College Basketball Betting: Duke Vs. Kentucky Headlines Champions Classic

Jeremy Roach #3 of the Duke Blue Devils concentrates at the free throw line against the Winston-Salem State Rams at Cameron Indoor Stadium on October 30, 2021 in Durham, North Carolina. Duke won 106-38.
Image Credit: Lance King/Getty Images

College basketball odds are back on the board, starting with the Champions Classic that features college hoops blue bloods Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, and Michigan State. The tournament at Madison Square Garden often serves as the first marquee event of the college basketball season, and Tuesday night is no different. tips off the season by diving into the two most notable matchups on Tuesday’s college basketball betting board.

No. 3 Kansas vs Michigan State

Opening line: Kansas -4.5, Over/Under 144
Game time: 7 p.m. ET

Kansas vs Michigan State Betting Action

Kansas is up a tick to -4.5 at TwinSpires Sportsbook, where the Jayhawks are taking 60% of spread tickets and 68% of spread money.

“A mix of public and sharp money on Kansas,” TwinSpires trading analyst Zachary Lucas said.

The total dropped to 140.5, with 58% of tickets/72% of money on the Under.

“Sharp play on the Under,” Lucas said.

Facts and Figures

— Michigan State is 2-1 against Kansas in the Champions Classic. Those three meetings produced a combined average of 154 points.

— Madison Square Garden has been a nightmare Champions Classic venue for Michigan State, which is 0-3 in the iconic building with a minus-33 scoring differential.

— Last season, Michigan State’s final five games had a combined average of 133.2 points. Kansas posted slightly higher tallies, cumulatively averaging 140.4 points over its final five contests.

— Looking at making a first-half wager? The Spartans averaged 30.5 points during first-half action in their final 10 games of the 2020-21 season, going 3-6-1 after 20 minutes. The Jayhawks averaged 31 points at halftime in their final 10 contests last season, going 6-3-1 in the opening half.

Kansas Jayhawks

Forward Jalen Wilson #10 of the Kansas Jayhawks handles the ball during the first half of the college basketball game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at United Supermarkets Arena on December 17, 2020 in Lubbock, Texas.
Image Credit: John E. Moore III/Getty Images

2020-21 record: 21-9 straight-up, 14-14-1 ATS (lost to USC in NCAA Tournament Round 2)
2020-21 stats: 122nd nationally in scoring offense (73.0 ppg), 82nd in scoring defense (67.0 ppg)
2021-22 AP ranking: 3rd
Projected starters:
Remy Martin, Ochai Agbaji, Christian Braun, Jalen Wilson, David McCormack


Kansas should get a significant boost at point guard with Arizona State transfer Martin (19.1 points per game last season). The Martin-Agbaji duo could end up as the nation’s best starting backcourt — and might even rival what Jared Butler and Davion Mitchell last season for eventual national champion Baylor.

Michigan State Spartans

Michigan State Spartans forward Marcus Bingham Jr. (30) listens to instruction from his head coach Tom Izzo during a college basketball game between the Michigan State Spartans and the Grand Valley State Lakers on November 4, 2021 at the Breslin Student Events Center in East Lansing, MI.
Image Credit: Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Last year’s record: 15-13 straight-up, 9-19 ATS (lost to UCLA in NCAA First Four)
2021-21 stats: 230th nationally in scoring offense (69.4 ppg), 202nd in scoring defense (71.1 ppg)
2021-22 AP ranking: Unranked
Projected starters: Tyson Walker (Northeastern transfer), Max Christie, Gabe Brown, Malik Hall, Marcus Bingham


With the arrival of Walker (2021 averages: 18.8 points, 4.8 assists, 2.4 steals), Michigan State should play with more pace and proficiency this season, bringing improvement to a Spartans offense that struggled in numerous Big Ten categories last year, when they ranked 13th in scoring (69.0 points per game), 12th in three-point efficiency (32 percent), and 10th in field-goal shooting (42.4 percent).

No. 9 Duke vs No. 10 Kentucky

Opening line: Duke -1/148.5
Game Time: 9:30 p.m. ET

Duke vs Kentucky Betting Action

The Blue Devils are up to a 3-point favorite at TwinSpires, where ticket count is running 2/1 and money 3/1 on Duke.

“Sharp money on Duke -1, and the public has come over the top on the Blue Devils,” Lucas said. “Duke is our biggest NCAA basketball liability of the day.”

The total is stable at 148.5, with 60% of tickets/54% of money on the Over.

Facts and Figures

— Duke boasts a plus-30 scoring differential over Kentucky from three previous Champions Classic encounters. In 2018, Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, and Cam Reddish (70 combined points) vaulted the Blue Devils to a 118-84 victory — the largest blowout in event history.

— Kentucky is 3-0 with a plus-38 scoring differential in Champions Classic games at Madison Square Garden.

— Last season, Kentucky’s final five games yielded a combined scoring average of 139.4 points. Duke’s last five games in 2020-21 cumulatively averaged 147.6 points.

— For first-half wagering purposes: During its final 10 games last year, Duke enjoyed eight halftime leads while registering a plus-55 point differential. The Wildcats were 5-5 at halftime in their final 10 outings, outscoring those 10 foes by a total of just seven points.

Duke Blue Devils

Head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils looks on during their game against the Winston-Salem State Rams at Cameron Indoor Stadium on October 30, 2021 in Durham, North Carolina. Duke won 106-38.
Image Credit: Lance King/Getty Images

Last year’s record: 13-11 overall, 9-15 ATS (no postseason)
2021-21 stats: 62nd overall in scoring offense (76.0 ppg), 208th in scoring defense (71.3 ppg)
2021-22 AP ranking: 9th
Projected starters: Paolo Banchero, Jeremy Roach, Mark Williams, Wendell Moore, A.J. Griffin


Can coach Mike Krzyzewski capture his sixth national title in his final season at Duke? It’s a  storyline that will garner plenty of attention throughout the season, as Coach K (1,097 all-time coaching wins) caps a 42-year run with the Blue Devils. The good news for Krzyzewski: His 2021-22 Blue Devils team has more depth and game-changing talent than last year’s squad, beginning with blue-chip freshmen Banchero, Griffin, and Trevor Keels.

Kentucky Wildcats

Kentucky Wildcats guard Davion Mintz (10) with the basketball during the second half of the mens college basketball game between the Kentucky Wildcats and North Carolina Tar Heels on December 19, 2020, at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, OH.
Image Credit: Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

2020-21 record: 9-16 overall, 7-16-2 ATS (no NCAA postseason)
2021-21 rankings: 197th nationally in scoring offense (70.4 ppg), 179th in scoring defense (70.2 ppg)
2021-22 AP ranking: 10th
Projected starters: Davion Mintz, Daimion Collins, TyTy Washington, Kellan Grady, CJ Fredrick


It’s been three long years since John Calipari’s Wildcats have experienced NCAA Tournament pressure. Per usual, Calipari watched a handful of last year’s players bolt for the NBA. But unlike previous campaigns, the Kentucky coach has chosen to reload with a three-way combination of transfers (Kellan Grady, Fredrick, and Oscar Tshiebwe), top-flight freshmen (Collins, Washington, and Bryce Hopkins), and actual returnees from last season (Mintz and Keion Brooks Jr.).