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February 22, 2017

There are two College Hoops picks today.

#1: Take Duke -3 spread (buy half point) against Syracuse for 3% of the bankroll.

The 10th ranked Duke Blue Devils have finally started to play like their preseason #1 ranking and will look for their eighth win in a row as they visit the Carrier Dome to do battle the Syracuse Orange. The Blue Devils trail North Carolina by one full game for the ACC regular season title and will travel to Chapel Hill to face the Tar Heels for their regular season finale. This is a matchup that the Blue Devils cannot take lightly and we expect to see an inspired effort in this contest.

Meanwhile, Syracuse is in the midst of a 3-game skid which has seen them producing lower points, rebounds, assists, and field goal percentage than their season averages. Their love for the three isn’t also doing them any favors, as they are just 20-for-84 (26.1 percent) from long range during their recent losing streak. The Orange have been solid at the Carrier Dome this season, but have shown their struggles in closing games out. Duke has shown their mettle down the stretch and while they haven't been impressive against the spread, they have found ways to grind out victories in ACC play.

Duke is a team that manages to pull off victories, even with less than stellar performances on both sides of the basketball. Syracuse, on the other hand, will likely need to play their best game of the season in order to pull off the upset victory. Syracuse likely needs this victory more than the Blue Devils in terms of bolstering the at-large bid for the NCAA Tournament, however Duke still has the hopes of securing the regular season title away from North Carolina and that in itself should be a motivating factor for them to not have a letdown. This will likely be a close game; however, the Blue Devils have shown that they are the more talented team and have played well on the road this season. Duke will make the necessary plays at the end of the game to gain the lead and clutch free throw shooting down the stretch will be enough to give them the cover as well.


#2: Take Oregon -2 spread (buy half point) against California for 3% of the bankroll.

The Oregon Ducks come into this contest with a 24-4 record and sit in 2nd place in the Pac 12 conference. They have won four straight games including scoring 101 points in their victory over Colorado in their last match up. The Ducks strength is on the offensive side of the ball. They like to get the ball up and down the court and really try and outrun their competition. They come into this matchup averaging 79.3 points per game. The Ducks are led by Junior forward Dillon Brooks who is averaging 15.4 points, 2.9 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game. While offense has been a staple of this program, the Ducks have proven to be more than capable on the defensive side of the ball as they only give up average 65 points to opponents this season.

The Cal Golden Bears are a team that has flown somewhat under the radar this season, but would be in a solid position to make the field of 68, should they manage to pull off the upset of the highly-ranked Ducks in this contest. We don't believe that is going to happen. Cal plays at a much slower pace and relies heavily on their defense to keep them in games. That is simply not going to work for a full 40 minutes against a team that is as explosive as the Ducks. Oregon managed to absolutely shred what is considered to be the best defense in the Pac-12 in the Arizona Wildcats. While Cal may have some success early on, it is only a matter of time before Oregon finds their rhythm.

This game is likely going to come down to which team can control the pace and tempo of the game. For Cal to have success, they are going to need to contain the Ducks in transition and force them to play in the half court which is much easier said than done. The oddsmakers are expecting a rather low scoring game in this one with both defenses being the stars of the show. That being said, you have to trust Oregon's offense much more so than Cal's who has shown the ability to go cold on a moment's notice. The Golden Bears are coming off an extremely bad loss to the Stanford Cardinals, which shows their ability to lay an egg on the court. Oregon hasn't lost often this season and given that they are still chasing down Arizona for the Pac-12 conference title, we don't expect them to come out flat in this contest tonight. Even though it is likely to be a closer game than expected, the Ducks have the playmakers on both sides of the ball to come up with big plays late and escape with a closely contested victory.

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