Tuesday Totals: Best Bets for February

It just feels like Duke-Kentucky is inevitable in the tournament, doesn’t it? Once again, the Blue Devils got whacked on the road, barely competing against Miami to keep their resume devoid of any good road wins. Duke has played well in a true road game exactly once this year: at an awful Georgia Tech team that’s 1-12 in the ACC. If not for neutral-site wins over Xavier and Iowa, we’d have to seriously be talking about Duke missing the tournament.

And here’s the other thing with that: Duke is almost out of chances. The Blue Devils have no Quad 1 wins in a true road setting and only two more opportunities: Virginia and North Carolina. Otherwise, there’s no real meat on this resume. Duke will probably be fine overall, but their road play remains a mess and offers a real chance to fade them. Remember, the public loves to bet big names, and when names struggle to do the job, fading them yields some strong results.

We don’t have any huge names in play for today, but it’s something to keep in mind for later in the week. Here are my plays for February 6.


Odds are that we’re going to need Chicago to do the bulk of the scoring. Anaheim’s lost eight in a row to the Blackhawks, and the Ducks come in on night two of a back-to-back. That means dead legs likely come into play, which hasn’t worked out well for Anaheim this season. The Ducks are 1-10 on a back-to-back, and the Blackhawks have hit the Ducks for four or more in four of their past eight meetings. I don’ love taking Chicago’s offense, but the value lies with the Hawks.


The same principle applies to the Islanders, who played in Philadelphia on Monday and had to travel home to face a rested Seattle side. The Kraken play a defensive style and so does New York, which means that goals aren’t likely to come for either side. These teams will likely slow the game down and limit scoring chances. If there are goals, they’re far more likely to come from Seattle than New York.


This will not be easy to reach, but it should be manageable. These teams put up points when they face off, as they combined for 167 points when they met in Chapel Hill. In eight of the past 11 meetings, they’ve gone over this number, and they’ve topped 150 in 10 of 11 matchups. The last time they met in Winston-Salem, Steve Forbes’ team went for 98 points, and the Deacons have won the past two at the Joel by double digits. That could make Wake and the over a very attractive pairing.


As long as the opponent isn’t Virginia Tech, Virginia handles opposing offenses pretty well. The Cavaliers struggle against teams that pound the paint, and that’s really not what State does all that well. The Wolfpack excel more at the deep shot, which is much easier for the Cavaliers to contest. The teams have gone under this number in every meeting in Charlottesville since Tony Bennett took over, so grinders are common at John Paul Jones Arena for these teams. Expect Virginia to dictate the pace in a low-scoring game.


The Octagon of Doom has been exactly that for offenses. As long as the game doesn’t go to overtime, the under has been the way to play whenever Power 6 teams come to Manhattan. K-State has played out five unders out of five against P6 opponents without overtime, with only Kansas and West Virginia going over after they went to the extra session. TCU has played well on offense as of late, but the Frogs are playing consecutive road games after a tough loss in Stillwater. A game at Bramlage isn’t a good recipe for points.

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