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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Betting Tips / NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Duke Blue Devils vs Houston Cougars

NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Duke Blue Devils vs Houston Cougars: Odds, Tips and Predictions 03/29/24

Basketball Betting Tips Β· - Β·

Publish Date: 03/29/2024
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis

As the Sweet 16 continues on Friday night, the South Region heads to Dallas, Texas, for its regional semi-final. The Houston Cougars face the Duke Blue Devils in the matchup, which should be one of the weekend’s top games. The Blue Devils defeated James Madison in Round 2, while the Cougars edged past Texas A&M in an overtime thriller that brought them here. Tip-off time on Friday is set for 9:30 PM EST.

Houston is a solid favorite, but Duke played their best game of the year in a blowout win over James Madison, and Houston has not played well as of late.

Remember, if you want underdog winners, the Grueling Truth is one of the only sites to give you a straight-up winner in the Oakland vs. Kentucky game.

Odds Duke vs Houston

  • Point Spread: Houston -4.5
  • Moneyline Duke +160
  • Moneyline Houston -194
  • Over/Under 133.5

These odds were updated at 9 am EST on 03/28/24, coming from Draft Kings.

Β 

Our Best Pick: Duke to Cover

I expect the Cougars to rebound quickly against Duke on Friday after suffering a scare in their opener on Sunday night. Their physical brand of basketball should presentΒ  problems for Duke’s guards, who should find this challenge more than sufficient. McCain has had an outstanding tournament thus far but will now face off against a Houston backcourt which successfully held Texas A&M All-American guard Wade Taylor IV to just 5-of-26 shooting from the field.

Houston’s backcourt scored 41 points against Texas A&M, providing McCain and Roach a formidable physical test. Houston has outscored their opponents in the paint by 12 points this tournament. Duke averaged 37.5 rebounds in their two wins but aren’t as consistent in grabbing offensive and defensive boards as was done by Texas A&M against Houston, which will prove problematic as Houston attacks the glass from all five positions, especially on offense.

Come Friday night, the Cougars enter this game shooting over 55% from the floor and scoring more points than they have all season. On defense, they are holding opponents to just 29% from 3-point range – an astounding feat considering they ranked first overall in field goal defense before this tournament began.

Houston is the better team and they might win the game but I see value in betting Duke +4.5 points.

DraftKings
DraftKings
4.5/5
Tip: Bet Duke to Cover
  • Houston is a great defensive team
  • Duke has been hot as of late
  • Houston has not played well as of late
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Duke vs Houston Moneyline

To me, a money-line bet only makes sense on Duke, as I think they have a very real chance to pull off the upset in this game. Houston has struggled at times as of late and Duke has been playing lights out on both ends of the floor.

The Blue Devils are a live dog in this game, and if Houston is inconsistent at all over the 40 minutes, the Blue Devils have the weapons to pull off the upset and send the Cougars home earlier than expected.

DraftKings
DraftKings
4.5/5
Tip: Bet Duke to Cover
  • Duke has been hot
  • Houston must control the Boards
  • Cougars need to be consistent on offense
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Β 

Duke vs Houston Over/Under Analysis

The over/under looks about right. This game has all the earmarks of a game played in the 1960s, and given the way the Blue Devils have shot the ball lately, I am leaning towards betting the over in this game.

Duke and Houston can both score points quickly in a high scoring game and this game could hit the high 60s and go over the number,

DraftKings
DraftKings
4.5/5
Tip: Bet the Over 133.5
  • Rebounding will be key
  • Both teams can be explosive on offense
  • This game will be played in the high 60s/low 70s
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Β 

Duke vs Houston Spread Analysis

The Over/Under is spot on, Houston should be the favorite when looking back on the totality of the season. This Duke teame looked different against James Madison, they looked like Duke. Can they continue to play at that high level? They will have to if they want to win this game.

Houston needs to control the glass and grind down Duke. If they do that, they will win this game going away. If they don’t, they will have a big-time fight on their hands. Guard play, as always, will be big, and if Duke can hold their own on the boards, that will also elevate their chances to win this game.

DraftKings
DraftKings
4.5/5
Tip: Bet Duke to Cover
  • Guard play will be huge
  • Duke needs to keep turnovers to a minimum
  • Game will be played in the high 50s to Low 60s
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Β 

Duke vs Houston Player Props

McCain over 13.5 points

McCain scored thirty points in the Blue Devils’ blowout over James Madison. If he scores thirty points in this game, the Blue Devils will win again. I think the Cougars’ defense will look to shut McCain down, and while I do not think they will, he won’t get thirty points. I think he does score more than 13.5 points, though, in this one.

Check out all of our Sweet 16 predictions!

DraftKings
DraftKings
4.5/5
Tip: Bet Micah Parrish 13.5 Ponts
  • McCain scored 30 in JMU win
  • McCain has been hot as of late
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Duke vs Houston Head to Head

This will be the first time the teams have played this season.

Injuries and Suspensions

Duke Blue Devils Injury Report

  • J. Blakes- Quest
  • J. Roach- Quest
  • C. Foster- Out

Houston Cougars Injury Report

  • J. Tuggler- Out

Β 

Conclusion

This will be an explosive game that could be a defensive battle or an offensive battle. I like Duke to hit enough shots to turn this into a tough game for the Houston Cougars. The Blue Devils have been inconsistent this season but seem to be hitting their stride. Houston was dominant for most of the season but, unlike Duke, have struggled some in this tournament. They overcame missing four key players because they fouled out before the overtime of their second-round win. I think taking the Debils and the points is the best bet in this game.

Β 

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