Duke vs. Vermont Best Bet and Prediction for 3/22 March Madness Game

There's one bet Duke fans should hone in on for this NCAA Tournament contest
Kyle Filipowski had 28 points and 14 rebounds against NC State
Kyle Filipowski had 28 points and 14 rebounds against NC State / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 4 Duke Blue Devils take on the No. 13 Vermont Catamounts in the South Region in the first round of the NCAA Tournament after a disappointing early exit in the ACC Tournament.

Vermont has 10 straight wins, though they've failed to cover the spread in four straight contests to close the year. They're one of the better defensive teams in the country, but Duke has advantages across the board that should propel it to a victory.

It makes sense that the Blue Devils are double-digit favorites, though my favorite bet on the contest comes on the total instead. Let's take a look at the latest odds before diving into the first-round matchup.

Duke vs. Vermont Odds, Spread and Total

Duke vs. Vermont Best Bet and Prediction

Duke opened as 11.5-point favorites with massive -780 odds on the moneyline and a total set at 132.5. That's the second-lowest total for a Blue Devils game in 2024, though I still expect the game to go under in a defensive slugfest.

The Blue Devils are an excellent offensive team, but their defense has reached new heights in recent weeks, helping the under go 11-3 in their last 14 games. However, this bet is more about the statistical profile that the Catamounts bring.

Vermont ranks 350th nationally in pace, ranking 23rd in opponent effective field goal percentage (46.7%). They're 11th in turnover percentage (13.8%) and 299th in defensive turnover percentage (15.1%) while ranking 268th in free throw rate (29.7%) and 25th in defensive free throw rate (25.9%).

Essentially, that means games involving Vermont include very little points in transition or at the charity stripe. By utilizing a methodical game plan, the Catamounts slow contests to a crawl. As a result, the under is 16-3 in their last 19 contests.

Unless Jeremy Roach regains his mid-season form and starts draining shots from beyond the arc, it's tough to imagine a high-scoring affair. Trust the trends and stylistic matchup and take the under in the first round.

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Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.