Duke vs Tennessee March Madness Betting Preview: No. 5 Seed Duke Favored to Reach Regionals

Rare March Madness Matchup Between Duke Blue Devils and Tennessee Volunteers

Could the Absence of Starting Point Guard Cost No. 4 Seed Tennessee?

It is hard to believe that Duke and Tennessee have met just once in the last 40 seasons. That will change with a spot in the regionals on the line on Saturday afternoon.

Duke had no issues with Oral Roberts, a team touted as one of the double-digit seeds most capable of being a bracket buster. Tennessee has to withstand a late push by Louisiana.

Duke takes a 10-game winning streak into the game and although the Blue Devils are the lower seed in the 4-5 matchup in the East Region, When looking at the Duke vs Tennessee March Madness betting preview, the Blue Devils are favored by 3.5 points. (Odds change frequently, be sure to check for the most up to date changes.)

These are two of the top rebounding teams in the country. Both Duke and Tennessee rank in the top 15 nationally in rebounds and offensive rebounds per game.

When looking at the college basketball news, Tennessee point guard Zakai Zeigler is out for the season with a torn ACL. For Duke, Jeremy Roach, Dariq Whitehead, Derek Lively and Jaylen Blakes combined to miss 19 games this season. However, the Blue Devils are as healthy as they have been all season.

Duke moved up nine spots to No. 12 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll and went from 21st to 16th in the coaches poll after winning the ACC tournament title. Tennessee fell three spots to No. 20 in the AP poll and went from 19th to 21st in the coaches’ poll.

When looking at the favorites to win March Madness, Duke (+1800) is ninth in the odds to win the national championship, while Tennessee comes in 12th at +2500.

Duke: Not Bad For Starters

It would be hard to imagine a better way to start the tournament than the way Duke raced out to a 15-0 lead on Oral Roberts. The Blue Devils won 74-51 and easily covered as 6.5-point favorites. Duke vs Tennessee March Madness betting preview is listing Duke as the favorite once again.

Jeremy Roach had seven points to lead the way. The bigger news might have been Oral Roberts missing its first 12 shots and committing three turnovers before finally getting on the board

Five of the six Duke players on the court for more than 20 minutes were freshmen, so racing out to the big lead was a perfect way for Kyle Filipowski, Mark Mitchell, Dereck Lively and Tyrese Proctor to get introduced to March Madness.

Duke was +15 in the rebounding department and shot 52% inside the 3-point line.

Roach, one of the holdovers from the Final Four team, led the way as he matched his career-high with 23 points. He also had 23 points in the ACC title game. Whitehead had 13 points off the bench.

Duke has covered against the college basketball spreads in its last five games as well as in the last eight games in March.

Tennessee: Quiet Opener For Shooting Star

Two of the numbers that stand out in Tennessee’s first-round win are Santiago Vescovi’s three points and three field-goal attempts.

While the Volunteers were able to survive and advance even with a quiet outing for their leading scorer, that is not a recipe for success heading into the matchup with Duke. Tennessee is the underdog according to the Duke vs Tennessee March Madness betting preview.

The senior guard averaged 15.3 points in Tennessee’s last three games against ranked opponents. Vescovi managed just on 2 of 7 shooting when Tennessee lost to Michigan in the second round in the 2022 tournament.

With second-leading scorer Zeigler sidelined, there will be more focus on Tennessee getting Vescovi some good early looks as Tennessee looks to make it to the regionals for the first time since 2019.

Tennessee has covered against the college basketball betting lines in just four of its last 13 games.

Handicapping the Game

Duke has won six of the last eight meetings with Tennessee. However, seven of those games took place from 1952-80 so the history between the teams will not be when it comes to picking this game

Duke won the most recent meeting 7-67 on Nov. 21, 2011 as an 11.5-point favorite.

The only time the teams met in a postseason tournament, the Blue Devils won 78-64 in the quarterfinals of the 1971 NIT.

Don’t expect to see Duke jump out to a 15-0 lead against Tennessee as it did in the tournament opener. Still, don’t be surprised to see Duke head back to the regionals.

Tennessee ranks second and Duke 15th in adjusted defensive efficiency according to the Pomeroy College Basketball Ratings database so it could be a tough day at the office for the two offenses. Among Saturday’s games in the NCAA tournament, only the UCLA-Northwestern matchup has a lower total than the 128½ number for this matchup.

Duke is 26-4 when listed by the Las Vegas NCAA odds as the favorite. Tennessee is 0-3 as an underdog.

Duke is 7-2 this season in games played at neutral sites and has covered against the spread in six of those matchups. Tennessee has won six of its eight neutral-site games but has covered in just three of those contests. (Odds change frequently, be sure to check for the most up to date changes.)

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