College hoops betting: We all hate Duke, but it's still a great bet to win it all

·3-min read

One game in and 99 percent of the college basketball world is already sick of the Mike Krzyzewski farewell tour. Sorry, Duke fans. 

We're going to get a lot of over-the-top tributes to Coach K, who is undeniably great and coaches a program that (aside from that Zion Williamson team) has been impossible for the non-Duke fan to root for over the last 30 years. 

But bettors need to follow their heads and not their hearts. On Tuesday, Duke had the look of a team that can easily win a national championship. It won't be fun to root for Duke all season, but its odds are still very good to win it all. 

Duke looked great on Tuesday

Even after Duke beat Kentucky pretty soundly on Tuesday night, the Blue Devils are +1400 to win it all. That's tied for the fifth-best odds. 

Duke was impressive on Tuesday night. Freshman Paolo Banchero showed why he could be the first pick of the NBA draft, and he wasn't even the Blue Devils' best freshman. Trevor Keels, a fellow five-star recruit, was fantastic. He scored 25 points. Holdover Wendell Moore made plays. Mark Williams didn't have a huge impact, but he's a quality big man and a potential first-round NBA draft pick. 

The Blue Devils went 1-of-13 on 3-point shots and still led a talented Kentucky team by double digits for much of the second half. You can wonder if Duke has the shooters to win a national championship, but don't argue with 30-of-48 from 2-point range against a Kentucky team that doesn't lack for size. 

It was an impressive performance, one that leaves little doubt what Duke's ceiling is. 

Trevor Keels (1) of the Duke Blue Devils had a great coming-out party on Tuesday. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Trevor Keels (1) of the Duke Blue Devils had a great coming-out party on Tuesday. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Can Coach K go out on top? 

Then, of course, there's the fact that Duke has one of the greatest coaches ever. 

It's hard to say how the farewell tour will affect the Blue Devils, but it's hard to see it as a negative. Could these Blue Devils players rally around the thought of being the group to send Coach K into retirement with a championship? Sure. 

More than any intangible, Duke has the talent to get it done. It's a team that rarely lacks star players and seems to have the right pieces this year. Shooting is the main concern, and it's hard in the modern basketball world to win if you're a bad 3-point shooting team. That's hard to fix during the season too; usually you either have shooters or you don't. 

But the odds price that in. If Duke had two or three elite 3-point shooters, it wouldn't be 14-to-1 to win it all. What they do have is many good pieces, led by two potential freshman stars in Banchero and Keels. If you can beat Kentucky like Duke did on Tuesday, you can win six games in March Madness too. 

The odds still feel a bit juicy on Duke. You might want to grab that now, because the Blue Devils hype will continue to grow. They won't lack for headlines this season. 

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