Occasionally you have to throw out some recent trends. I see no better time to do this than tonight’s game between Ohio State and Duke. Unbelievably, the Blue Devils are 3-13 ATS in their last 16 home games and they are 0-3 ATS in their last 3 games in their Big Ten/ACC challenge games. Ohio State, on the other hand, is 4-0 SU & ATS in their last 4 games in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge including a 22 point beat down of the Blue Devils last year. So with all of these numbers pointing towards taking the points with the Buckeyes, why would someone go against the trends?
So far this year Ohio State is untested. The only decent team on their schedule so far was Marquette and that game was cancelled. Also, OSU’s ranking is based on what they have done the past couple of years. Unfortunately for Buckeye fans, Jared Sullinger is in the NBA and the current Buckeye team has no inside presence. OhioState’s starting center is only 6’8” and is the 7th leading scorer on the team. His back up (Amir Williams) is a 6’11” stiff that is shooting a smooth 18% from the foul line this year. Who is Duke’s best player? Their center, Mason Plumlee, is averaging 19.7 points and 10.0 rebounds per game. With this mismatch on the inside Duke should be able to score in the post whenever they want and Ohio State’s lack of an offensive big man means tough shots for Thomas, Smith and Craft. Even with Duke’s recent struggles at home ATS, I don’t like my chances betting on a perimeter based team that is going to need to rely on a hot night shooting the ball in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Add that to the fact that this is the first road game for the Buckeyes and the Blue Devils will be happy to be home after a week on the road. I think Duke (-6) is a pretty solid play.
I do like the trends for the total. The Over is 6-1 in Ohio State’s last 7 non-conference games and 6-0 in Duke’s last 6 games vs the Big Ten. 13 of the last 16 Ohio State games have gone over the total as well, so if laying 6 points against a top 5 team is too much wood for you, try the Over 142. Ohio State has some good scorers on their team and they are going to get their points. I just don’t see the Buckeye defense being able to stop Duke in this one. Plus, you know Duke is thinking about payback for last year’s ass whipping in Columbus.