The 5-seed Duke Blue Devils take on the 4-seed Tennessee Volunteers in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The game tips off Saturday, March 18 from Orlando, Fla., on CBS. Duke is a favorite after handily beating Oral Roberts while Tennessee is on the moneyline after surviving Louisiana. The point total for this game is set at . Below, we’ll look at Duke vs. Tennessee odds in the ongoing March Madness tournament.
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Duke Vs. Tennessee Betting Odds
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Duke Vs. Tennessee Stats
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Duke vs. Tennessee player props
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Duke March Madness Futures
Tennessee March Madness Futures
Why Duke can cover the spread
Duke saw themselves on the wrong side of the trendy upset pick against Oral Roberts and, in the words of Michael Jordan, “took that personally.” The Blue Devils left absolutely no doubt on the table, going up 13-0 to start the game and finishing with a resounding 23-point victory. Jeremy Roach led the way with 23 points while star Kyle Filipowski only scored six.
Without guard Zakai Zeigler, Tennessee struggled to get points on the board against Louisiana. The Vols made just four of their 16 threes in the game and shot an abysmal 12-of-21 from the free throw line in a narrow 58-55 win over Louisiana. They committed 18 turnovers – something the they struggled with all season long – and ultimately just couldn’t get much going.
In March, momentum is everything. At this juncture, Duke has it and Tennessee does not.
The Blue Devils extend their win streak to 10 and, in a region as weak as the East, that may not end for another couple rounds.
Why Tennessee can cover the spread
As poorly as Tennessee shot free throws all year long (70.9%, 215th), the bricks really came out on Thursday. Regardless, the Vols withstood the tough day from the line to win their game. They held a solid Louisiana offense to just 55 points thanks to their second-ranked adjusted defensive rating, per KenPom.
The combination of Jonas Aidoo and Uros Plavsic will handle Filipowski duties, stacking up in height against the 7-foot star. Against ORU, Filipowski met his match physically and ultimately was a non-factor on offense. Repeat that defensive performance, and Tennessee stands a strong chance. Overall, the Vols matchup well physically against Duke’s length.
With just a point total, oddsmakers don’t foresee this game ever scoring enough to truly get away from either team. Turn this one into a rock fight, and Tennessee might keep this one close. However, they’ll have to take more advantage of free throw opportunities when given them.
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Taking the points with Tennessee in such a low-total affair isn’t the worst strategy, but at around three points, you’re really banking on the Vols to win outright. Defensively, they’re a match for Duke. However, the concerns come in with their poor free throw shooting. In crunch time – especially in a low-scoring, close game – foul shots win or lose you a game. Duke is the much better team from the charity stripe (76.8%, 26th).
The Blue Devils were clearly undervalued in the first round, and they might be undervalued again in the second round. Tennessee is a flawed team missing one of their core pieces, and you can get their number still at a single possession on Friday. The number is on the move though after opening Duke -2.
Best available odds: Duke