Duke vs. Florida State Prediction: Expect Points in this ACC Heavyweight Matchup

College basketball expert Mike Spector breaks down this matchup between two of the ACC's top contenders in Duke and Florida State.
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Duke vs. Florida State Prediction: Expect Points in this ACC Heavyweight Matchup

The Duke Blue Devils and Florida State Seminoles were projected to finish first and second in the Preseason ACC Media Poll. While the Seminoles struggled through a three-game losing streak earlier this season, they are still in a position to pass Duke in the conference standings with a win tonight. This is the first time in the last seven meetings between these teams where both are not ranked in the Top 25, but it should be a fun matchup nonetheless.

Can the Seminoles return to their Top 25 form, or will the Blue Devils prove why they were tabbed as the conference’s best team? Here are our picks and predictions for the ACC matchup between Duke and Florida State.

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Duke vs Florida State Prediction

Duke (14-2, 4-1) bounced back from a home loss to Miami with consecutive league wins over Wake Forest and N.C. State. The Blue Devils have been dominant in their 14 wins, as their three-point victory over Gonzaga is their only win of the season by fewer than eight points. 

Mike Krzyzewski has had Leonard Hamilton’s number of late. The Blue Devils have won five straight games against the Seminoles and nine of their last ten.

Florida State (10-5, 4-2) has won five of their last six games after a mid-season three-game losing streak. The Seminoles have lost just once on their home court, a 63-60 loss to Syracuse, which was their worst shooting performance of the season. Florida State shot 4-for-30 (13.3%) in that game from 3-point range, a far cry from their 34.9% team average. 

Leonard Hamilton’s squad kept things together when it looked like their season was spiraling out of control after three straight losses from late November to mid-December. They followed up that losing streak with a 22-point loss at Wake Forest three games later. However, one must remember that that game against the Demon Deacons was their second game back from a 17-day COVID-19 pause, while they have re-gained their momentum and been playing with more confidence ever since. Their biggest win in league play was against in-state rival Miami, which still stands as the Hurricanes’ only ACC loss. In addition, they avenged that earlier loss to Syracuse with a five-point win at the Carrier Dome.

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Florida State has the length to force Duke to be a jump-shooting team, as their 14.2% blocked shot percentage ranks 25th in the country. In addition, the Seminoles turn opponents over at a top-25 rate. That could spell trouble for a Duke team who has tweaked their lineup and given forward A.J. Griffin more minutes at the expense of sophomore point guard Jeremy Roach.

Hamilton’s approach tonight will be similar to every other game, attempting to wear down opponents with relentless full-court man-to-man pressure. Floria State has 11 players averaging more than ten minutes per game. Duke is not nearly as deep, and that could play a significant factor in the waning minutes of this game.

These factors have us leaning toward grabbing the points with Florida State, but the over is the smarter play. Duke may have fewer ball handlers on the floor with their tweaked lineup of Griffin over Roach, but their offense has played much better with the new-look lineup. Duke averaged 73 points per game in the three games before the change. But in their last two wins since, Duke has averaged 82 PPG and shot 39.3% from 3-point range, better than their 36.2% team average to this point.

The under is 4-1 in Duke’s last five games as road favorites and is 4-0-1 in Florida State’s last five games as home underdogs. However, Florida State has averaged close to 76 PPG during their 5-1 stretch, and we like the contrarian aspect of this play in a game where we expect each team to exceed 70 points, pushing this total over the projected number.

Duke vs. Florida State Line Movement

Duke vs. Florida State Pick

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Mike Spector brings unmatched knowledge and insight into the game of football, and more importantly the process of betting on NFL football. Mike is the #2 ranked expert in FantasyPros' NFL betting contest

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