College Basketball Betting Picks: Kansas vs. Duke

The 2019-20 college basketball season tips off Tuesday night and two games, in particular, will bring bettors to the ticket windows (literally or virtually). Kansas and Duke start the night at Madison Square Garden, followed by a matchup between Michigan State and Kentucky for the Champions Classic. College basketball odds have already been posted at online sports betting sites for the games, and it’s the early game that has caught my eye. Let’s look at college basketball betting picks for the Kansas Jayhawks vs. Duke Blue Devils.

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College Basketball Picks: Kansas Jayhawks vs. Duke Blue Devils

Odds are accurate as of Monday Afternoon.

Kansas +2.5

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Duke -1

Use our DraftKings Sportsbook promo code to get these odds

UPDATED LINE (Tuesday morning): Kansas vs. Duke +2.5, (O/U 152.5)

Most sportsbooks have yet to release a line for the game. With so many games, sportsbooks are much more vulnerable when it comes to college basketball than other sports. It’s also one of the most important sports to take the time to shop for lines, as you can often find significant differences from one sportsbook to the next, such as the example above. Check out our NCAA Basketball Betting Tips page for more general betting information.

While PointsBet and DraftKings opened different numbers, this game doesn’t leave me scratching my head and if you read Best Bets for College Basketball Win Totals then you probably already know who I’m backing.

Rock. Chalk. Jayhawk.

Unlike the Duke Blue Devils, who lost a trio of freshmen to the NBA, the Kansas Jayhawks welcome back five projected starters who started at least nine games in 2018 along with a few missing pieces from last season’s 10-loss team. More specifically, the Jayhawks return Udoka Azubuike and Silva De Sousa. Azubuike, a 7-foot center, had his junior season cut short after tearing a ligament in his hand. De Sousa, another big man, was held out of competition in 2018 due to recruiting violations and subsequently declared for the NBA draft. His plans quickly changed after Kansas won their appeal with the NCAA, giving the junior forward eligibility for the 2019-20 season. The Jayhawks will need both of them after losing leading scorer Dedric Lawson and starter Quentin Grimes as the Jayhawks and Bill Self try to rebound after Texas Tech and Kansas State ended a remarkable 14-year Big 12 regular season title streak. Another upperclassman addition includes grad transfer Isaiah moss. Moss averaged 9.2 points per game at Iowa, shooting a healthy 42.1% from three-point range.

Experience and maturity will help them in Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night.

As for Duke, if scrimmages mean anything then expect the Blue Devils to experience some growing pains early in the season. Duke has struggled mightily from the arc leading up to the season opener. In their scrimmage against Northwest Missouri State, Duke only won by 6 points as they shot 2-for-16 from downtown. Say what you want about a scrimmage, Duke should beat Northwest Missouri State by more than single digits no matter who is on the court.

Duke’s dreadful three-point shooting continued in their Blue-White game. The two sides combined to go 4-for-25 from behind the arc. It won’t be any easier to make buckets inside Madison Square Garden, a venue known to trip up shooters as they adjust to the depth of the arena.

The Total — Over/Under 152.5

Worth noting are two rule changes from last college basketball season. The NCAA voted to extend the 3-point line more than 16 inches, making it the same distance as the international 3-point line. If you’re like me, you instantly started thinking about how this could affect scoring. Longer, tougher 3-point shots mean less scoring, right? Not so fast.

As John Gasaway of ESPN points out, the NIT Tournament implemented the new distance in each of the past two postseason tournaments.

Likely a result of increased spacing on the floor, offenses turned the ball over notably less. And though 3-point accuracy took a dip, offensive efficiency slightly improved.

Another factor that will prevent scoring from falling is college basketball’s new rule that resets the shot clock to 20 seconds after an offensive rebound.

I won’t be betting the Over/Under, at least not in this first game of the Champions Classic.

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Other College Basketball Bets for Tuesday

The other game I’m targetting is Eastern Illinois +23.5 vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders (O/U 142). As I touch on in our team win totals preview, Texas Tech is an extremely young team and insiders have warned fans to temper expectations following an Elite Eight run in 2018 and an appearance in the National Championship in 2019. Eastern Illinois is one of the most experienced teams in the nation. They should be able to cover the spread in Lubbock.

My College Basketball Betting Card:
  • Kansas +2.5 (I like this as low as Kansas PK)
  • Eastern Illinois +23.5 (I like this as low as +23)

Update: The line has completely flip-flopped and most sportsbooks make Kansas a 2.5-point favorite Tuesday morning. If you grabbed Kansas +2.5 as I did, you can try to middle the game by taking Duke +2.5 now.

Image Credit: USA Today Sports Images

About the Author

  • Matt Schmitto (schmitto)

  • Matt Schmitto is the sports betting editor for RotoGrinders. He grew up in Texas, graduating from Texas Tech University. He has played high stakes DFS since 2013, and enjoys betting on golf, basketball, football and whatever else is put in front of him. Schmitto is an advocate of The Bettor’s Oath.

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