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Last Updated Mar 18, 2022, 23:08 PM

Cal State Fullerton Titans vs Duke Blue Devils Picks, Predictions, Odds

Big West Tournament Champion Cal-State Fullerton will face ACC Regular Season Champion Duke in the Round of 64 on Friday. This game is at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, South Carolina, scheduled for 7:10 PM ET. 

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Score Prediction

Duke 79, Cal State Fullerton 65

Best Bet

Cal-State Fullerton +18.5 (-110)

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MARCH MADNESS BETTING RESOURCES

CAL STATE FULLERTON TITANS vs. DUKE BLUE DEVILS PREDICTIONS

Coach K’s final NCAA Tournament will begin Friday night with Duke as usual placed in a favorable nearby venue in the opening rounds. Greenville is only about 100 miles away from Durham as the Blue Devils should have plenty of fans in attendance. Duke finished 28-6 overall and 16-4 in the ACC but it was a clear down year for the conference landing only five NCAA Tournament teams with Duke the only team seeded better than a #8 seed. It likely would have only been four ACC teams in the field had Duke not lost to Virginia Tech in the NCAA Tournament final last Saturday.  

Duke has a pair of high-profile non-conference wins over Kentucky in New York and Gonzaga in Las Vegas and those victories helped to keep Duke on the #2 line in what had to be a close decision. Duke only had three other top 50 caliber wins all season, beating Wake Forest while they picked up wins in splits vs. North Carolina and Virginia Tech. The only non-conference loss for Duke was to Ohio State on the road in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge in November. This is a return to the NCAA Tournament for Duke after not playing in the 2021 tournament, which was the first absence for the program since 1995. 

Cal-State Fullerton made the NCAA Tournament as a #15 seed back in 2018 under Dedrique Taylor, losing 74-48 to Purdue. The Titans finished second in the Big West regular season this year but ousted regular season champion Long Beach State in the tournament championship 72-71. The Titans were 11-4 in Big West play but did not win any notable non-conference games. In the three most difficult games Cal-State Fullerton was competitive however, losing by seven at Santa Clara, by 13 hosting Wyoming, and by 10 at San Diego State. This will be the program’s first opportunity against Duke and certainly one of the highest profile games in program history.

CAL STATE FULLERTON TITANS vs. DUKE BLUE DEVILS BETTING ODDS

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CAL STATE FULLERTON TITANS vs. DUKE BLUE DEVILS BETTING RESOURCES

  • Date: Friday, March 18, 2022
  • Matchup: No. 15 vs. No. 2
  • Region: West
  • Venue: Bon Secours Wellness Arena
  • Location: Greenville, South Carolina
  • TV-Time: CBS - 7:10 p.m. ET

CAL STATE FULLERTON TITANS BETTING ANALYSIS

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

  • SU: 21-10
  • ATS: 16-14-1
  • O/U: 14-16-1

The Titans are 16-11-2 ATS this season and that includes going 10-6-2 ATS in road and neutral site games. This will be the largest underdog spread of the season for the Titans by a wide margin, going 4-0-1 this season when dogged by five or more points with the biggest price previously in the narrow cover at San Diego State losing by 10 at +12 in early December. The Titans never led in that game and San Diego State was missing one of its starters as it was not an overly noteworthy result. Cal-State Fullerton is on a 17-5 S/U run since that loss and final two regular season defeats for the Titans both came by slim margins. 

Cal-State Fullerton graded as the fourth best offense in the Big West and the third best defense. This squad had exceptional results at the free throw line in conference play hitting nearly 78 percent while foes shot below 69 percent at the line. The 3-point defense for the Titans is a problem area, allowing nearly 36 percent for the third worst 3-point defense in the conference. The Turnover numbers on both sides of the ball for Cal-State Fullerton were solid even while playing as one of the fastest-paced teams in the conference. 

Cal-State Fullerton has solid experience and the roster was boosted significantly by Tennessee transfer EJ Anosike and San Francisco transfer Damari Milstead, combining to average over 28 points per game as the team’s top two scorers. Dante Maddox, who started for the Titans last season, has missed most of the last month and remains a question mark to play in the tournament. Size is likely to be a problem for Cal-State Fullerton in this matchup against a roster filled with future NBA draft picks with no significant contributor taller than 6’8”.

