duke has some talented returners to balance out the newcomers. Give me the Blue Devils here. Question: Did you know that you could be betting your basketball picks at -105 odds instead of -110? Imagine how much money you’d save if you were risking less to win the very same amount! Start betting smarter TODAY by making the switch to BetAnySports!