The five seed in the East Region, Duke, faces off against fourth-seeded Tennessee for the right to head to the Sweet Sixteen. It is time to continue our March Madness odds series with a Duke-Tennessee prediction and pick.

Duke is coming in off of a route of Oral Roberts. Duke held Oral Roberts star player, Abmas, to only 12 points on 4/12 shooting. At the same time, guard Jeremy Roach matched a career-high in points with 23. This was the first March Madness game as the head man for John Scheyer and Duke controlled it. Tennessee has much more trouble in their first-round game. They held off Louisiana after nearly giving up an 18-point lead. Their 18 turnovers should give concern for the Volunteers as they hope to reach the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2019. 

Here are the Duke-Tennessee March Madness odds, courtesy of FanDuel. 

March Madness Odds: Duke-Tennessee Odds

Duke: -3.5 (-102)

Tennessee: +3.5 (-120)

Over: 127.5 (-115)

Under: 127.5 (-105)

How To Watch Duke vs. Tennessee


Stream: NCAA March Madness App

Time: 2:40 PM ET/ 11:40 AM PT

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Why Duke Could Cover The Spread

Junior Jeremy Roach and the Duke offense average 71.8 points per game, while only giving up 63.8 points per game. This offensive power was on full display Thursday. Duke put up 74 points while shooting 48.4 percent from the field. That is a full three percentage points higher than their season average. They also played well on the defensive end, holding Oral Roberts to 30.2% shooting, forcing nine turnovers, and having six blocks. Duke shut down the combination of Abmas and McBride, holding them to a combined 20 points. That combo averaged over 32 points per game on the season. 

Oral Roberts went into the match-up with the 33rd-rated adjusted efficiency offense according to KenPom. As a team, the Golden Eagles were third in points per game, at 84.2 points per outing. This bodes well for Duke considering how well they just played. Tennessee is 62nd in adjusted offensive efficiency per KenPom. They were also 179th in scoring offense, at only 71.4 points per game. 

Duke was also able to force turnovers in their game against Oral Roberts. Oral Roberts. Was 6th in the nation in taking care of the ball, and Duke was 304th in the nation in forcing turnovers, but Duke still got some turnovers out of Oral Roberts. Tennessee is 166th in turnovers and almost lost their matchup in the first round due to turnover issues.  If Roach can play as he did on offense, and Duke can capitalize on turnovers, they will win and advance.

Why Tennessee Could Cover The Spread

Tennessee almost blew their game against Louisiana. They had 18 turnovers during the game and nearly blew an 18-point lead. After Louisiana tied up the game with 4:37 left in the first half, Tennessee went on a run. They went on an 11-0 run to end the half, and combined with the 18-11 run to start the second, an overall run of 27-11 gave them a huge lead with 12:02 left in the game. Tennessee then did not hit a basket for five minutes. In that span, Louisiana scored ten points, and Tennessee missed two shots, and two free throws while turning over the ball twice. 

Tennessee has an amazing defense though. The defense ranks 2nd in the nation according to adjusted defensive rating per KenPom. They were third in the nation in points allowed per game at 57.9 points per game. Guard Zakai Zeigler is tied for 42nd in the nation with 1.97 steals per game. Him being out is a major blow to this defense, as he would have matched up against Roach. 

Zeigler is also averaging 10.7 points per game on the season, good for 2nd on the team. Guard Jahmai Mashack will try to be his replacement. He was the team’s second-leading scorer against Louisiana, and also averaged 1.6 steals per game on the season. Vescovi was the leading scorer on the team this year but struggled to get going against Louisiana. His three-point output was the worst of the season for him, and something he should bounce back from. It may not be the biggest concern though. When Vescovi is held under ten points, the team around him picks it up, and they are 9-1 on the season. 

Final Duke-Tennessee Prediction & Pick

If Tennessee plays as they did against Louisiana, they will not be long for this tournament. They have a great defense, but mistakes let Louisiana back in the game. This matches two solid defensive teams against each other, as both are top 15 in adjusted defensive efficiency according to KenPom. Both teams also like to keep the tempo slow during the game. The total is low at 127.5, but both teams scoring right around 60 points is the most likely outcome.

Final Duke-Tennessee Prediction & Pick: Under 127.5 (-105)