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Duke vs Syracuse – 2/23/19 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Predictions

Duke Blue Devils vs Syracuse Orange College Basketball Saturday Feb 23, 2019 (6:00pm est) Current Odds: Duke -5, Total Points 144.5

Duke Blue Devils Betting Trends:

The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Duke’s last 9 games
Duke is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Duke’s last 6 games on the road
Duke is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Syracuse

Syracuse Orange Betting Trends:

Syracuse is 11-4 ATS in its last 15 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Syracuse’s last 5 games
Syracuse is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games at home
The total has gone UNDER in 11 of Syracuse’s last 15 games at home

Recent developments have changed the tone of top-ranked Duke’s visit to Syracuse for an ACC game on Saturday night.

Duke freshman sensation Zion Williamson exited Wednesday night’s loss against North Carolina with a Grade 1 right knee sprain. He is not expected to play Saturday, despite being listed as “day-to-day,” Stadium Sports Network reported Friday.

Earlier Wednesday, Syracuse knocked off Louisville, but the evening turned tragic. Orange coach Jim Boeheim was the behind the wheel when his vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian on a Syracuse highway.

Boeheim issued a statement Thursday that he was “heartbroken that a member of our community dies as the result of last night’s accident.”

Boeheim did not coach at practice Thursday. On Friday, Syracuse athletic director John Wildhack announced that Boeheim will return to coach Saturday.

“The Boeheim family is heartbroken over what happened, as we all are,” Wildhack said, in part, in a statement Friday. “This is a very difficult time. I know that coach Boeheim’s players gain strength from him, just as he gains strength from his players. Our entire community gains strength from each other.”

An NCAA on-campus attendance record is still expected to be part of the scene. Because of a reconfiguration of the Carrier Dome, a crowd of nearly 36,000 has been expected, which would break the record of 35,446, set in Duke-Syracuse games in 2014 and 2015.

Because of Boeheim’s accident that killed 51-year-old Jorge Jimenez, ESPN elected to move its Saturday pregame “GameDay” show from Syracuse and hold it at its Bristol, Conn., studios instead.

Duke (23-3, 11-2 ACC) is trying to respond from the injury to Williamson, who was averaging 22.4 points per game before departing in the first minute of the North Carolina game.

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“We just have to regroup,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

“We have to figure out what this means. We’re not going to draw any conclusions from this (North Carolina) game, except the fact that we have a loss. … We have to come up with a game plan based on Zion not playing. Hopefully, he’ll be back playing sometime in the near future.”

Duke faced a bleak situation last month when point guard Tre Jones was injured against Syracuse (18-8, 9-4), with a showdown against Virginia next on the schedule. The Blue Devils beat the Cavaliers 72-70 without Jones.

Now, Williamson’s absence complicates matters for the Blue Devils.

“We really have to try to figure out different things,” said freshman forward RJ Barrett, the ACC’s scoring leader at 23.1 points per game.

Until the loss to North Carolina, the Blue Devils’ only ACC setback had been a 95-91 overtime result at home against Syracuse on Jan. 14.

Duke played the first meeting with Syracuse without freshman forward Cam Reddish, who was ill, and all except the first few minutes without Jones, who exited with a separated shoulder after colliding with Syracuse guard Frank Howard.

Even then, Syracuse had to dig out of a double-figure deficit to pull out the victory.

Boeheim said earlier this week that Duke’s offense is formidable on many levels.

“There’s no way to slow them down,” he said. “We had our best offensive game of the year against them and that’s why we won the game.”

Duke enters the weekend in a first-place tie in the ACC with Virginia and North Carolina.

Today’s Free Pick: Duke -4 -130

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