Two of the biggest names in the men's college basketball universe will lead teams into the 2021-22 season beginning on Tuesday. Mike Krzyzewski leads the No. 9 Duke Blue Devils in what will be Coach K's final season on the bench after a legendary tenure. John Calipari keys the No. 10 Kentucky Wildcats as they try to erase the poor taste of a sub-.500 season in 2020-21. Both teams are ranked in the top 10 in preseason polls, with Madison Square Garden hosting the battle as part of the 2021 Champions Classic.
Tipoff is set for 9:30 p.m. ET in New York. Caesars Sportsbook lists the Blue Devils at -3, up a couple points from the opening Kentucky vs. Duke odds. The over-under for total points is 148.5. Before locking in any Duke vs. Kentucky picks or college basketball predictions, you need to see what SportsLine's advanced computer model has to say.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every Division I college basketball game 10,000 times. Over the past five years, the proprietary computer model has generated an impressive profit of $2,200 for $100 players on its top-rated college basketball picks against the spread. Anyone who has followed it has seen huge returns.
Now, the model has set its sights on Kentucky vs. Duke and just locked in its coveted Champions Classic 2021 picks and predictions. You can head to SportsLine to see the model's CBB picks. Now, here are several college basketball odds and betting trends for Duke vs. Kentucky:
- Kentucky vs. Duke spread: Duke -3
- Kentucky vs. Duke over-under: 148.5 points
- Kentucky vs. Duke money line: Duke -150, Kentucky +130
- KENT: The Wildcats were 7-16-2 against the spread in 2020-21
- DUKE: The Blue Devils were 9-15 against the spread last season
Why Kentucky can cover
Last season's performance is one that Kentucky's program and fans want to forget. With that said, the Wildcats did have better underlying metrics than the team's overall record would indicate. Kentucky was strongly above-average on defense last season, allowing fewer points per possession than the vast majority of teams in the country. The Wildcats ranked in the top five nationally in block rate, rejecting 14.9 percent of shots, and opponents shot only 31.2 percent from 3-point range and 46.6 percent from 2-point range in 2020-21.
Kentucky was strong on the offensive glass, grabbing 32.6 percent of its own missed shots. The Wildcats were also above-average in free-throw creation, with Kentucky's depth rising to the surface when evaluating this year's squad compared to its competition.
Why Duke can cover
Like Kentucky, the Blue Devils struggled last season, but there were some positive takeaways from their disappointing performance. Duke finished in the top 20 nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency, including a 54.1 percent mark on 2-point attempts. The Blue Devils used size and athleticism to take advantage of the offensive glass, grabbing 32.2 percent of their own missed shots.
Duke also created havoc on defense. The Blue Devils produced nearly 12 percent block and steal rates for the full season, and Duke's newly-arriving talent should augment the returning production. Paulo Banchero was one of the top recruits in the country, and the 6'10 forward should be Duke's best player immediately. The Blue Devils also have strong returnees, with a potential breakout coming from sophomore center Mark Williams. Williams scored 13 points or more in the final four games last season, capped off by a 23-point, 19-rebound eruption in Duke's season finale.
How to make Kentucky vs. Duke picks
SportsLine's model is leaning under on the point total, with only one player projected to score more than 14 points. The model also says one side of the spread hits in 60 percent of simulations. You can only see the model's Duke vs. Kentucky picks at SportsLine.
So who wins Kentucky vs. Duke? And which side of the spread hits in 60 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Kentucky vs. Duke spread you need to jump on Tuesday, all from the model that has crushed its college basketball picks, and find out.