No. 9 Duke and No. 10 Kentucky meet at Madison Square Garden to open the season in the 2021 Champions Classic.
Both team's missed the NCAA Tournament last season, but bring in immense talent as they look to get back on track.
We'll start with Duke, who has the No. 2 recruit in the country Paolo Banchero and another top 20 one in AJ Griffin. This will be coach Mike Krzyzewski's last season on the sidelines, and those two will look to make a deep run into March.
On the other side, John Calipari took a different route than his typical one-and-done mantra to rebuild his roster. For starters, the team brings back several key contributors like Davion Mintz, Jacob Toppin and Keion Brooks while also loading up on transfers. C.J. Fredrick, Oscar Thsiebwe, Kellan Grady and Sahvir Wheeler all bring some much needed experience to the floor.
Who has the edge in what could be a NCAA Tournament matchup on the first night of the season?
Let's get to the odds from WynnBET Sportsbook.
Kentucky vs. Duke Odds, Spread and Total
- Kentucky: +1.5 (-110)
- Duke: -1.5 (-110)
- Kentucky: +105
- Duke: -125
Total: 147.5 (Over -110/Under -110)
Kentucky vs. Duke Prediction and Pick
There are two key injuries to keep an eye on for this one, which can effect how to bet this game. While Banchero is the headline name for the Blue Devils, the team may be without Griffin, who is recovering from a sprained right knee. Griffin will give Duke a versatile two-way threat and the Blue Devils have less depth than their opponents this season.
As for Kentucky, Frederick, the Iowa transfer, is likely going to be limited as well. He is recovering from a leg injury.
Both teams are trying to fit new pieces together, and I can see that leading to a defensive struggle. Banchero gives Duke a go-to scorer, and Kentucky added some necessary perimeter shooting in the likes of Grady from Davidson, but it takes time to gel and I envision a slow start for two teams that may need to shake off some nerves under the bright lights of MSG.
147 is a fairly high total for a college basketball game and I'm always looking to fade points in these neutral site, early season matchups. I'm holding out until we get some more news on the injury status' of Griffin and Fredrick but as of now my lean is towards the under.
Lean: UNDER 147.5 (-110)