Many March Madness betting players didn’t think Duke had what it takes to reach the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2006, but the Blue Devils played with fire in their second-round matchup. Sportsbook odds have the Blue Devils as a slight favorite on Thursday night, when they meet Villanova in the East region.
Villanova vs Duke odds – Thursday, March 27, 9:57 PM ET
After a comeback was needed in their first-round game against American, the No.3 Wildcats locked down UCLA for a 20-point victory in the second round. Villanova forced 20 turnovers out of the Bruins, while the combination of Dante Cunningham and Dwayne Anderson were huge. After combining for 50 points and 15 boards in the American game, the forwards each had a double-double as they racked up 28 points and 21 rebounds against the Bruins. This is why the Wildcats are +25 on the glass heading into the Sweet 16.
Not many online betting players gave No.2 Duke credit for their defense, but they’ll have to after their performance in the first weekend of the Tournament. After romping over Binghampton, the Blue Devils went blow-for-blow with a physical Texas team, as they were only rebounded by four, and forced 15 turnovers in a 74-69 win in the second round. Gerald Henderson took it to the Longhorns, scoring a game-high 24 points while going to the line 13 times for the Blue Devils, making 10 of his chances.
The Blue Devils are a 2.5-point favorite according to March Madness odds, and Duke has won all three of their meetings with Villanova by an average of 16.3 points, but all of those meetings came between 1996 and 2000. Duke will have their hands full with Cunningham and Anderson in the post, and they’ll also struggle with Scottie Reynolds’s penetrating skills on the perimeter. Henderson will need to be as aggressive as he was against the Longhorns, as his penetrating skills will open it up for the Blue Devils’ three-point bombers. You can only go so far with no interior defense, and Duke has reached the end of the line. Go with Villanova in a March Madness betting upset on Thursday.
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