College Basketball Computer Picks March 4: Duke Is Still Underrated

Author:
Oddstrader

The top Sportsbooks have released their betting odds for today’s college basketball action, and I’ve found three games that interest me: Duke vs. NC State, Texas vs. Baylor and Eastern Washington vs. Sacramento State.

For your best bets, I will recommend parlaying Duke ATS with Baylor ML and wagering on Eastern Washington. My recommendations are backed by OddsTrader’s Computer AI and by my handicapping.

Picks Summary

  • Two-Legged Parlay [Duke -5.5 + Baylor ML] (-115)
  • Eastern Washington -8 (-110)

*All odds from Bet365 (check our Bet365 Review)


Duke Blue Devils vs. NC State Wolfpack

Monday, March 04, 2024 – 07:00 PM ET at PNC Arena


Our computers project a strong Duke victory that will result in a Duke cover and a Baylor victory in which the Bears’ margin of victory equals the spread.

Accordingly, I recommend investing in Duke to cover and maximizing your profit by parlaying Duke ATS with Baylor ML.

Duke’s Ball-Screen Game

In the most recent game between these teams, Duke won by four despite bricking 17 of its 19 three-point attempts.

Its main source of offense was the ball-screen game led by its quick point guard Jeremy Roach. In an attempt to avoid being overwhelmed by the speed displayed by Roach on his drives to the basket, the Wolfpack positioned center DJ Burns in drop coverage close to the basket. Burns simply could not keep up with Roach.

Roach is still playing, and Burns, who NC State wants to rely on as one of its two top shot-takers, is still playing. With both of these players on the floor again, we can only expect the same result: Duke will use its ball-screen game to thrive inside.

NC State’s most recent game, in which North Carolina’s quick point guard Elliot Cadeau was his victorious team’s second-leading scorer largely because he ably attacked the basket, only increases our confidence in Duke’s interior scoring ability tonight.

N.C. State’s Vulnerable Perimeter Defense

But the Wolfpack are not only going to be vulnerable inside the arc: their perimeter defense is porous. The porousness of their perimeter defense has not been too conspicuous in their most recent games, because they’ve been facing teams in the ACC that shoot three-pointers with the least efficiency.

On February 24, they hosted a Boston College team that does shoot the three well, and the Eagles converted 45% of their three-point opportunities.

Teams consistently succeed from deep against the Wolfpack, whose vulnerable perimeter defense gives Duke a great opportunity to bounce back from its poor three-point shooting output on Saturday.

The Blue Devils own the ACC’s highest three-point shot conversion rate, making them a great matchup against an NC State team that ranks eleventh in the ACC at limiting opposing three-point efficiency.

Containing Quick Guards

As evident in North Carolina’s radical second-half turnaround in its win on Saturday over the Wolfpack and as suggested by the fact that he is his team’s leading shot-taker, it is critical for defenses to contain DJ Horne. Horne is NC State’s most potent scorer, but he won’t scare a Duke team that has grown acclimated to facing quick point guards.

The Blue Devils beat Michigan State, Baylor and Syracuse teams, holding all three teams to 70 points or fewer, that were led by such point guards. Their later efforts against Baylor’s RayJ Dennis and Syracuse’s Judah Mintz were particularly effective.

They especially do a great job of turning these quick guards over.

Expect Tyrese Proctor to use his length advantage and other physical tools to limit Horne, while Roach is also capable of switching onto Horne.


Texas Longhorns vs. Baylor Bears

Monday, March 04, 2024 – 09:00 PM ET at Foster Pavilion


Baylor at Home

Baylor is a great money-line partner for your parlays when it plays at home. At home, the Bears are at least competitive with the nation’s best teams: they nearly upset Houston and most recently defeated Kansas by eight.

Their one other home loss came in a triple overtime thriller against TCU.

Texas On The Road

Texas is unreliable on the road against strong teams. Most recently, the Longhorns lost by 19 at Kansas and by 21 at Houston.

They also lost by twelve at BYU and by 21 at Marquette, two other teams that, like Baylor, rank top 20 according to KenPom.

Matchup Edge

Texas’ offense reliably struggles in these more difficult road games. The problem with this is that it will need to score a lot in order to keep up with Baylor.

In these teams’ first meeting, which took place at Texas, Baylor nearly won because its ability to spread the floor with shooters created gaping spaces in which its ball-handlers were able to penetrate in order to reach the basket.

Benefitting from its dribble penetration, Baylor was, for example, able to use drive-and-kick actions in order to generate favorable three-point shooting opportunities.

As one of the nation’s most efficient three-point shooting groups, Baylor will light up a Texas defense that regularly does a terrible job of limiting opposing three-point conversion rates.

NCAAB Pick

  • Duke -5.5 (-115)
  • Baylor ML (-290)

Two-Legged Parlay (+151) at Bet365


Eastern Washington Eagles vs. Sacramento State Hornets

Monday, March 04, 2024 – 09:00 PM ET at The Nest


Our computers project a strong Eastern Washington victory, and I agree. You should expect the Eagles to cover the spread.

Three-Pointers Are Everything

Eastern Washington’s games are primarily decided behind the arc.

The Eagles attempt the most three-pointers in the Big Sky, but they also allow three-pointers at the highest rate in their conference.

When these two teams met on December 30, the Eagles won by 26 points because we saw these teams’ disparity in three-point shooting ability play itself out. Whereas Eastern Washington is highly efficient from deep, featuring six players who make over 37 percent of their three-point attempts, Sacramento State is one of the nation’s least efficient three-point shooting teams.

Will Things Change On The Road?

Eastern Washington’s road three-point conversion rate is deflated by catastrophic outputs in higher-elevation cities, such as Bozeman, Montana and Flagstaff, Arizona.

Because Sacramento is barely above sea level, the Eagles do not need to worry, and yet they are favored by fewer points in this meeting because they are playing on the road.

Further strengthening confidence in the Eagles, Sacramento State’s already awful three-point efficiency actually drops a bit at home.

NCAAB Pick: Eastern Washington -8 (-110) at Bet365

*21+ Seek help with a gambling addiction at 1-800-Gambler

*The line and/or odds referenced in this article might have changed since the content was published. For the latest information on line movements, visit OddsTrader’s free betting odds tool.

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