Duke vs. Houston Best Bet and Prediction for 3/29 March Madness Game

The Duke Blue Devils face their toughest challenge of the season so far in their Sweet 16 matchup against the Houston Cougars.
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The Duke Blue Devils entered the NCAA Tournament with a few pressing questions. Despite having a solid regular season, their performance against the best teams and the ACC Tournament left plenty to be desired. After two rounds of March Madness, however, those questions have found their answers and Duke is exactly where they hoped they would be at this stage of the season.

After two dominant wins against Vermont and James Madison, the Blue Devils are now facing the 1-seed Houston Cougars. It will certainly be the toughest challenge of the tournament so far, but Duke has a few advantages that they can feel good about heading into Friday.

Duke vs. Houston Odds, Spread, and Total

Duke vs. Houston Best Bet and Prediction

Houston is coming off a hard-fought overtime win against Texas A&M in the round of 32. What seemed like a victory in the fourth-quarter slipped out of the Cougars' hands and turned into an overtime thriller. Fortunately for head coach Kelvin Sampson, his team held on despite having four of his starters fouling out in the process.

The Cougars will continue to be short-handed the rest of the way as three rotation players; Terrance Arcenaux, Joseph Tugler, and Ramon Walker are all out for the season while J'Wan Roberts is playing through an injury he suffered in the first round.

This takes away the depth disadvantage Duke usually has against the best teams in the country. However, Houston will still be a tough and physical team that will be difficult to score on. They are active defenders who force a ton of turnovers.

If Duke can take care of the ball and stay out of foul trouble, they have a decent chance of beating Houston. This Cougars team is not the same team that won 14 of their last 15 games in the Big 12.

Houston is favored by 4.5 points, but Duke should be able to keep it close. Duke +4.5 is a decent option but betting on a low-scoring affair considering how good the Blue Devils' defense also looked lately seems like the safer choice.

My pick: Under 133.5

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Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.