Will Duke Be Overrated in ACC

Tony Salinas: Will Duke Be Overrated in ACC?

As Duke heads into a big TV game tonight against Virginia in ACC play, it's time once again to ponder how much Duke will or won't be overrated by Vegas oddsmakers. Generally speaking, you're GETTING THE BEST OF IT by fading Duke over the long haul. The public loves betting Duke, which can create some air in the numbers. Unfortunately...

  • The public hasn't been betting college basketball as much in the down economy until March Madness. If the public betting action is down, there's no need to inflate the favorites against the public! (By the way, there are some very good signs here in Vegas that the economy is turning around, just ask the cab drivers.)

  • Many Wise Guys have been jumping in against Duke in recent years anyway, taking away much of the value. You used to get about 8-5 the best of it by fading Duke or the other major programs every time they took the floor. Much of that edge has disappeared.

Yet, here we are in mid-January with the Duke Blue Devils sitting at 6-9 ATS, just 40% winners and 60% losers for the season. They sure look overrated to me!

  • Duke went 6-8 ATS in pre-conference play, including a bad loss to Temple as 7.5-point favorites in a game you may have watched on TV. They played very soft defensively in that game in the paint, and didn't get the foul calls they normally receive from friendly refs.

  • Duke started off ACC play with a tight win over Georgia Tech. The final score of 81-74 was a bit misleading because Duke pulled away at the end. They couldn't get to the very high spread of -11.5 though. Once again inside defense wasn't very good. This time, the refs helped the Blue Devils out, as Duke was +17 in makes and attempts from the charity stripe...in a game that was very close with a few minutes to go.

I'm very interested to see how Duke handles Virginia Thursday Night. If you haven't been following college basketball until recently, you may not know that Virginia is actually pretty good this year! They're not as good as their current 14-1 straight up record. That's mostly because of an easy schedule. But, they are getting respect from the basketball computers. And, they're only +11 tonight at Cameron Indoor. The last time they played on this court a year ago, Duke was -21!

You regulars know I prefer betting underdogs, particularly when taking free points against big name opponents. I'll have to decide by post time if a bet against Duke still represents value. A market move of 10 points from one year to the next can be a warning sign that things have moved too much. That's something you learn by betting the baskets year after year...for about 40 years.

Maybe Virginia really is an up-and-comer we need to keep our eyes on in the ACC. And, maybe Duke has taken a step back from last season. The computers seem to think so. I can tell you this. With so few good teams in the ACC this year (it could be that only North Carolina, Duke, and Virginia make the Big Dance) tonight's Virginia-Duke game is going to be one of the few "must-see" games in that conference all season.

I'll be watching it on the big screen TV's here in town at my favorite sportsbook. I suggest you pay close attention even if you don't end up playing the game. Oddsmakers have been out of synch with both of these teams in terms of game lines and totals:

Virginia is 7-3 ATS (70% winners)
Duke is 6-9 ATS (60% losers)
Virginia is 1-9 to the Under (90% Unders)
Duke is 10-5 to the Over (67% Overs)

With the totals, these teams are really going to have some extremes when they line up against opponents who play similar tempos. In some years, the totals are just free money. You like free money don't you?!

That's what Las Vegas is all about. Finding edges at the sportsbooks, at the poker tables, and even at the blackjack tables if you know the right strategies. I moved to Vegas from my home state of Texas many years ago. I've made my living as a high roller ever since. Soon, YOU can be a high roller if you learn how to bet like me. The first step is to sign up for my personal service right here at the website. Try out some game day releases with your credit card at a very affordable price. If you have any questions about my program, call my office at 1-888-536-8880.

Basketball's schedule is very crowded right now with the colleges and the NBA. And we have four big NFL playoff games coming up Saturday and Sunday. Stop taking the worst of it every day by playing your own picks and hoping for the best. Start GETTING THE BEST OF IT with TONY SALINAS!


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