Last Updated Nov 08, 2021, 4:00 PM

Kentucky Wildcats vs. Duke Blue Devils Predictions, Odds, Picks

Nov. 9, 2021
David Schwab
VI Betting Expert

Tuesday night’s college basketball opening day slate is highlighted by a showdown between nationally ranked teams with the SEC’s No. 10 Kentucky Wildcats squaring off against the ACC’s No. 9 Duke Blue Devils. Game time at Madison Square Garden in this State Farm Champions Classic matchup is 9:30 p.m. (ET) with ESPN carrying the national broadcast.

Score Prediction

Duke 72, Kentucky 67

Best Bets

Duke -1.5

Kentucky Wildcats vs. Duke Blue Devils Predictions

The Wildcats open the new season as the favorites to win the SEC regular season title. After fading to a dreadful 9-16 straight-up record last season, it is no big surprise that the expectation level for this season is on par with the previous success of this program.

Duke is pretty much in the same boat coming off one of its worst seasons in recent memory. The Blue Devils were absent from the postseason as well after going 13-11 SU during its regular season schedule. This includes an even 9-9 SU record in ACC play.

It is rather obvious that each of these teams should dramatically turn things around given their lofty preseason rankings. I like Duke’s chances to post its first big win in what should remain a very tight matchup. The fact that this will be Coach K’s final season at the helm will add some extra drama to every one of the Blue Devils’ major matchups this season.

Kentucky Wildcats vs. Duke Blue Devils Spartans Betting Odds

More Odds | Futures Odds

Odds Provided by DraftKings - Subject to Change

  • Kentucky +100
  • Duke -120
  • Kentucky +1 (-110)
  • Duke -1 (-110)
  • Over 148 (-110)
  • Under 148 (-110)

Kentucky Wildcats vs. Duke Blue Devils Betting Resources

  • Matchup: SEC vs. ACC
  • Date: Tuesday, November 9, 2021
  • Venue: Madison Square Garden
  • Location: New York , New York
  • TV-Time: ESPN - 9:00 p.m. ET

Kentucky Wildcats Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

2020-21 Season Stats

  • SU: 9-16
  • ATS: 8-16-1
  • O/U: 12-13

The Wildcats have +350 betting odds as the favorites to win the SEC regular season title. Although, this list goes six teams deep with legitimate contenders. Kentucky’s betting odds to win a national championship are near the top of the futures board at +1400.

Kentucky did not lose a wealth of talent to the NBA as normal with the exception of Isaiah Jackson. Yet, the turnover in the roster is still significant. Head coach John Calipari is looking for a fresh start after last season’s complete meltdown.

This reboot starts with three Top 40 high school recruits. The new-look Wildcats’ roster also includes four Division I transfers. Keion Brooks would be the veteran leader on the team among all of these new faces.

Freshman forward Daimion Collins should make the most impact from the recruiting class and former West Virginia standout Oscar Tshiebwe leads the way as the most talented transfer. With so many new faces, it could take some time before Kentucky reaches its full potential.

Duke Blue Devils Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

2020-21 Season Stats

  • SU: 13-11
  • ATS: 9-15
  • O/U: 14-9-1

When it comes to the early betting odds to win the ACC regular season title this year, Duke is back on top as a +250 favorite. Florida State and North Carolina should be the toughest competition at +450 odds. The Blue Devils are +1200 second-favorites to win the national title along with Kansas, Michigan and Memphis.

Mike Krzyzewski’s final season as head coach should be a good one with a strong lineup of talented players. Putting last season’s struggles in the rear view mirror, Duke will have three starters back from that squad. Forward Wendell Moore Jr., point guard Jeremy Roach and center Mark Williams make up that list.

This season’s excitement centers on the No. 4 recruiting class in the nation. Led by Paolo Banchero and AJ Griffin, this is one of the primary reasons why Duke is expected to bounce back in a big way. Two key transfers are center Theo John from Marquette and forward Bate Jones from Davidson.

Given the strong nucleus of talent combined with a long tradition of excellence, the Blue Devils should be able to re-establish their status as an elite national power. Winning Tuesday night’s opener would go a long way towards confirming that notion.

Inside the Stats - Kentucky Wildcats

2020-21 Stats - VI Ranking reflect this season

  • Record: 9-16
  • VI Ranking: 12
  • PS/G: 70.4 (197th)
  • PA/G: 70.2 (179th)
  • Offensive Rating: 99.7 (220th)
  • Defensive Rating: 99.3 (142nd)

Inside the Stats - Duke Blue Devils

2020-21 Stats - VI Ranking reflect this season

  • Record: 13-11
  • VI Ranking: 16
  • PS/G: 76 (62nd)
  • PA/G: 71.3 (208th)
  • Offensive Rating: 108.8 (48th)
  • Defensive Rating: 102.1 (223rd)

Key Players to Watch

  • UK: Keion Brooks, Jr.
  • UK: C.J. Fredrick
  • DUKE: Paolo Banchero
  • DUKE: Wendell Moore, Jr.

Kentucky Wildcats vs. Duke Blue Devils Betting Conclusion

Duke has gotten the best of this series with the 3-1 SU edge over the last four meetings. The series is tied 2-2 ATS. The total has gone OVER in three of the four games.

You can pretty much throw out any recent trends for Tuesday’s showdown. Each of these teams is coming off a beyond sub-par season. This especially pertains to the Wildcats. The main reason why I am giving Duke the slight edge in this game is because of some veteran presence in the starting five.

Kentucky is pretty much starting from scratch as just one of the many unknowns in this matchup. The total line is set at 147.5 which sets up a play on the UNDER. Yet, I still see the Blue Devils getting the SU win by two points or more to make the best them the best bet ATS. The entertainment level for this game is already set rather high as each of these elite programs are highly motivated to start the new season with a win.

Kentucky Wildcats vs. Duke Blue Devils Betting Trends

  • Kentucky has failed to cover the spread in three of its last four games when playing on a neutral court.
  • Duke has gone OVER the point total in six of its last eight games.

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