NCAAB Game of the Week: Duke at Wisconsin

We’re already a few weeks into the new College Basketball season, but tonight marks the first marquee matchup of the season with #2 Duke (7-0) travelling to Madison to face #4 Wisconsin (7-0) in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. This game will be highlighted by the fantastic interior matchup with two likely first round picks in the upcoming 2015 draft — Duke’s Jahlil Okafor and Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky.

Kaminsky, a 7-foot senior, became a household name in last season’s NCAA tournament when he torched Arizona for 28 points and 11 rebounds in a thrilling Elite Eight upset of 1-seed Arizona. Arguably the most polisher post player in the country, Kaminsky moves very well for his size and has a sweet shooting stroke with three-point range.

On the other side of the equation is Okafor, the top ranked recruit according to ESPN and a strong candidate for the first overall selection in the 2015 NBA Draft. At 6’10” and 265 pounds, Okafor is big and powerful but also quite smooth with a bevy of low post moves. The cousin of Emeka Okafor, Jahlil is not an elite athlete but knows how to utilize his large frame to create opportunities.

According to the public betting trends available on out free College Basketball odds page, Wisconsin opened as a 3-point favorite at the market-setting Pinnacle sportsbook and are currently receiving just 39% of spread bets. Despite the public backing Duke, the Badgers have actually moved from -3 to -4. This is an example of reverse line movement, which indicates that sharp money likes the home favorite in this matchup.

Wisc Duke Line Graph

At the time of publication, no bet signals have been triggered on this game but Pro customers have access to steam moves, reverse line movement alerts and contrarian plays in addition to our Best Bets.


In the fifteen year history of the ACC/Big Ten challenge, the ACC leads the series 10-3-2. Interestingly, the ACC won the first 10 challenges, while the Big Ten has won the past three. Overall, ACC teams have gone 88-67 straight up, although their record against the spread has not been quite as impressive.

Many people consider Wisconsin to have one of the nation’s best home court advantages, but our research indicates that since 2005 they’ve gone just 71-70 ATS at home. However, the Badgers have been exceptional in non-conference games with a 56-39 ATS record including a 9-2 mark against ACC teams.

Bettors may be surprised to see Duke getting points as they’ve only been an underdog 21 times since 2005 (11-10 ATS). They’ve also been a mediocre road team with a 48-47 ATS record over that time period. Still, the Blue Devils have compiled a 73-61 ATS record in non-conference games including a 10-7 ATS record against Big Ten teams.

One piece of Bet Labs research does reveal slight value on Duke. We found that when two ranked teams play each other, the underdog has gone 68-49 ATS (+15.45 units) and the road team has gone 56-47 ATS (+5.99 units).

Finally, we tweeted out a few prop bets relating to three of the star players in this game:

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David Solar

David Solar has been the Content Manager at Sports Insights for over four years. He specializes in sports betting analytics and has created several popular data-driven betting systems. He can be reached directly at david@sportsinsights.com or on twitter at @TheDavidSolar.

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