It’s not your typical college basketball season for a number of reasons. The obvious is the affect COVID has had on scheduling. The other is that the Duke Blue Devils are not in the national rankings and in danger of falling below .500 if they can’t get past the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on Tuesday. Losers of three straight, the Dookies are out of the top-25 for the first time since 2016 and just 5-5 on the year. That puts Tech in a good spot to end their 13-game losing streak in the series. Bookmaker.eu offers a generous welcome bonus (max bonus $1600)
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Duke Blue Devils
Date and Time: Tuesday, January 26, 2021, 9 p.m. ET
Location: Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, NC
Opening College Basketball Odds: Duke -5, O/U 141.5
Georgia Tech at Duke TV Coverage: ESPN
The Jackets had their five-game winning streak snapped at Virginia, 64-62, over the weekend. It was a frustrating loss since they had the lead for most of the game but failed to close it out. Still, Georgia Tech covered the spread for its fourth straight payout moving to 6-5 ATS on the season. The Jackets have been impacted by COVID with a number of games canceled and postponed. They’ve played just 11 games and only three times in 2021. They take an overall record of 7-4 into just their fourth road game. We don’t often see Duke lose three games in a row. And it’s rare to see them floundering around .500 this late in a season. That’s where the Blue Devils are after their latest setback, 70-65, at Louisville. At least the games have been close, a sign that maybe a breakthrough is close. This squad may be overrated, though. They failed to cover in their last five games and are just 1-9 ATS.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Though they are coming off a loss to No. 13 Virginia in a game they led throughout, the Yellow Jackets have to feel good about their chances of ending a lengthy losing streak to Duke. They haven’t won in the series since 2010 dropping 13 consecutive games, and they haven’t won inside Cameron Indoor Stadium since Mar. 3, 2004 going 0-10 SU and 3-7 ATS. Tech had won five straight prior to the UVA game scoring at least 70 points each time.
The duo of Moses Wright and Jose Alvarado is a handful for any opponent. Alvarado scored 20 points with eight assists and six steals against the Cavs, and he leads the team averaging 17.4 points. Wright averages 17.0 points and a team-best 6.5 rebounds. Both players are shooting better than 52 percent from the field while averaging over 35 minutes of run time. As a team the Jackets are efficient on offense shooting 47.4 percent from the floor and 38.3 percent from behind the arc.
The Jackets don’t have a lot of size and there isn’t much depth, but the group has experience. Especially frustrating for opponents has been a quick three-guard lineup that punished Clemson, a move Josh Pastner made following a COVID break that saw four games postponed. Michael Devoe and Jordan Usher each scored over 20 points while Alvarado had five assists and four steals.
Duke Blue Devils
In a lot of ways this is a typical Duke team, and in more ways it isn’t. No team other than maybe Kentucky has dealt with the one-and-done player more than Coach K, and that’s the case again this season with several first-year players having an important role. But unlike past editions, this group is struggling. There is something to be said about practice and games, especially when working with a young group. Unfortunately this squad hasn’t had much of either. Duke has played only 10 games, the fewest of any ACC team.
And losing isn’t something folks in Durham are used to. Duke lost just six games in each of the previous two seasons while winning at least 25 games. The frustration apparently caught up with Coach K, who had an unpleasant encounter with a student reporter following the loss to Louisville. Duke lost three in a row by a combined 18 points. “The margin between winning and losing for this team is extremely narrow,” Coach K said.
A positive development for Duke is a return to health. A variety of ailments led to inconsistency with only Matthew Hurt in the starting lineup for every game. He scored 24 points against Louisville and leads the team with an average of 19.4 points. Jalen Johnson is a projected lottery pick and needs to play like it for Duke to end this slide. He scored 24 points with 15 boards against Pitt, but had a total of 11 points and four rebounds in the other two losses of the current skid.
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They probably won’t admit it, but the losing streak to Duke is something that bothers the Jackets in a big way. They also have fresh legs after an extended break that should allow the starting five to play major minutes. And the Jackets have a talented top five to get them a big road win.
College Basketball Score Prediction: Georgia Tech 81, Duke 75
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– Phil Simon, Gambling911.com