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Houston vs Duke Predictions & Best Bets

Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024

After surviving an overtime scare against Texas A&M in the Round of 32, the top-seeded Houston Cougars will take on the red-hot Duke Blue Devils in a heavyweight Sweet 16 matchup on Friday night at American Airlines Center.

Houston is hoping to secure its third Elite Eight berth in four seasons, while the fourth-seeded Blue Devils are returning to familiar territory in just their second season under head coach Jon Scheyer.

Let’s dig into the latest Houston vs Duke odds and pick out our best bets for this intriguing matchup.

Houston vs Duke Odds

The latest NCAAB odds at bet365 have installed Houston as a four-point favorite in this matchup, with the Over/Under sitting at 134 points.

That total feels low after both teams scored 90-plus points in the second round, but it’s easy to forget that these are two of the top-20 defenses in the country per KenPom and both held their opening-round opponents in the 40s.

Houston vs Duke Prediction

Houston 70, Duke 63

The Blue Devils have been one of the more impressive teams so far in the NCAA Tournament, but this is a significant step up in competition from Vermont and James Madison.

Houston is the best defensive team in the nation, holding opponents to 57.7 points per game and 37.8% shooting from the field. And although the Cougars allowed 95 points to Texas A&M, they held the Aggies to 38.7% shooting and 34.8% from three-point range.

If Duke is going to win this game, it will have to follow A&M’s template. Get Houston’s top players in foul trouble — four Cougars fouled out in the second-round win — and win the rebounding battle.

The Blue Devils have had issues on the boards against physical teams like North Carolina, and star center Kyle Filipowski has had a quiet start to the tournament. Duke will need its 7-footer to shine if it wants to pull off the upset.

Houston vs Duke Best Bets

Houston -4 (-110) vs Duke

bet365 Sportsbook • WAGER: 2 Units

Houston has a vast edge in experience, with senior guards Jamal Shead and L.J. Cryer leading the way.

Cryer won a National Championship at Baylor in 2021, and Shead has spearheaded the Cougars’ success each of the last two seasons.

Kelvin Sampson’s squad starts four upperclassmen in all, while Duke guard Jeremy Roach is the lone Blue Devil starter with experience at this stage of the tourney.

That gulf should pay dividends for Houston down the stretch, making this my best college basketball bet today.

Under 134 Total Points (-110)

bet365 Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 Unit

The Over/Under will likely come down to how the referees officiate this contest, leaving me unconvinced of either side.

Will Houston be allowed to play its typical brand of physical defense? Or will Duke get the benefit of some soft foul calls?

I’m leaning more toward the former and the Under, especially since I don’t see the Blue Devils connecting on 14 three-pointers like they did against James Madison.

Author

John Arlia

Before joining The Game Day, John served as the National Writer for the United Soccer League, where he primarily covered the USL Championship out of the league’s headquarters in Tampa, FL. A devout soccer fan, John attended the men’s World Cups in Brazil and Russia and can’t wait for the 2026 edition to come to North America. Having also written for Sporting News Canada since getting his master’s from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at ASU, John has acquired a diverse sporting background, but considers football, golf, and soccer his three strong suits.

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