Duke Blue Devils vs Michigan State Spartans Pick

March 31, 5:05 AM EDT

Betting Odds

Point Spread: 
Duke -2

Duke and Michigan State are not conference rivals, but they do seem to meet a lot, like seven times over the last nine seasons. And they'll meet again, this time with a Final Four berth on the line, in the NCAA tournament East regional final Sunday afternoon in Washington, DC (5:05 pm ET, CBS). The Blue Devils own seven straight victories over the Spartans, but who do we like for our free NCAA tournament pick?

The Line

NCAA tournament betting odds opened Duke at -3 over Michigan State, with an over/under of 153. Early betting action then dipped the spread to -1.5 and dropped the total to 148.

Spartans-Blue Devils Betting Preview

No. 2 seed Michigan State (31-6 SU, 26-11 ATS) reached this regional final by beating No. 3 seed LSU Friday night 80-63. The Spartans jumped out to a 40-28 halftime lead, let the Tigers get within 40-36 early in the second half, then pulled away from there and covered as six-point favorites.

On the night the Spartans shot 47 percent from the floor while holding LSU to just 39 percent shooting.

Michigan State now owns an eight-game winning streak, going 6-2 ATS along the way.

No. 1 seed Duke (32-5 SU, 18-18 ATS) reached this regional final with another close victory, 75-73 over No. 4 seed Virginia Tech Friday night. The Dukies trailed the Hokies at the half 38-34, led by eight midway through the second half, then, in the end, survived a V-Tech alley-oop that would have tied the game at the buzzer.

On the night Duke shot 55 percent from the floor while holding the Hokies to 40 percent shooting.

However, the Blue Devils came up short ATS as eight-point favorites, continuing a recent trend. Duke is now 6-0 SU, but only 1-4-1 ATS since Zion Williamson returned from injury, indicating they've been overrated on the college basketball betting lines.

NCAA Tournament Betting Trends

  • The Spartans are now 17-3 SU, 15-5 ATS this season against teams that made this NCAA tournament.
  • The Big Ten is 12-6 both SU and ATS in this Big Dance.
  • Duke is now 16-5 SU but only 7-14 ATS this season against teams that made this Dance.
  • The ACC is now 11-6 SU but just 5-12 ATS in this NCAA tournament.

Spartans-Blue Devils Recent History

These teams have actually met seven times over the last nine seasons, twice in the NCAA tournament; Duke has won each of those seven contests, going 4-3 ATS in the process. Most recently these teams met early last season in Chicago, an 88-81 Blue Devils victory. Duke is a little different team now, skewing young, but several key Spartans remain.

Totals Report

The unders are 21-15 in Spartans games this season, which are averaging 144 total points.

The unders are 24-11 in Blue Devils games this season, even though they're averaging 151 points. So Duke's been playing against some inflated totals this season.

Duke vs Michigan State Prediction 03/31/2019

Duke's been playing with fire as of late, and that often leads to getting burned. And Michigan State has just the right kind of team to do it. Plus, the Blue Devils might be without G Cam Reddish, who's nursing a sore knee.

Free Pick: 
Take the Spartans +2