Duke vs Arkansas Betting Odds
Arkansas did the unthinkable in the Sweet Sixteen, taking down the vaunted Gonzaga Bulldogs in a gritty, six-point victory.
On the other hand, Duke has done what it’s always done. It won its 100th tournament game underneath Coach K by out-manning Texas Tech. A victory I did not see coming.
This game should shape up like a couple of raccoons scrapping in the garage. The Hogs will play physically and attempt to pick up every charge call possible. The Devils will rely on Paolo Banchero to make shots as he did in the Sweet Sixteen.
Who has the edge?
Duke Blue Devils Odds
Duke was efficient against Texas Tech, which is basically unheard of.
The Blue Devils attacked the rim on 19 possessions, scoring 1.37 PPP on those opportunities. They also took 16 catch-and-shoot 3s, scoring 1.18 PPP on those opportunities.
The defense didn’t play great, but it kept Texas Tech from dominating in any one particular area. That’s good enough against a mediocre offense.
Arkansas is not an efficient offense, but the Red Raiders don’t have a guard like JD Notae. That guy will attack Duke relentlessly, and the Blue Devils have to keep up.
That worries me because Duke likely won’t pressure Notae and the other Arkansas guards. The Blue Devils were sub-340 in both defensive turnover rate and defensive non-steal turnover rate.
But Duke is solid on the interior, behind rim protector Mark Williams. With him anchoring the Duke defense, it’ll be tough for Notae to drive downhill.
Arkansas Razorbacks Odds
The Hogs hang their hat on the defensive end, where they actually paced the SEC in defensive efficiency and eFG% allowed this season.
That defense showed up against the best offense in the nation. Gonzaga shot 44% from inside the arc and 24% from behind the arc. Chet Holmgren was rendered mostly moot, and the rest of the Gonzaga offense couldn’t crack the Hogs.
Arkansas will throw everything at Duke on the defensive end. It also helps that Arkansas is top-10 nationally in transition defense, which will hopefully neutralize Duke’s attempts to run the floor.
Offensively, again, Notae will be the guy. He wasn’t making anything against Gonzaga, but he took 29 shots anyway. Because the Hogs don’t have another offensive playmaker or creator. Notae also managed to dish out six assists, which helped his stat line slightly.
Duke vs Arkansas Prediction and Pick
The Hogs are 4-1 against the spread as an underdog this season. They’re also 8-2 against the spread in their last 10 games.
I’m ready to back them in this spot. Eric Musselman is the perfect coach to back when catching points.
This game will be gritty and likely low-scoring. Because Arkansas will make it low-scoring. That style of play always favors the underdog.
The one way that Duke can get past this number is by running the floor. But Arkansas can stop Duke from doing that, taking away the Blue Devils’ biggest source of offense.
This line is already starting to move, and I’m not willing to play the Hogs under +4. So grab this line as soon as possible.