The No. 15 Iona Gaels (20-13) battle against the No. 2 Duke Blue Devils (26-7) in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament at PPG Paints Arena. The Gaels opened as a 19.5-point underdog. The game’s Over/Under (O/U) opened at 157.5 points and action gets underway at 2:45 p.m. ET on Thursday, March 15, 2018.
Iona Gaels vs. Duke Blue Devils Betting Odds
In their last contest, the Blue Devils lost to the 12th-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels, 74-69, while the Gaels were victorious over the Fairfield Stags, 83-71.
Iona played a nearly perfect game. They had a ridiculous free throw rate of 0.390 (above their season average of 0.219) and an effective field goal percentage of 0.508 (below their season average of 0.542). Fairfield recorded marks of 0.156 and 0.477, respectively, for those same stats. Duke, meanwhile, did a great job of making free throws (19-23; 82.6 percent). Duke’s Marvin Bagley III played well, finishing with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Roland Griffin, meanwhile was a key piece for Iona with 29 points and eight rebounds.
Duke could have their way on the offensive side of the ball as their sweet-shooting offense faces off against one of the NCAA’s worst defenses. The Blue Devils currently rank 20th in effective field goal percentage (0.560), while Iona ranks 256th in effective field goal percentage allowed (0.521). Ball security should be an advantage for the Gaels. They rank 32nd at avoiding errors (turnover percentage of 16.1 percent), while the Blue Devils force the 76th-fewest turnovers in the NCAA (opponents’ turnover percentage of 17.0 percent).
Gaels games have a tendency to go over the total (55.2 percent). Iona comes into the game with records of 20-13 straight up (SU) and 15-13-1 against the spread (ATS).
Of the Blue Devils’ 31 games with betting action, 17 have finished over the total. Further, Duke owns records of 26-7 SU and 20-11 ATS.
Iona Gaels vs. Duke Blue Devils ATS Pick
College Basketball Prediction: SU Winner – Duke, ATS Winner – Iona, O/U – Under
- Duke ranks third in rebounds per game (41.9) while Iona ranks 259th in rebounds allowed per game (37.6).
- The Blue Devils rank 13th in blocks per game (5.4) while the Gaels rank 158th (3.1).
- Iona ranks 25th in steals allowed per game (5.1) while Duke ranks 86th (5.8).
- The Blue Devils rank ninth in assists per game (17.5) while the Gaels rank 220th in assists allowed per game (14.6).
- Iona ranks 55th in three pointers attempted per game (24.9) while Duke ranks 242nd in three pointers allowed per game (23.6).
- The Gaels’ average margin of victory in their last five games has been 6.2, up from 3.7 for the season.
- During their last five games, the Blue Devils have scored an average of 70.8 points per game (13.9 below their season average) and allowed an average of 63.2 points per game (6.4 below their season average).