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Duke vs. Houston 2024 Sweet 16 Odds and Preview

By Hank Blaine

Arguably the marquee matchup of the entire Sweet 16 of the 2024 NCAA Tournament is Friday night from the South Region from Dallas as No. 4 Duke takes on No. 1 Houston with the Cougars as short favorites. The winner faces either No. 11 NC State or No. 2 Marquette on Sunday in the region final.

It’s the first-ever meeting between the programs and I expect a down-to-the-wire, low-scoring affair.

Duke Blue Devils vs. Houston Cougars 2024 March Madness Sweet 16 Game Information

  • When: Friday, March 29th, 2024 at 9:39 pm ET
  • Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX
  • TV: CBS
  • Radio: 99.3 FM (Duke) // KBME 790 AM (Houston)
  • Live Stream: March Madness Live
  • NCAAB Betting Odds: Duke (+4) // Houston (-4)

Why Bet on the Duke Blue Devils?

Duke (26-8) is playing arguably its best basketball of the season, routing No. 13 Vermont by 17 in Round 1 of this tournament and then blowing out No. 12 James Madison by a score of 93-55. JMU had the nation’s longest winning streak snapped at 14 games as the Dukes had not lost since January 27. It was the second 14-game streak of the season for James Madison, matching the school record.

Duke shot 52% for the game compared to 38% for JMU. The Blue Devils made 10 more 3-pointers than JMU and cashed in on a 24-4 advantage on points off turnovers. JMU entered the game ranked No. 2 nationally in 3-point percentage defense before Duke hit 50% (14-for-28). The 14 made 3-pointers by Duke were the most by a JMU opponent this season with a previous high of 11 in the second game of the season at Kent State. James Madison then lost its head coach Mark Byington to Vanderbilt.

Freshman Jared McCain led Duke with a career-high 30 points on a school NCAA Tournament record eight made three-pointers. It started right from the jump, when McCain hit a 3-pointer from the left side on the opening possession. The Blue Devils never trailed. McCain did it despite sitting out the final seven-plus minutes of the blowout. They were the second-most three-pointers ever made by a freshman in an NCAA Tournament game behind the nine by Johnny Miller in 1995 for Temple.

McCain became just the second Duke freshman to score 30 or more points in an NCAA Tournament game. Zion Williamson holds the program’s NCAA Tournament freshman scoring record with 32 points against UCF on March 22, 2019. McCain did not commit a turnover, becoming the first freshman since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985 to score at least 30 points with no turnovers.

Tyrese Proctor added four 3-pointers of his own en route to 18 total points. When Proctor makes at least three from beyond the arc, Duke is now 13-1.

Duke’s 93 points tied the most by the Blue Devils in the NCAA Tournament since a 93-85 first-round win over UNC Wilmington on March 17, 2016. The 93 points were third-most scored by Duke this season, and the most since the Blue Devils beat Queens, 106-69, on Dec. 30, 2023. That point total is also the most allowed by JMU in a regulation game this season.

The Blue Devils’ 38-point triumph is the largest margin of victory in an NCAA Tournament second-round contest since a 97-56 win over Tulsa on March 14, 1999. Duke’s defense held JMU to 55 points, matching a season-low by the Dukes and 29.0 below its season average of 84.0. The Blue Devils have held 29 of their 34 opponents to below their respective scoring average.

Duke improved to 121-40 (.752) all-time in the NCAA Tournament, the best winning percentage in tournament history by a team with a minimum of 20 games played. In the past 25 NCAA Tournaments, Duke has advanced to the Sweet 16 in 19 of them. It’s the 29th overall trip to that round.

Why Bet on the Houston Cougars?

Houston (32-4) had no trouble in Round 1 vs. Long Beach State but pushed to overtime in Round 2 vs. Texas A&M before prevailing 100-95. Emanuel Sharp started overtime with a 3-pointer that put Houston ahead to stay. The Aggies forced overtime with a furious rally, outscoring Houston 17-5 in the final two minutes of regulation. This will be Houston’s fifth straight Sweet 16 and 16th all-time. The Cougars improved to 8-2 as a No. 1 seed.

Senior guard Jamal Shead had 21 points and 10 assists for Houston. He was one of four Cougars who fouled out. Senior L.J. Cryer added 20 points, and senior J’Wan Roberts fought through a knee issue with 13.

“We’re very fortunate tonight to win. Texas A&M could’ve won that game,” Sampson said. “But only one team can advance. I’ve learned not to autopsy wins at this time of the year. So we move on.”

Shead was the Big 12 Player of the Year and Sampson the Big 12 Coach of the Year and both are up for national honors. Last week, Shead was recognized as a Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Finalist. He joined Purdue’s Zach Edey as the nation’s only student-athletes to be a finalist for both Naismith Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year.

Houston leads the nation in scoring defense (57.0 ppg), turnover margin (7.1) and field goal percentage defense (37.9, 1st) and ranks among the country’s Top 10 in turnovers per game (8.9, 7th) and steals per game (10.0, 7th). The Cougars have held 22 opponents to 60 or fewer points and rank third in the country with a +16.4 scoring margin.

Duke vs. Houston Betting Trends

  • Duke is 10-3 ATS in the last 13 games.
  • Blue Devils are 10-3 SU in its last 13 games.
  • The total went under in 10 of Duke’s last 13 games.
  • Houston is 4-2 ATS in the last 6 games.
  • Cougars are 13-1 SU in its last 14 games.
  • The total went over in 6 of Houston’s last 9 games.

Duke vs. Houston 2024 Sweet 16 Expert Prediction

Duke takes the win on Friday night and heads into the Elite Eight.

Where to Bet on the 2024 March Madness Tournament with Crypto

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This is just one of the many sports betting guides that you can read here at Nitrobetting news. Stay tuned for more 2024 March Madness Tournament previews and articles, and don’t forget to check out the latest college basketball odds on our online Crypto sportsbook.

*All odds stated are subject to change without prior notice.

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