Duke vs. Tennessee odds, prediction, betting trends for 2023 March Madness Round of 32 matchup


Sometimes, the NCAA Tournament delivers on the chalk, like when fifth-seeded Duke destroyed 12th-seeded Oral Roberts in the first round, and fourth-seeded Tennessee scraped by 13th-seeeded Louisiana-Lafayette. Now the Blue Devils and Volunteers get to square off in what should be one of the more entertaining second-round battles on Saturday (2:40 p.m. ET, CBS). We have all the odds, trends, and predictions to get you ready to bet this weekend showdown of southern powerhouses. 

For first-year Duke head coach Jon Scheyer, memories of a rocky start to his succession of legendary Coach K are deep in the rear-view mirror. The Blue Devils have won 10 games in a row, including an ACC Championship victory over Virginia, and they have put up 78.5 points per game over their past four contests. More impressively, they have surrendered just 62.6 points over their past 15.

Tennessee knows a little something about stifling defense. The Vols held Louisiana to 19 first-half points in the first round, and despite the Ragin’ Cajuns going on a second-half scoring run, Tennessee never surrendered its lead. Without its firm D, who knows where Rick Barnes’ squad would be right now. The Volunteers shot 4-of-16 from three-point land, and no Tennessee player exceeded 12 points. They have averaged 68.2 points per game over their past nine games. 

Here’s everything to know about betting on Duke vs. Tennessee in the 2023 NCAA Tournament, including updated odds, trends, and our prediction for this Round of 32 matchup.  

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Duke vs. Tennessee odds    

Per DraftKings Sportsbook, Missouri currently sits as 6.5-point favorites with the over/under set at 150.5 points. Missouri’s moneyline price of -275 gives it an implied win probability of 73.33 percent, while Princeton’s moneyline price of +230 gives it a 30.30-percent implied win probability.

  • Spread: Duke -3.5 (-115) | Tennessee +3.5 (-105)
  • Total: OVER 128.5 (-105) | UNDER 128.5 (-115)
  • Moneyline: Duke -185 | Tennessee +150

The Dukies get the -3.5 nod from oddsmakers due to their 10-game winning streak and perceived offensive superiority over Tennessee, but it’s by no means a runaway in the eyes of sportsbooks thanks to Tennessee’s able to stymy opponents on the defensive end. The 128.5 total is one of the lowest over/unders we’ve seen through the first few days of the tournament. Limbo total — how low can we go!?

Three betting trends to watch 

— Duke has gone 27-8 straight up this season but just 16-19 against the spread. However, it has covered five straight spreads and seven of its past nine.

— Tennessee has failed to cover nine of its past 13 spreads, and it has only won six games straight up during that 13-game stretch. 

— The OVER has gone just 13-21-1 in Duke’s games this season, and 13-20-1 in Tennessee’s games. 

Duke key players  

Big men Kyle Filipowski and Dereck Lively II obviously come to mind first when thinking about the Blue Devils, but the first round reminded us that Duke has plenty of offensive firepower beyond its top two bigs. Athletic small forward and team captain Jeremy Roach displayed his multifaceted scoring ability, pouring in 23 points on 9-of-17 shooting. Five-star freshman forward Dariq Whitehead dropped in three treys, finishing with 13 points. When it’s on, Jon Scheyer’s squad can put up 70-plus in its sleep. 

Tennessee key players  

Tennessee has missed the scoring punch provided by guard Zakai Ziegler, who recently underwent surgery to repair his torn ACL and will not be with the team this weekend. The Vols often looked stagnant offensively in their first-round victory, with only guards Jahmai Mashack and Tyreke Key reaching double-digits in points. Guard Santiago Vescovi has plenty of talent, but he’ll need to be more assertive offensively if Tennessee has any shot at advancing to the Sweet 16. As Virginia keeps teaching us nearly every year, defense only wins championships if it’s coupled with above-average offense, a luxury this Tennessee squad does not possess.

Best individual matchup: Kyle Filipowski vs. Olivier Nkamhoua

Filipowski, who logged 20 points and 10 rebounds in Duke’s ACC title win, apparently suffered from an illness in the first round against Oral Roberts. He topped out at six points and nine rebounds in 26 minutes, but the Blue Devils still obliterated the mid-major. They may need more scoring from their star this time around against the Volunteers, who allowed the third-fewest points per game this season (57.9). As for Tennessee, it will need Helsinki native Nkamhoua to assert every bit of his 6-9, 240-pound frame against Filipowski and Lively, two of the more physical interior threats in the NCAA. Nkamhoua has averaged 10 points, five rebounds, and two assists while shooting 51.1 percent from the floor. 

Duke vs. Tennessee stat to know

132.8. That’s the average you get when you average out each of these team’s scoring averages and average points allowed. Tennessee makes up for its middling offense with the second-best defensive rating in the nation. Duke ranked 30th in points surrendered per game but finished the season with a more balanced rating on both ends of the floor, ranking top 56 in both. It’s easy to see why oddsmakers played over/under limbo with this game. 

DeCourcy (Alabama) | Bender (Kansas) | Fagan (Marquette) | Pohnl (Kansas)

Duke vs. Tennessee prediction  

Duke is on a whole different stratosphere than Tennessee offensively, and we’ve already seen the Blue Devils take down a defensive powerhouse (Virginia) on the big stage recently (the ACC title game doesn’t measure up to March Madness, but it sure comes close). Considering Tennessee struggled to get past the Ragin’ Cajuns in the first round, we think Jon Scheyer’s squad will handle the Volunteers in convincing fashion this weekend. 

Prediction: Duke 69, Tennessee 63. Duke (-3.5) covers the spread with the game going OVER the total (128.5).