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Utah vs. Duke Sweet Sixteen best bets

Utah vs. Duke Best Bets - Sweet Sixteen March Madness#5 Utah Utes vs. #1 Duke Blue Devils preview

When: Friday, March 27th 2015 at 9:45pm ET
Where: NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas
Watch: CBS

DUKE have opened up as a small point spread favorite against Utah in the Sweet Sixteen of the 2015 NCAA basketball tournament.

Utah have done what most people expected by beating Stephen F. Austin (57-50) and Georgetown (75-64). The real test starts now against the #1 seeded Duke in the South region. Duke have dominated Robert Morris (85-56) and San Diego State (68-49).

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Latest betting lines for Utah vs. Duke in March Madness

The betting public are confident in Duke, as 79% of point spread bets and 88% of money line bets have been on them. When the public hammers one team that hard you have to tread carefully. Over 80% of the bets on the O/U have been on the over.

Starting line-ups

Duke Blue Devils:

Utah Utes:

Utes vs. Blue Devils stats pack

Both of these teams are strong offensively, but there is no doubt that the Blue Devils are better. The Utes don’t bring down many offensive rebounds, but that’s because they shoot 48.5% from the field (13th). Duke have shot 50.2% from the field (3rd).

It isn’t like Utah and Duke were playing easy opponents all season either. The Blue Devils played the 11th toughest SOS and the Utes played the 32nd toughest SOS. One edge the Utes have on offense is 3-point shooting, as they’re deadly from distance.

Utah makes 40.4% of their 3-pointers (7th), but Duke isn’t too far behind at 38.6% (30th). As long as the Blue Devils are able to keep pace with the Utes from 3-point distance they’ll cruise to a victory, as Utah have no one to stop Jahlil Okafor in the paint.

Okafor will be a one-and-done player at Duke, but in his freshman year he has averaged 18.1 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 1.4 APG and 1.4 BPG, while shooting 67.7% from the field. Okafor comes into this game averaging 23.5 PPG during March Madness.

Quinn Cook has been hot for the Blue Devils too, as he’s averaging 18.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG and 3.5 APG in the tourney. Jakob Poeltl has been the best Utes player in the tourney. Poeltl is averaging 15.0 PPG and 4.5 RPG, plus he’s 12 of 13 from the field.

Utah have been great on defense all season and they rank better than Duke in every major category except steals. Okafor has been unstoppable up to this point, but the Utes have excellent size and I expect them to be able to limit Okafor in the paint.

Poeltl and Dallin Bachynski are both listed at 7’0’’ and the Utes will ensure one of these two are always covering Okafor.

The Utes have a big defensive edge and I expect Utah to have no trouble scoring points. Duke only allowed 56 points against RMU, but they rank 133rd in PPG (69.0 PPG). Duke allowed just 49 points against SDSU, but they rank 305th in PPG (61.8 PPG).

It’ll be interesting to see if Duke can hold the Utes to under 60 points, but I don’t see that happening.

Utah Utes vs. Duke Blue Devils point spread picks

I won’t be betting on the Utes money line, but at +5 points I’ll take a shot on the spread. It wouldn’t surprise me in the last to see Utah win this game SU and advance to the Elite Eight for the first time 1998 – the year they lost to Kentucky in the finals.

The game plan is simple for the Utes – keep a big man on Okafor at all times and double him up in the paint once the basketball is thrown in to him. Cook has been playing great too for Duke, but other than him the rest of the team haven’t been overly impressive.

ScottThis article was written by Scott

Scott is one of the original degenerates working for MobileSportsBetting.com. Although he's most successful betting on NFL football and international soccer, he's also active in UFC and NHL hockey betting.

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