DUKE BLUE DEVILS BETTING ANALYSIS

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

  • SU: 28-6
  • ATS: 17-14-3
  • O/U: 19-15

Duke has four players likely to be first round NBA draft picks this summer as the Blue Devils are loaded as usual. It is a young group and the inexperience has shown at times in what is supposed to be a swan song season for Coach K, the face of college basketball for much of the past three decades. Duke’s 15-point loss in the ACC Tournament Championship game was the most lopsided defeat of the season for Duke as three of six losses came by two points or one point. 

As one of the most well-known programs and a team that can be overvalued at times, Duke produced a winning ATS mark at 17-15-2 this season alongside the 28-6 S/U record. Duke was just 4-7 ATS when laying 10 or more points this season as they will be in the Round of 64 however. Duke had a 6-3 ATS record on the road vs. winning teams this season but was just 2-3 ATS in neutral site games. 

This year’s Duke defense was not at a championship level with an efficiency ranking in the mid-40s and this will be the fifth time Duke has been a #1-#4 seed since winning the NCAA Championship in 2015. Duke has not been to the Final Four since that title run, losing in the Elite 8 in its past two tournaments in 2018 and 2019. Duke does feature elite offensive numbers this season but wound up with a strength of schedule ranking of 71 this season, unusually high for an ACC team as the 10-1 non-conference record featured eight wins outside the nation’s top 150.  Cal-State Fullerton grades similarly to bottom of the ACC squads Louisville and NC State who Duke beat by nine and 15 points this season. Duke was -6 at Louisville and -14 hosting NC State to illustrate that this line has been shaded upward somewhat significantly.

Cal State Fullerton has scored 62 points or less in four straight games when facing an AP-ranked school. (AP)

INSIDE THE STATS - CAL STATE FULLERTON TITANS

  • Record: 21-10
  • PS/G: 70.3 (203rd)
  • PA/G: 66.2 (88th)

INSIDE THE STATS - DUKE BLUE DEVILS

  • Record: 28-6
  • PS/G: 80.2 (9th)
  • PA/G: 67.1 (118th)

KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH

  • CSUF: E.J. Anosike - F (16.5 ppg, 8.3 rpg)
  • CSUF: Damari Milstead - G (12.1 ppg)
  • DUKE: Paolo Banchero - F (17 ppg, 7.8 rpg)
  • DUKE: Wendell Moore - F (13.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 4.6 apg)

CAL STATE FULLERTON TITANS vs. DUKE BLUE DEVILS BETTING CONCLUSION

Given that this is Duke’s first NCAA Tournament game in two years and that this will be Coach K’s final NCAA Tournament opener there could be some extra distractions and emotions and a slow start for the Blue Devils would not be a surprise. Duke won 85-62 in 1/16 pairing to open the 2019 NCAA Tournament against North Dakota State, also in South Carolina, but that was a much worse defensive team than Cal-State Fullerton. This is also a much slower-paced Duke team than several of Coach K’s recent teams, notably in 2018-19.

Duke was the worst team in the ACC in creating turnovers on defense and was the third worst free throw shooting team as there are likely to be missed opportunities for the Blue Devils. Coach K lost Round of 64 games in 2012 and 2014 as a highly regarded team and the statistical profile of this year’s team has some similarities to those teams with a great offense and a lesser defense. Cal-State Fullerton is an extreme long shot to pull off the upset but the poor 3-point defense for the Titans isn’t likely to be a significant factor in this game and the more experienced Titans seem capable of forcing a few mistakes from Duke with this being the tournament debut for most of the Duke players.  

MARCH MADNESS PICK RESOURCES

CAL STATE FULLERTON TITANS vs. DUKE BLUE DEVILS BETTING TRENDS

  • Cal State Fullerton has lost three straight NCAA Tournament games.
  • Cal State Fullerton has scored 58 points or less in three straight NCAA Tournament games. 
  • Cal State Fullerton has covered the spread in six of its last eight games when playing as the underdog.
  • Duke has failed to cover the spread in four straight games.
  • Duke has gone OVER the point total in six straight games. 
  • Duke has won 15 of its last 19 NCAA Tournament games.
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