Carrie Stroup here with the Duke vs. Virginia Tech line for February 2. The Blue Devils were listed as -5.5 favorites after opening at -4. Get the latest odds here and receive up to $250 in FREE CASH based on your initial deposit.
The UCLA Bruins vs. Washington Huskies betting preview appears below as well.
Sportsbook.com Line & Total: Duke -5.5 & 140.5
Opening Line & Total: Blue Devils -4 & 142.5
Not surprisingly, No. 7 Duke will head to Virginia Tech as favorites when the two teams continue ACC play on Thursday night.
This has been a down year for the Hokies who have struggled mightily against ACC foes. In the team’s past seven games – six of which were conference games – Virginia Tech is just 1-6 SU and ATS. They have struggled to win against the lines in particular at home this year, with a 2-5 ATS mark at Cassell Coliseum. Although the Blue Devils have been far from good a good bet this year (8-13 ATS, 2-4 ATS in the ACC), the Hokies are just too small to compete with Mason (12.0 PPG, 9.8 RPG) and brother Miles Plumlee in the paint, both of whom verge on being 7-foot tall. Dorian Finney-Smith and Jarell Eddie do the dirty work for Virginia Tech in the paint, but they stand at just 6-foot-8 and 6-foot-7, respectively, without much meat on their bones, as Finney-Smith weighs less than 200 pounds, and Eddie is just 209. Duke’s high-octane offense (80.3 PPG, 11th in nation) should easily be able to take advantage of their lack of size in the post.
Duke’s offense is still in search of its identity. Austin Rivers (14.1 PPG) is the team’s leading scorer, but only by a small margin as four other Blue Devils also add double-digit points. Mason Plumlee, Ryan Kelly (12.7 PPG), Seth Curry (12.2 PPG) and Andre Dawkins (10.2 PPG) round out the double-digit scoring crew. Dawkins, in particular, has come on strong lately, returning to the starting lineup after he had seen his minutes dwindle at times this season. The 6-foot-4 guard is averaging 15.2 PPG over the team’s past five contests, hitting 20 three-pointers in that span. If he can find separation, look for him to rain jumpers against the Hokies. Otherwise, Mason Plumlee, Kelly, and Miles Plumlee (6.7 PPG, 6.0 RPG) should have no problem controlling this game from the inside.
The Hokies are led by their veteran backcourt, junior Erick Green (15.9 PPG) and senior Dorenzo Hudson (11.9 PPG). Green also leads the team in passing with 3.2 APG and can pressure opposing guards well with a team-high 1.5 SPG. Down low, despite Eddie’s small frame, he has shown he can score with 9.9 PPG, forcing opposing forward to guard him on the outside where he knocks down 1.8 threes per game on an impressive 49% clip. He’ll have to do serious work on both ends of the floor to keep the Hokies competitive, as will Finney-Smith (7.2 RPG).
UCLA BRUINS (12-9) at WASHINGTON HUSKIES (14-7)
Sportsbook.com Line & Total: Washington -3 & 141
Opening Line & Total: Huskies -3.5 & 142.4
Washington seeks its fourth straight victory, and 10th win in a dozen games, when it hosts a Bruins team that is just 1-4 on the road in conference play on Thursday night.
Washington is playing great basketball lately, winning six of seven contests since a stinker at Colorado. The Huskies are 7-3 ATS as a home favorite this season and score 81.7 PPG on their home floor. UCLA has lost its past seven trips to Seattle, including five defeats by 10+ points. In last year’s meeting at Washington, Huskies guard C.J. Wilcox lit up the Bruins for 24 points, and he finally looks healthy after missing three games with a hip injury.
UCLA is coming off two straight blowout victories, beating Utah 76-49 and Colorado 77-60 on Saturday. In that win over the Buffs, Lazeric Jones had 17 points and nine assists to lead four players in double-figures. The offense dished out 26 assists on its 31 field goals and shot 60% from the floor, including 9-of-13 three-pointers. Jones leads the Bruins in points (13.4 PPG), assists (4.6 APG) and steals (1.9 SPG), but he did very little against Washington last year with five points on 1-of-7 shooting and four assists combined in the two meetings. The second and third leading scorers are twin brothers, Travis Wear (12.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG) and David Wear (10.0 PPG, 6.2 RPG). The two big men combined for 25 points (11-of-16 FG) and 10 rebounds in the win over Colorado.
Washington likes to get up and down the court with 76.7 PPG (31st in nation). The Huskies are also a superb rebounding team at 40.3 RPG (10th in nation). Three players average double-figure scoring, led by Tony Wroten (17.1 PPG). The freshman Wroten does it all at 6-foot-5, shooting 48% FG with 4.6 RPG, 3.3 APG and 2.0 SPG. However, his game still needs improving in the areas of three-point shooting (23%), free-throw shooting (55%) and turnovers (4.0 per game). Sophomore Terrence Ross has been the model of consistency, scoring at least 10 points in 20 of 21 games this season. He grabs 6.6 RPG and shoots a solid 38% from three-point range. Wilcox (14.8 PPG) is their most accurate weapon from downtown at 43% on threes, and Aziz N’Diaye mans the paint with 8.4 PPG, 8.1 RPG and 1.3 BPG.
- Carrie Stroup, Gambling911.com Senior Reporter