Take it or leave it? What should bettors take from Duke-Wisconsin first meeting


USA Today Sports

The Duke Blue Devils and Wisconsin Badgers battle for the NCAA tournament title Monday night, with oddsmakers opening this game at a pick’em and moving to Wisconsin -1 with early money on the Badgers.

This isn’t the first time college basketball bettors have sized up these two power programs, with Duke and Wisconsin doing battle back in December as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Blue Devils took an 80-70 victory in that game but how much should bettors look into that previous meeting – if at all – when handicapping Monday’s title game?

We ask some of Covers Experts’ sharpest college hoops cappers what you should “Take” and what you should “Leave” from the first meeting between Wisconsin and Duke:

Steve Merril

Take: “Duke out-rebounded Wisconsin 28-25, but the Badgers had an 8-3 edge on the offensive glass. Those offensive rebounds lead to second-chance points and in a game priced as a pick, the team that wins that battle will likely come out on top in this game.”

Leave: “The result of the first game. Duke and Wisconsin played way back in early December, and the teams are vastly different now. Traevon Jackson scored 25 points in 32 minutes for the Badgers, but he is just a role player now as he’s played just 28 total minutes in their five tournament games combined.”

Bryan Power

Take: “Both teams will still score plenty of points. Whether or not that means the Over hits remains up for debate. But these offenses are too good to both be held down.”

Leave: “The team’s respective shooting percentages from that first game.  Duke shot a preposterous 65.2 percent from the field in Madison on December 3 while Wisconsin shot only 40.7 percent. Look for those percentages to be a lot more even this go around.”

Nick Parsons

Take: “Rasheed Sulaimon scored 14 points for Duke but is no longer on the team, which also hurts Dukes depth off the bench. Traveon Jackson had 25 for Wisconsin but hasn’t played a lot because of a broken foot. Decker did not play well because of an ankle injury.”

Leave: “Everything. It was a game in early December and both teams have changed and gotten better. Also this is the National Championship Game, so what happened in the past doesn’t matter.”


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