Duke Blue Devils at Virginia Cavaliers (-5, 131.5)
With the ACC race tightening at the top, every game carries added importance, and a big one is on tap Wednesday as No. 15 Virginia hosts No. 14 Duke. The Cavaliers and Blue Devils are tied for fourth in the conference standings – one game behind leader North Carolina and one-half game back of Louisville and Florida State in the crowded title chase.
The Blue Devils have won their last two road games as part of a five-game winning streak, and they’re starting to look like the team that was ranked No. 1 in the preseason before a rash of injuries led to some unexpected struggles. “It’s good for our group, because we had so much adversity early on. Now it’s February and it seems like everything’s coming together,” Duke forward Amile Jefferson told reporters. “All those things that happened to us earlier in the season have made us a stronger team.” Now it’s the Cavaliers who suddenly are slumping, having lost two of their last three ACC games and three of five overall. They’re looking to bounce back from an 80-78 double-overtime loss at rival Virginia Tech on Sunday and are eager to get back home after dropping three straight road contests.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, ESPN2
LINE HISTORY: Virginia opened as four-point home favorites and that number shot up, almost immediately, to -5. At a few books that number has begun to sneak back down to -4.5 as Duke money begins to arrive. The total hit the board at 131.5. Check out the complete line history here.
Duke – F Chase Jeter (Questionable, back), F Sean Obi (Out For Season, knee).
Virginia – F Jeff Jones (Out For Season, academics).
ABOUT DUKE (20-5 SU, 10-14 ATS, 10-13-1 O/U): The Blue Devils are beginning to show the potential that made them the preseason No. 1 team with a solid mix of veterans and dynamic freshmen. Sharpshooter Luke Kennard (20 points, 5.1 rebounds) leads the team in scoring and has hit 45.9 percent from 3-point range, while Grayson Allen (15.9, 4.4, four assists) has flourished in the primary point guard role. The emergence of freshman Jayson Tatum (15.6 points, seven rebounds) alongside Jefferson (11.3, 9.1) in the frontcourt has made the Blue Devils a more complete team and a matchup problem in the paint for most opponents.
ABOUT VIRGINIA (18-6 SU, 14-8 ATS, 8-13-1 O/U): The Cavaliers lead the nation in scoring defense, holding opponents to 55.1 points per game. Virginia doesn’t put up big offensive numbers as a result of its grinding style of play, but point guard London Perrantes (12.6 points, 3.9 assists) is the clear leader at that end of the floor and has upped his production to 15.7 points per game in ACC play. Backcourt mates Marial Shayok (9.7 points) and Devon Hall (8.5, 4.4 rebounds) also have averaged double digits in points during league play, and forward Isaiah Wilkins (7.6, 6.3) leads the team in rebounds, blocks and steals.
* Blue Devils are 2-8-1 ATS in their last 11 road games.
* Cavaliers are 8-0 ATS in their last 8 games as a home favorite of 0.5-6.5.
* Over is 5-0 in Blue Devils last 5 road games.
* Over is 4-1 in Cavaliers last 5 games as a home favorite of 0.5-6.5.
* Blue Devils are 1-5 ATS in the last 6 meetings.
Check out the complete list of hot and cold trends here.
COVERS CONSENSUS: 64 percent of Covers users are siding with the road underdog Duke Blue Devils and Over is picking up 71 percent of the totals wagers. Click here for complete consensus data.