- Duke is a 7-point favorite over Louisville on Saturday
- Louisville was 1-5 straight up and ATS in Chris Mack’s last six games
- Read below for analysis and a betting prediction
No. 9 Duke (16-3, 6-2 ACC) is a 7-point road favorite at Louisville in an Atlantic Coast Conference game on ESPN, the first of a three-game road trip. The Blue Devils survived a scare the last time out, a 71-69 home victory over Clemson.
Louisville (11-9, 5-5 ACC) will play its first game under interim coach Mike Pegues, who have lost two in a row and four of five. The line dropped dramatically immediately after it was posted, after the Blue Devils opened as an 8.5-point favorite.
Duke vs Louisville
|Duke Blue Devils||-285||-7 (-106)||Over 140.5 (-110)|
|Louisville Cardinals||+230||+7 (-114)||Under 140.5 (-110)|
Odds from FanDuel on Jan. 29
Duke is a 7-point road favorite against Louisville, with the total set at 140.5, the third-lowest the Blue Devils have seen and the lowest they have seen on the road this season. Duke is listed at -285 on the moneyline, which means the Blue Devils have a 74% implied win probability. Louisville’s +230 moneyline figure gives the Cardinals a 30.3% implied win probability.
Duke Loaded with NBA Talent
Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s last team may be his best in terms of next-level college basketball talent. Freshman 6’10 Paolo Banchero is a consensus choice to be selected in the top five in the 2022 NBA in current mock drafts, and four other Blue Devils are projected to be first-round selections.
Freshman guard 6’4 Trevor Keels, sophomore center 7’0 Mark Williams, freshman wing 6’6 A.J. Griffin and junior wing 6’5 Wendell Moore are the other potential first-rounders. All were top 25 recruits out of high school.
Banchero leads the Blue Devils in scoring (17.9) and rebounding (7.9), and he is Krzyzewski’s go-to guy in clutch spots. Banchero scored the final two Duke baskets in a 71-69 victory over Clemson on Tuesday, and on a play called for him made a bank shot down low with 13 seconds remaining for a 71-67 lead.
Moore (15.1 points 5.6 rebonds), Keels (11.9 points) and Williams (9.9 points, 6.8 rebounds) are the other main offensive threats. Keels started the first 17 games but has missed the last two games with a right calf injury suffered in the second half of a 79-78 loss at Florida State on Jan. 18. His return is “up in the air,” according to a member of the Duke coaching staff Thursday.
Griffin, meanwhile, appears to be back in form after a sprained knee suffered in preseason affected his mobility early. He had a season-high 22 points in his first career start, a 76-64 victory over Wake Forest on Jan. 12, and has started the last five, averaging 10.6 points and 3.6 rebounds.
Keels moved to point guard when Griffin entered the starting lineup, although former point starter Jeremy Roach returned to start the last two with Keels out. Roach has 14 points, 18 assists and two turnovers 68 minutes in those two, He played the entire 40 against Clemson.
Jeremy Roach has been cutting defenses up with his passing. All nine of his assists against Clemson: (camera misses the pass on one of them) pic.twitter.com/GfhJwLWKJN
— BlueDevilStop (@BlueDevilStop) January 27, 2022
Williams leads the ACC and is seventh in Division I with 3.26 blocked shots per game. He has made 24 of 30 field goal attempts in the last four games. He had 23 points and 19 rebounds in the 70-56 victory over Louisville in the ACC tournament last year.
Duke vs Louisville Head-to-Head Results
Louisville has won three of the last four straight up and ATS. The Cardinals won and covered both regular-season meetings in 2020-21 but was beaten by 10th-seeded Duke in the second round of the ACC tournament, a loss that likely eliminated them from the NCAA tournament.
The Cardinals are 3-2 at home, 3-1-1 ATS against the Blue Devils joining the ACC in 2014. The last two meetings at the Yum Center have gone under the total.
Louisville is 6-13-1 ATS this season, one of the worst marks in Division I and a 31.6 percent cover rate and are 3-8 ATS at home, an even lower rate. This will be their first start as a home underdog. They are 0-1 against ranked teams, falling at Michigan State 73-64 on Dec. 1.
Duke is 10-7-2 ATS, 2-1 in their only three true road games. The Blue Devils have won four of their last five straight up, 3-2 ATS, but are 3-4 ATS in their last seven.
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Louisville Starts Over
After opening the ACC season 4-0, Louisville has beaten only Boston College in its last six games, a slump that forced out coach Chris Mack, whose rocky year included a season-opening six-game suspension for failing to follow school policy in handling former assistant coach Dina Gaudio’s extortion attempt.
Malik Williams asked about Chris Mack: “The way he went out – he was a man about it. . . . I think he’s a great coach and a great guy. I know we didn’t always see eye-to-eye this year, but he’s a great guy. I will always have his back and he will always have a friend in me.”
— Jody Demling (@jdemling) January 28, 2022
Assistant coach Mike Pegues, who led the team while Mack was under suspension, took over Wednesday. The Cardinals have beaten only one ACC first-division team, Wake Forest, in a 73-69 win at home as a 4-point favorite.
Malik Williams (10.0 points, 8.5 rebounds) and Noah Locke (10.2 points) are the Cardinals’ only double-digit scorers. Mack tried to run a more up-tempo offense this season that never took. They are shooting 42.2 percent from the floor, 32.0 from distance.
Duke vs Louisville Prediction
Duke is the only national championship contender in the ACC. Louisville is in disarray. The tendency to believe a coaching change can spark a team to be more than it has been is more myth than realty. The Cardinals’ home success against Duke has no relevance here. Duke is the play, even at the inflated number.
The pick: Duke -7 (-106)
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