Appalachian State vs. Duke NCAA Basketball Odds, Preview, and Prediction

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Michael Almonacy #5 of the Appalachian State. Stacy Revere/Getty Images/AFP

Early bettors are putting the Appalachian State Mountaineers (+20.5 away) in Thursday’s NCAAB picks instead of the Duke Blue Devils. 

 Appalachian State Mountaineers vs. Duke Blue Devils 

Thursday, December 16, 2021 – 07:00 PM EST at Cameron Indoor Stadium

Everybody knows about the Duke Blue Devils. You either love them or you hate them – probably the former. And you know about head coach Mike Krzyzewski, who will resign at the end of the 2021-22 campaign after more than 40 years in Durham. You also know his players are going to go the extra mile this year, and they’re getting the job done thus far at 8-1 SU and 4-3-2 ATS. 
 
But, what about the Appalachian State Mountaineers (6-5 SU, 3-4-1 ATS)? You might know more about their football team, which was good enough to drag the entire athletic program (most of it, anyway) from the Southern Conference into the Sun Belt back in 2014. 

The basketball Mountaineers opened as 22-point road dogs versus Duke on Thursday’s NCAAB odds board at the top-rated sportsbooks, then quickly moved to +20.5 in early betting. Is it too late for us to jump on board? 

Mountain Moonshine

Maybe not. Ken Pomeroy has Duke ranked seventh overall inefficiency margin (No. 11 offense, No. 15 defense) at plus-23.98, suggesting they’re a bit over-valued at No. 2 in the polls. App State checks in at No. 174 in Division I (No. 208 offense, No. 149 defense) with a minus-0.45 margin, so in theory, the Blue Devils are 24.43 points better than the Mountaineers per 100 possessions. 
 
They’ll need multiple overtime to get that many possessions in.
Duke isn’t slowpokes by any means at 71.0 possessions per game (No. 68) against the average D-I team, but 71 percent of 24.43 is still.... let’s see, carry the one... 17.34 points. And the Mountaineers are one of the slowest teams anywhere at 65.0 possessions per game (No. 325). Suffice to say, 20.5 points looks like way too many points according to the Pomeroy stats. 

Pick On Someone Your Own Size 

So why do the Blue Devils look worse on paper than in the standings? Strength of schedule has a lot to do with it; Duke did play and beat both Gonzaga and Kentucky earlier this year, but Pomeroy still ranks their schedule No. 233 out of this year’s 358 D-I programs.

App State’s schedule checks in at No. 154 overall, and they’ve been the underdogs in five of their games already, going 1-4 SU and 2-2-1 ATS. 

The Mountaineers are also on a bit of a roll at 4-2 SU and 3-0-1 ATS in their last six games – two of those were against Division II teams and didn’t have betting lines attached. They’re almost certainly going to get their butts handed to them by Duke, but their glacial tempo makes App State one of our easier college basketball picks here at the ranch.  

NCAAB Pick: Appalachian State +20.5 (–110) with BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Appalachian State +20.5 (–110)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.