Duke vs Michigan State battles have been one-sided in favor the Blue Devils in the win column, but one-sided in favor of the Spartans in the betting profits column.
So as the Midwest Regional semifinal gets set Friday, bracket pickers are confident that Duke can build on its 6-1 SU mark and win as a 2-point favorite.
And Michigan State bettors are happily backing their team, which is 5-1-1 ATS in those seven games against Duke and also 13-5 ATS in their past 18 games overall as an underdog.
The game goes Friday night at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis (9:45 pm ET, CBS) and pits two schools that are no strangers to Sweet 16 action. But while MSU has excelled (6-2 ATS in eight trips here), Duke has struggled to a 2-5-1 ATS mark.
"The question for many people is how much of that point spread is based solely on reputation?" said Mark Presley, a basketball handicapping analyst at OddsShark.com.
"The ACC wasn't exactly a powerhouse this season, while the Big Ten continues to showcase in this tournament that it was the nation's best."
As of Thursday morning, most books were chalking Duke at -2 with an OVER/UNDER of 134. The Sweet 16 trends seem to point to Michigan State, while one computer picked Duke to win by three points.
Michigan State (27-8 SU, 14-16 ATS) finished in a tie for second place in the Big Ten this season, going 13-5 in a league that sent seven teams to the NCAA tournament, four of which are still alive. The Spartans then lost to Ohio State in the semifinals of the conference tournament.
As a three-seed, MSU opened the Big Dance with a 65-54 victory over Valparaiso that wasn't as close as that score might indicate, then dispatched of Memphis last Saturday 70-48.
With those two victories/covers the Spartans are now 10-7 SU and 9-7-1 ATS versus teams that made the NCAA tournament this season.
Last year Michigan State made it to the regional semis of the Dance before falling to Louisville.
Duke (29-5 SU, 18-16 ATS) finished second in the ACC this season, going 14-4 in a league that only sent four teams to the Big Dance this season, two of which are still alive. The Blue Devils then got upset in the semifinals of the ACC tournament by Maryland.
As a two seed Duke opened this NCAA tournament with a 73-61 victory over Albany, then topped Creighton last Sunday 66-50. So the Dukies are back playing on the second weekend of the tournament after getting bounced in the first round last year by Lehigh.
For the season, the Devils are now 13-2 SU and 8-7 ATS versus teams that made the tournament.
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