(5) Utah Utes vs (1) Duke Blue Devils
I've been patiently waiting for a great spot for Duke during this March Madness tournament and tonight we will look to finish our NCAAB season on a high note! Our NCAAB #Exclusive will not only be the biggest wager I've made this year but also one that I would like to go into depth with you about. Before I go on a tangent of my thoughts on this game I wish all of you the best of luck.
Everyone already knew Duke would be the public chalk game no matter what spread or moneyline odds it would open with. That's the obvious. You know majority of my work has always been against the public but I cant stress how important sometimes it is to go with your gut. If I think the popular favorite is the right side, I will generally go ahead and invest in it.
First off, I'm not even sure how Utah made it this far in the first place? Sure, they have been very impressive during the regular season but narrowly escaping Stephen F Austin and somehow beating Georgetown where Utah was ironicly down by double digits during most of the 1st half but was somehow able to win the game where they went to the line 32 times making 23 of those freethrows. In my opinion, Georgetown seemed to gotten the short end of the stick as they had only 9 freethrow attempts in the entire game! Go figure.
Utah is considerably playing worse on the road. While scoring over 71.3 points a game overall, they have only averaged 62.4 points on 44.9% shooting away from home. If you dig even deeper you will notice when Utah is a 12.5 or less underdog you can see the their points drop to 56.2 points a game.
I can see how some of you can question Duke with some of their recent losses during the Conference tournaments but just simply glance over their whole portfolio and you will notice double digit wins against top seeded teams like Wisconsin (80-70), Louisville (63-52) and Michigan State (81-71)
Duke won't need much to stay motivated, when they are made favorite they perform even better, averaging 81.2 points on 50.5% shooting while only allowing 64.7 points a game. This is more an 9% gain in offense performance. Jahill Okafor will need to make his presence felt early just like he did when Duke raced out to a 15-4 advantage against the Cincinnati Bearcats. Look for him to have an agressive and balanced attack.
While Utah is no slouch on defense by any means, Cincinnati was ranked #3 defensively allowing only 53.9 points a game! Even with their best defensive Forwards/Centers Duke was still able to abuse them in the paint with Okafor and light them up shooting 43% behind the arc. Not only should that game show the huge difference in talent level we have in the NCAAB tournament but also show you Okafor might be playing for a huge contract in the NBA. I'm predicting he will be the #1 draft pick of next year. He is currently averaging 18.1 points a game on 67.7% shooting.