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Duke vs. Houston: Picks, Predictions, Odds and Player Props

No. 1 Houston and No. 4 Duke face off Friday night for a chance to reach the last 8, as we get to watch a physical, experienced Cougars team take on a younger Duke squad containing multiple future NBA players.

Houston will use its defense to make the Blue Devils uncomfortable, but if Duke can replicate their shooting performance against James Madison, it’ll be nearly impossible to slow down Jon Scheyer’s team.

Let’s dive into the ins and outs of this matchup and explain why we’re backing Houston.

Duke vs. Houston betting picks and predictions

Houston -4

The Houston Cougars are +500 to win this year’s National Championship entering the last 16, second in the betting behind UConn (+220).

Sunday’s Round of 32 game against Texas A&M went to overtime, as the Aggies hit the game-tying three-point shot at the buzzer, but Kelvin Sampson’s team overcame multiple hurdles and pulled out a five-point victory.

Now, they’ll face a Duke team with multiple talented guards, and guard play will likely determine the outcome of Friday’s game.

Duke’s best player is Kyle Filipowski, but the Blue Devils will go as far as their guard play takes them.

Jeremy Roach, Jared McCain and Tyrese Proctor combined for an average of 38.9 points per game this season, and McCain has led Duke in scoring in both tournament games, putting up 15 against UVM and 30 against James Madison.

Expect Houston’s Jamal Shead to guard McCain because of his performance throughout the tournament and Shead is one of the best defenders in the country. Therefore, Roach and Proctor will need to step up their game to pull off this upset.

Houston has the 14th-ranked offense and 2nd-ranked defense per KenPom, while Duke carries the 5th-ranked offense and 18th-ranked defense.

Duke has done a great job beating up on inferior teams this season, but they’ve struggled against elite opposition.

The Blue Devils went 2-4 against teams still in the tournament (Arizona, UNC, Clemson and NC State), and the Cougars could dominate the game physically. Last season, Tennessee took Filipowksi out of the game with physical play, so anticipate more of the same on Friday.

31 of Houston’s 32 wins this season came by four points or more, while each of Duke’s eight losses came by four points or more as well, so back the Cougars to book their ticket to the Elite 8 by at least four points.

Mark Mitchell Over 9.5 Points

Although Houston may take down the Blue Devils by at least four points in the Sweet 16, there is one Duke star worth watching in the player props.

Mark Mitchell will need to play extremely well if Duke is to have any chance of advancing and, with the added emphasis on slowing down Filipowski, Mitchell could be in for a big game.

The forward is averaging 12.1 points per game this season and scored 15 points in Duke’s opening win. However, he was just 1-6 from the field against James Madison, so he’ll want to bounce back in this game.

Mitchell has scored 10+ in 21 out of 31 games this season. If he can hold up against Houston’s physical play, he should get plenty of chances to score at the free-throw line, as Texas A&M shot 45 free throws against Houston this past Sunday.

Read more Men’s College Basketball Tournament coverage on site

Duke vs. Houston odds

Duke

+155 ML

Houston 

-185 ML

Spread 

Houston -4

Total

O/U 134

Duke vs. Houston player props

Player points

Kyle Filipowski (Duke)

O/U 14.5

LJ Cryer (Houston)

O/U 14.5

Jamal Shead (Houston)

O/U 14.5

Jared McCain (Duke)

O/U 13.5

Jeremy Roach (Duke)

O/U 12.5

Emmanuel Sharp (Houston)

O/U 12.5

Read Duke vs. Houston: How to watch, TV Channel, streaming, start time, injury report and stats on site

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This article was written by a partner sports writer via Spotlight Sports Group. All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.

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