After a down year, the No. 6-ranked Duke Blue Devils are back in the national championship hunt as they head to Tallahassee to take on the Florida State Seminoles on Tuesday night.
The Seminoles might be unranked but they have won three in a row and have been the most successful program in the ACC over the last two seasons. Can the Noles cover as 5-point home pups? We let you know what we think with our best free college basketball betting picks and predictions for Duke vs. Florida State on Tuesday, January 18, with tipoff at 9 p.m. ET.
Duke vs Florida State odds
Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.
The Blue Devils opened as 4.5-point road favorites for this contest with the Over/Under at 145. Early money has come in on Duke, shifting the line to -5.
Duke vs Florida State predictions
Predictions made on 1/18/2022 at 12:30 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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Duke vs Florida State game info
• Location: Donald L. Tucker Center, Tallahassee, FL
• Date: Tuesday, January 18, 2022
• Tip-off: 9:00 p.m. ET
• TV: ESPN
Duke at Florida State betting preview
Florida State: Malik Osborne F (Doubtful), Tanor Ngom C (Out).
Find our latest NCAA basketball injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The Seminoles are 1-7 against the spread in their last eight games against a team with a winning straight-up record. Find more NCAA betting trends for Duke vs. Florida State.
Duke vs Florida State picks and predictions
Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.
With legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski coaching in his final season, there couldn't be a better storybook ending than another national championship for Duke. This Blue Devils team is certainly good enough to return to the Final Four for the first time since 2015. They were upset 76-74 by Miami 10 days ago but have still gone 14-2 SU (9-5-2 ATS) on the season with impressive neutral-site wins over Gonzaga and Kentucky.
The Blue Devils have been strong on both ends of the floor, ranking 10th in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency according to KenPom and 19th in adjusted defensive efficiency. Freshman power forward Paolo Banchero is fighting to be the first pick in the NBA draft and leads the team with 17.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, while Wendell Moore Jr. (15.4 ppg, 5.7 rpg, and 4.8 apg) is looking like an All-ACC candidate in his own right.
While Krzyzewski is deservedly getting showered with praise on his retirement tour, don't let that overshadow what Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton has done since taking over at FSU in 2002. Florida State was atop the conference standings in 2020 before the season was canceled and advanced to the Sweet 16 last year.
That said, this year's version of Florida State doesn't look as impressive and will likely be missing Malik Osborne, who leads the team with 7.2 rpg and ranks second with 11.1 ppg. The Noles have lost four of their last nine games (barely beating .500 North Carolina State and Boston University during that span) and are just 3-7 ATS in their previous 10 contests.
Duke has historically dominated FSU, winning nine of the last 10 games, but the Seminoles have typically kept things close, covering the spread in five of the previous six contests. We don't think they have the talent to cover tonight, though, especially with Osborne out of action.
Prediction: Duke -5 (-110)
Florida State is a respectable 35th in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency but ranks just 88th on the offensive end of the floor. The Noles are averaging just 68.3 ppg in 10 games against Power Five conference schools and shot just 24 percent from the field in an ugly loss to Wake Forest two weeks ago.
They won't find it easy to score against a Duke team that ranks eighth in blocks per game and limits foes to 41.1% shooting from the field.
Although Duke ranks seventh in the country with 83.1 ppg, that number drops to 76.3 ppg on a 46.6 FG% in away contests.
Both of these schools also have a tendency to play lower-scoring contests against quality opponents with the Noles 20-7-1 to the Under in their last 28 games versus a team with a winning record and the Blue Devils 19-7-1 to the Under in their previous 27 contests against winning teams.
Prediction: Under 145 (-110)
The Blue Devils lineup is almost perfectly built with a pass-first point guard in Jeremy Roach, a seven-foot center who rebounds and blocks shots in Mark Williams, a pair of dynamic inside/outside scorers in Banchero and Trevor Keels, along with a do-everything swingman in Moore. They even bring a pair of sharpshooters off the bench in A.J. Griffin and Joey Baker, who shoot a combined 42.5% from beyond the arc.
We mentioned the Seminoles' struggles on the offensive end of the floor but they've also shown cracks on defense, which should be the team's strength. Surrendering 93 points to No. 4-ranked Purdue is understandable but giving up 80 points on 48% shooting to Boston University is less forgivable, as is allowing 81 points on 51% shooting to NC State and letting Wake Forest drop 76 points despite turning the ball over 20 times.
We don't see them having much success against this loaded Duke squad. On paper, the Blue Devils look much stronger than Florida State and they've played up to their talent level this season as well. They should be able to cover a reasonable 5-point spread against the overmatched Noles.
Pick: Duke -5 (-110)
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