College basketball’s opening night features No. 2 Kentucky taking on No. 4 Duke in the Champions Classic 2018 on Tuesday. Tipoff is at 9:30 p.m. ET from Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The Wildcats boast a lethal mix of experienced talent, led by Stanford transfer Reid Travis along with their usual arsenal of fresh blue-chip talent. The Blue Devils lost their entire starting five to the pros, but replaced them with a top-rated recruiting class featuring Zion Williamson, who chose Duke over Kentucky. The Wildcats are 1.5-point favorites and the over-under for total points scored is 157 in the latest Kentucky vs. Duke odds. Before you lock in your Duke vs. Kentucky picks, check out the results from SportsLine’s Projection Model.
This model, which simulates every game 10,000 times, has returned more than $5,200 to $100 bettors on its top-rated picks the past two years.
Now the model has dialed in on Blue Devils vs. Wildcats. We can tell you it’s leaning under, and it has also generated a strong point-spread pick that hits in a whopping 75 percent of simulations. The selection is only available at SportsLine.
The model is aware that Duke is in the unfamiliar position of having massive roster overhaul following last year’s Elite Eight run. Familiar face Grayson Allen, who led a national-title run as a freshman, was drafted by the Jazz. Highly touted freshmen forwards Marvin Bagley and Wendell Carter were lottery picks.
But coach Mike Krzyzewski worked diligently to fill the vacancies, landing three of the top five prospects in the country. Williamson is a powerful 6-foot-7, 285-pound forward who is expected to excite observers with his explosiveness. Fellow 6-7 freshman RJ Barrett is considered perhaps the most versatile player in the nation and a candidate to be the top pick in next year’s NBA Draft. Shooting guard Cam Reddish, who is 6-8 and can play multiple positions, rounds out the “Big Three” in Duke’s recruiting class.
However, a talented roster doesn’t guarantee the Blue Devils will cover against a Kentucky program that is famous for annually fielding its own collection of blue-chip talent.
In somewhat of a departure from its usual roster composition, coach John Calipari has the luxury of relying on a combination of experienced veterans to go along with standout newcomers.
The Wildcats landed perhaps the most coveted player in the graduate transfer market in Travis, who averaged 19.5 points and 8.7 rebounds for Stanford last season. The 6-8 forward was named all-conference in the Pac-12 for two consecutive seasons.
The Wildcats also benefit from the return of reliable power forward PJ Washington, who put up 10.8 points and 5.7 rebounds per game last season. Kentucky’s standout recruiting class includes five-star forward EJ Montgomery, who appeared headed to Duke at one point. Sharp-shooter Tyler Herro is expected to provide the outside threat the Wildcats lacked last season.
The Wildcats own a 12-9 all-time advantage in this series and won the previous matchup by 11 points in the 2015 Champions Classic.
Who wins Blue Devils-Wildcats? And which side of the spread can you bank on a whopping 75 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine now to see which side you should be all over Tuesday, all from the model that’s up more than $5,200 on college basketball picks the past two years.
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