2018 Sweet 16 Pick & March Madness Lines: Duke vs. Syracuse

2018 Sweet 16 Pick & March Madness Lines: Duke vs. Syracuse

Written by on March 21, 2018

The only rematch from this regular season in the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 is Midwest Region No. 2 Duke taking on fellow ACC foe and No. 11 Syracuse on Friday night. The Blue Devils are by far the biggest March Madness lines favorites in our online sportsbook board for this round.

2018 Sweet 16 Pick & March Madness Lines: Duke vs. Syracuse

When: Friday, 9:37 PM ET Where: CenturyLink Center, Omaha TV: CBS Radio: Tunein.com Opening March Madness Lines: Duke -11.5

Why Bet on Duke?

The Blue Devils are currently the betting favorites to win it all, and they do have the most overall talent in this tournament. They also haven’t been tested yet. Duke has won nine of 11 games and beat Iona and Rhode Island by 20 points apiece. In the first round against Iona, Trevon Duval and Grayson Allen recorded a 6-for-8 clip on contested 3-pointers in a 22-point victory. The Blue Devils also made 58.3 percent of their contested 3-pointers in a 25-point win over a Rhode Island squad sporting a top-50 defensive efficiency mark. They did all of this while holding both opponents to less than a point per possession. Syracuse has that tough zone defense, but if anyone knows how to beat it, it’s Mike Krzyzewski. No. 11 Syracuse has limited its last three opponents in the 2018 NCAA tournament to an average of 54 points on 34 percent shooting, with No. 11 Arizona State, No. 6 TCU and No. 3 Michigan State shooting a combined 25 percent from beyond the three-point line. However, that success may be much harder to replicate in the Sweet 16 against a Duke team that’s far more familiar with the defense of a fellow ACC team. Krzyzewski has played against it seven times since Syracuse joined the ACC, posting a record of 4-3. This season Duke smoked Syracuse by 16 points in Durham on Feb. 24, 60-44. Marvin Bagley had 19 points and Wendell Carter added 16 points and 10 rebounds. The Blue Devils forced 17 turnovers and the Orange matched their season-low scoring total of the season. The teams combined to miss their first 23 3-pointers. Duke is 6-5 all-time against Syracuse and it will be the third NCAA Tournament meeting between the two schools. The Blue Devils bounced the Orange 91-81 in the 1966 East Regional Semifinal in Raleigh and 80-67 in the 1998 South Regional Semifinal in St. Petersburg, Fla. Duke is 110-36 (.753) in the NCAA Tournament, which is No. 1 all-time in winning percentage and No. 3 in wins. The Blue Devils’ 26 Sweet 16 appearances are second-most while its 16 appearances since 1998 are the most. Krzyzewski has led Duke to the Sweet 16 for the 24th time, a record number of bids by a coach. Coach K’s 93 tournament wins are also the most.

Why Bet on Syracuse?

Frankly, the NCAA Tournament selection committee had no right to put Syracuse in the NCAA tournament field. The Orange had no meaningful nonconference wins and an 8-10 ACC record. SU was the last at-large team admitted to the field. On Saturday, the Orange knocked off trendy national title pick Michigan State with starting guard Frank Howard on the bench for the final six-plus minutes after fouling out, and walk-on and former Division III guard Braedon Bayer on the floor late. Through three NCAA tournament games, the Orange have faced three opponents ranked within the top 20 of adjusted offensive efficiency on KenPom.com. None recorded more than 0.93 points per possession. The Spartans might have dominated the boards, but they also took 66 shots from the field and managed only 53 points.  In their three wins, the Orange shot 37.8 percent from the floor. Is Syracuse a safe bet in the Sweet 16? The game will feature a matchup of the two winningest Division I men’s basketball coaches in history in Duke’s Krzyzewski and Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim. Krzyzewski has 1,099 career victories. Boeheim has left the court victorious on 1,027 occasions, although the NCAA calculates his win total at 926 because of wins vacated due to NCAA violations. Boeheim, Syracuse’s coach since 1976, has made the 2-3 zone a staple of his team’s defense and this year is no different. The Orange have employed zone defense against 94 percent of their opponents’ possessions this season, the highest rate among Division I schools. SU has used their dominant 2-3 zone to keep themselves within striking distance in their three NCAA Tournament games, and they have relied upon their “big three” (Howard and especially Tyus Battle and Oshae Brissett) to make the clutch shots late when it matters most. The Blue Devils are far from the first conference opponent to face the Orange in the NCAA Tournament. They’re the sixth since the start of the Big East. So far, SU is 3-2 in those games. Most recently, Syracuse lost to ACC foe North Carolina in the 2016 Final Four but beat Virginia in the Elite Eight to get there.

Latest March Madness Lines Trends

  • Syracuse is 7-1 ATS in their last 8 NCAA Tournament games.
  • Orange are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
  • Orange are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 neutral site games.
  • Duke is 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
  • Blue Devils are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 vs. Atlantic Coast.
  • Blue Devils are 10-3 ATS in their last 13 NCAA Tournament games.

Expert March Madness Betting Prediction

No question Duke wins the game, but Syracuse should be able to hang within single digits. Take the points.