The Arkansas Razorbacks looked right at home in handling the NCAA Tournament’s top overall seed, defeating the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the Sweet 16. That win put Arkansas back into the Elite 8 for the first time since 1995. To get back to the Final Four, the Razorbacks have to go through the school they beat for the 1994 title, the Duke Blue Devils. The only link between that game and this one is Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who became the first coach ever to win 100 NCAA tournament games with his team’s win over Texas Tech in the Sweet 16.
Of course, the prevailing storyline over every contest Duke plays from here on out will be whether it’s Coach K’s final game or if the Blue Devils will create a storybook ending for the Hall of Fame coach.
Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Duke Blue Devils Odds, Trends, and Picks
March Madness NCAA Tournament Elite 8 Betting Odds and Lines
||Duke Blue Devils
|(28-8 SU, 21-14-1 ATS)
||(31-6 SU, 19-16-2 ATS)
When: Saturday, March 26 at 8:49 p.m.
Where: Chase Center, San Francisco, CA
Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Duke Blue Devils Spread Pick
Duke has shown an annoying habit of allowing teams to hang around with them all season long, for spread bettors, at least. And Arkansas is brimming with confidence after not just hanging around with Gonzaga, but beating them as 9.5-point underdogs in the Sweet 16. The Razorbacks are again dogs in this Elite 8 contest, and I don’t see the Blue Devils running Arkansas out of the building at any point in this game.
I think this one will come down to the final minutes, or even minute, if Duke is going to get Coach K to one last Final Four. That puts the points in play here, and is why I like Arkansas +4.
Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Duke Blue Devils Spread Pick: Arkansas +4
Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Duke Blue Devils Total Pick
Arkansas is one of the top 5 teams in the nation in free throws attempted per game. But getting to the line might be a problem in this one, as no team sends opponents to the stripe less often than Duke does. Cynics might say that’s because the Blue Devils get all the calls from the refs, but Coach K’s team is well disciplined and fouls just aren’t part of their game.
Even though Duke and Arkansas both average more than 76 points per game, the Razorbacks have put up just 67.3 in their three March Madness contests, while the Blue Devils are sitting at 80.3 points per contest. After the showing the Razorbacks put on in the Sweet 16, holding Gonzaga under 70 points, we could see the Arkansas defense holding Paolo Banchero and Mark Williams under their season averages.
If this all goes to plan, the Elite 8 contest between Duke and Arkansas could end up in high 60s instead of 70s and puts me on the under in this one.
Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Duke Blue Devils Total Pick: Under 147.5 points
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