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November 14, 2017

There is one pick tonight.

Take Michigan State +2 spread (buy the half point) against Duke for 3% of the bankroll.

We get a rare opportunity this early in the season to see a classic matchup between the #1 and #2 ranked teams in the country. Duke and Michigan State are two of the more storied programs in the college basketball world and both boast long-tenured and future hall of fame coaches in Coach K and Tom Izzo. This has all the makings of being a classic battle for the casual fan, but from a betting perspective, we believe we are getting solid value on Michigan State.

Duke is ranked #1 in the country, and they have an extremely talented roster, however, many have questioned exactly how good this Duke team is this early in the season and a big reason for that is because of the number of freshman and young talent that they have on their roster. Talent will get you far in the college basketball world, but there truly is no substitute for experience and that is what they will be up against with Michigan State.

This season, Tom Izzo has more talent to work with than he’s ever had before and most of it is in the form of big, physical, and experienced talent. Miles Bridges is a man amongst boys at the collegiate level but so is forward Gavin Schilling, who is 22 years old and won an additional year of eligibility after missing all last season with a knee injury. Sixth-Year senior forward Ben Carter is 23 and also got another year from the NCAA after missing last season with a knee injury. Nick Ward is just a sophomore but he’s 6’8″ 245 lbs. and can bang with anybody in the country down in the post. Michigan State’s strength and size down low is unmatched across the country and could cause a real problem for Duke in this contest.

With Miles Bridges announcing that he would return to Michigan State for one more year of school, the Spartans went from being the Big 10 favorites, to potential National Title favorites and with Bridges is undoubtedly an impressive player, Jaren Jackson Jr. has (arguably) the most talent and NBA potential on the team. He’s a five-star freshman who can do everything at 6’11”. He had 13 points and 13 rebounds in the season opener against North Florida and we believe he will put on another impressive showing tonight against the top ranked team in the country.

These two teams have a glaring contrast of styles as the Blue Devils typically like to space teams out and rely on outside shooting to really carry their offense. They are not a big overpowering team and will likely be undersized in comparison to the Michigan State players. Michigan State will have the advantage on the glass in this contest, which few teams do against Duke, so the Blue Devils only real advantage in this contest is if they can get their outside shot falling. While Duke is certainly proficient with their shot selections, it is going to be tough to rely on them to make every critical shot when it counts.

While Duke certainly boasts some talented players, the Spartans are older, stronger and have a deeper bench than that of the Blue Devils. With this game being played on a neutral court and closer to Michigan State's campus, it's these small advantages that we believe gives them a leg-up on their opponents tonight. This should be a very close and entertaining contest tonight, however, at this point early in the season, we believe the Spartans are just a bit more 'game ready' than their opponents and that will lead them to victory tonight.

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