Duke vs Virginia: Betting Odds, Picks, and Predictions (2/23/22)

Duke vs Virginia Betting Odds

This should be fun.

Only 16 days after Virginia embarrassed Duke in Durham, the Blue Devils will travel to Charlottesville searching for revenge and redemption.

After a pathetic start to the season, Tony Bennett is making his classic late-season run. The Cavs have won four of their last five games, taking down Miami twice alongside the win over Duke.

This has put Virginia in position to be in position. It seems impossible, but there is a road map for Virginia to make the tournament again.

It starts tonight with picking up a season sweep of Duke.

Duke Blue Devils Odds

Coach K has been so dominant over the years, you don’t hear much about the Blue Devils – except for the embarrassing losses.

Duke continues to truck along, sitting at 23-4 on the season and in line for a two-seed in the tournament.

Duke is also back atop the ACC standings, at 13-4, after a season-long hiatus.

However, there are plenty of reasons to not be confident in this team.

Firstly, the ACC is weaker than it has been in years. Honestly, this should be a one-bid conference. And Duke hasn’t exactly looked dominant in their opportunities.

At this point, Gonzaga running train on the WCC is more impressive than what Duke is doing to the ACC right now.

Secondly, Duke hasn’t passed the eye test at points this season. The team often lets its foot off the gas, and it’s suffered losses to Miami, Florida State, and Virginia because of it.

The metrics are solid, and Duke has an absolute stud as its alpha dog in Paolo Banchero. But I’m not sold on the Blue Devils yet.

Virginia Cavaliers Odds

This is your typical Virginia team.

The Cavaliers play at the slowest tempo of any team nationally and the pack-line attempts to suffocate you – specifically on the interior.

However, the metrics don’t really show how talented this team can be.

Virginia is rather average in every defensive metric except for blocked shots. The Cavaliers are first in the conference and 15th nationally in block rate, as the center rotation of 6-foot-11 Kadin Shedrick and 7-foot-1 Francisco Caffaro protect the rim effectively.

Meanwhile, it’s hard to find a better defensive backcourt than Kihei Clark and Reece Beekman. But again, the numbers don’t really reflect that.

But the team is starting to come together on the defensive end. Virginia’s season-long adjusted defensive efficiency mark is just 98.6, but it’s held four of its last five opponents under a 91 adjusted offensive efficiency mark. Predictably, that has led to wins.

The one area where Virginia struggles is against transition offenses. If you can run on the Cavaliers and score before they get the pack-line set, you will yield results. The Cavaliers rank below the 25th percentile in transition points per possession allowed.

However, that rarely happens. The Cavaliers control the pace so well, that they allow the fourth-fewest transition opportunities nationally.

Offensively, Jayden Gardner is really breaking out. Gardner has scored at least 17 points in seven straight contests, playing mostly as a small-ball four who hits over 52% of its 2-point attempts and over 82% of its free-throw attempts.

Duke vs Virginia Prediction and Pick

My pick: Virginia +4.5 (-105 at PointsBet)

Even with revenge on the side of the Blue Devils, it’s too hard to pass up Virginia as a home dog. Coach Bennett is 33-16 against the spread in conference play since the Cavs joined the ACC. He’s also 93-71-1 against the spread when coaching in John Paul Jones Arena.

Given how Virginia forces such a slow pace, grabbing over four points as a home dog is enough points to feel confident.

Last game, Bennett coached circles around Coach K. While I’d expect adjustments from the Blue Devils, I still think it won’t be enough for a blowout.

This line is starting to move towards Virginia, so I’d play the Cavs at anything better than +4.

Tanner joined Lineups to cover everything, but he has vast experience in, and unlimited passion for, Major League Baseball and NCAA Basketball. He’s a McGill University grad and former (Canadian) Division-I alpine ski racer who now spends his time drinking beer and betting home underdogs. Patrick Mahomes is a poor man’s Tom Brady.

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