Sports Bet Listings is 7-1 in NCAA tournament betting tips and now we’re taking on the NCAA tournament’s climax game. The Wisconsin Badgers and Duke Blue Devils will face each other on Easter Monday is a contest that is effectively even odds.
Wisconsin weren’t interested in following the script. They weren’t bothered by the fact that the Kentucky Wildcats were 38-0 and that retailers had already invested huge amounts of money in t-shirts and merchandise celebrating an undefeated season. They didn’t care that Kentucky had one of the deepest and best defensive teams in college basketball history.
The Badgers showed the other side of the NCAA tournament, the side that they fell victim to last season when Aaron Harrison’s buzzer beating three-point shot ended their hopes at the Final Four stage. This April it was Sam Dekker’s turn. It was Frank Kaminsky’s turn. An experienced team kept finding ways to score and kept finding ways to put Kentucky’s less convincing offense under pressure. In the final two minutes, spurred by a superb, clutch three-point shot from the red hot Dekker, Wisconsin finally broke the nation’s best team.
Now the Big Ten champion, possessing plenty of college basketball and NCAA tournament pedigree, will aim for their first NCAA tournament championship since 1941.
Bo Ryan’s team make their free throws, they’ve shot the 3-ball brilliantly in their last two games, they’ve got plenty of experience and they don’t allow teams to get to the foul-line very often. That’s a recipe for success.
Mike Krzyzewski is another recipe for success. His team was supposed to be too small this season and too reliant on Jahlil Okafor. Duke were supposed to be vulnerable against the upset. Instead, Okafor, Krzyzewski and this Blue Devils team have essentially cruised past Utah, Gonzaga and finally Michigan State in the Final Four. Is it as impressive as getting past North Carolina, Arizona and Kentucky? No, but it’s also fair to say that improved defensive play an ruthless offensive efficiency have helped Duke to make their opponents look far more ordinary than they actually are.
Besides Okafor, the decision to move Justise Winslow to the power forward spot has changed the dynamic of this Duke team. Under-sized at the position, Winslow makes up for it with tremendous competitiveness, defensive energy and an elusiveness that allows him to score both inside, as well as stretching defenses. Throw in Tyus Jones and Quinn Cook at the guard position and Duke’s versatility, speed and tenaciousness has been unmatchable so far in the tournament – even by a Tom Izzo led Spartans who normally relish that level of competitiveness.
Betting Preview: Wisconsin (-1) vs. Duke
Duke’s lack of depth isn’t likely to be a problem against Wisconsin, but their lack of size might be. They haven’t faced an opponent as balanced as the Badgers and Wisconsin is the first team that the Blue Devils have faced in the tournament who can really go end-to-end with them in terms of scoring. They won’t get many free throws (they’re not a good FT shooting team anyway) and they don’t have a lot of great defensive options to throw at either of Dekker or Kaminsky. We feel the point spread is actually being pretty generous to Duke and could see Wisconsin taking this game by close to the double digit mark.
The Pick: Wisconsin (-1) (www.betonline.ag)
Writer’s Record Against The Spread: 42-32