Louisville and Duke Have Marquee Matchup For Final Four Berth

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Those people who are enthusiastically engaged in college basketball betting at BetAnySports know that the Louisville Cardinals are the #1 seed in the entire NCAA Tournament, and on Sunday they have a chance to go to the Final Four when they face off against the Duke Blue Devils in the South Regional Final of the NCAA Tournament. Duke is a program that is used to going to the Final Four, but it is Louisville that is attempting to get there for the second straight year. The action tips off at 5:05 PM ET at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Here’s the setup:

Louisville Cardinals (32-5 SU, 22-15 ATS) vs. Duke Blue Devils (30-5 SU, 19-16 ATS)
NCAA Tournament – South Regional Final
Sunday, March 31 – 5:05 PM ET
Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis

Louisville has gotten to the Elite Eight pretty comfortably, with easy wins over North Carolina A&T and Colorado State, then a comfortable victory over Oregon in the Sweet 16.

In the college basketball betting odds that have been placed on this game by BetAnySports, the Cardinals are the favorites to get to the Final Four:

Louisville Cardinals  -3.5
Duke Blue Devils  +3.5

Over 137 Points  -110
Under 137 Points  -110

Louisville wins game  -175
Duke wins game  +155

These teams have met up once this season. It was back in November, at the “Battle 4 Atlantis” in the Bahamas. Louisville had just dusted off Missouri by 23 points the night before, while Duke had topped VCU.

Against Louisville, Duke (priced currently at +267 to reach the NCAA final at BetAnySports) got great balance from its offense, with all five starters scoring between 14 and 16 points, and they got 27 shots from the free throw line to come out with a 76-71 win. Quinn Cook came up with eleven points in the last eight minutes to key the Duke victory. A few things should be noted form that game, however. One is that Louisville’s premier shot-blocker, Gorgui Dieng, did not play in that game, and his presence might make things a bit different here. Also, Duke was held to just five three-pointers. Can they win again if Rick Pitino decides he wants to shut off the long ball? And Peyton Siva, Duke’s ball-hawking guard, had six steals.

Everyone knows that Pitino’s schedules are not designed so that his teams can win games in November, but in March, so we don’t want to put all the stock in the world in that result. Russ Smith, however, has been a pretty consistent factor; against Duke he had 17 points; in the Sweet 16 against Oregon he tied his season high with 31. And what does Dieng’s presence mean? Well, he blocked for shots by the Ducks, altered some more, and has hit his shots when he’s had them (14 for 16 in the tourney). He will try to neutralize Plumlee, who doesn’t have a lot of support underneath.

Duke was able to deal with a physical Michigan State team on Friday, taking advantage of 29 points from a very hot Seth Curry (who was 6 of 9 from three-point range) and hitting a dazzling 24 of 26 from the line. Ryan Kelly also blocked four shots in the game, which is interesting to know, because he has not been terribly productive on the offensive end since coming back from his foot injury with big games against Miami and Virginia Tech. In those two contests he had 54 points, but in the five subsequent games he has only 34 points on 31% shooting.

Meanwhile, back in the Round of 32, Louisville (a favorite to get to the national title game, at -115 with BetAnySports) took the best rebounding team in the country (Colorado State) and beat them on both the offensive AND defensive boards, and in these three tournament games the Cardinals have shot 57%, 56% and 54%. By the way, the win over Oregon did break a nine-game pointspread winning streak. Louisville has not really smothered the opposition on defense; Colorado State managed to hit 47.5% of its shots and Oregon, which went inside more than it intended, made 44%. Because of many factors, including the pressure Louisville likes to exert, the games have been fast-paced, and indeed they have played seven straight over the total.

We suspect that with Duke’s ability to hit the three-pointer, perhaps before Louisville has a chance to set up its own defense, the same thing might happen here. In the $1 Million Charles Jay / BetAnySports March Madness Challenge, we’re going “over” on the total of 137 points and placing a $30,000 wager on it.

Of course, you’ll have many more options for betting at BetAnySports for March Madness and beyond, Take a look and you’ll see!

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Charles Jay

CHARLES JAY, a contributor to BangTheBook.com, is one of the most experienced sports betting writers in America, as he has written more than 10,000 pieces specifically for the industry over the last seven years. At one time employed as an editorial consultant with USA Network, he is also a former syndicated radio talk show host (American Radio Networks) and has also done color commentary on boxing events in the past for Prime Network (now known as Fox SportsNet). He is a veteran of more than a decade and a half working within the professional sports industry, and has been handicapping sporting events for over 25 years. In addition to this, he has compiled specialty odds for a number of online sportsbook operations and media outlets.

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