The NIT Season Tip-Off tournament gets underway, as the Duke Blue Devils face the UNC Ashville Bulldogs. Where have our cappers decided to place their NCAA Basketball picks in this tilt?

The Duke Blue Devils cruised in Friday’s 97-64 victory over the Florida Atlantic Owls, cashing at NCAAB betting windows as 31 ½-point home ‘chalk.’  Mike Krzyzewski’s squad remains in Durham for Monday’s first round of the NIT Season Tip-Off against the UNC Asheville Bulldogs.

Blue Devils, Parker light up Owls

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Blue Devils freshman Jabari Parker logged his season’s first double-double against Florida Atlantic, notching 21 points and a team-high 10 boards. The Chicago native drilled 4-of-6 shots from three-point land, while adding two of his side’s eight steals. 

Duke’s Rodney Hood sank 12-of-13 free throws, finishing with a season-high 28 points in 26 minutes of action. Blue Devils mates Amile Jefferson and Semi Ojeleye came away with one block each, while guard Quinn Cook picked up eight assists.

The lopsided affair’s combined 161 points slipped above the closing ‘total’ of 160 ½, moving the OVER to 2-0 in Duke’s last pair of battles. Parker and Co. jumped out to a 52-29 halftime lead, while holding the Owls to 37.1 percent field shooting.

Bulldogs, Rowsey survive in O.T. 

UNC Asheville recorded its season’s first win on the same night’s card, edging the Charleston Cougars in a 67-58 overtime win. The Bulldogs connected from the floor at a 46.2 percent clip, while sinking 14-of-15 free throws. 

Bulldogs guard Andrew Rowsey piled in a team-high 23 points, draining 3-of-6 buckets beyond the arc. UNC Asheville’s D.J. Cunningham registered a second straight double-double, putting up 12 points en route to 10 rebounds. 

The Bulldogs went scoreless in the final three minutes of regulation, allowing Charleston to notch five unanswered points and force extra minutes. Rowsey and Co. reeled off an 8-2 run at the start of overtime, while Cunningham finished with six of his squad’s 11 blocks.

Back the Bulldogs to cash 

NCAA Basketball odds first opened Duke as a 26 ½-point home favorite, with early wagers on UNC-Asheville moving the number south to 25 ½. The winning squad will advance to Tuesday’s quarterfinals against either the East Carolina Pirates or Norfolk State Spartans. 

I am tailing the ‘steam’ here, taking the points with the Bulldogs as part of Monday’s NCAA Basketball picks.

The Duke Blue Devils have had their share of octane out of this year’s gate, but could leave the ‘back door’ open here with another matchup looming on Tuesday. The Blue Devils are 1-4 ATS in their last five contests that followed a duel of scoring over 90 points, coming in overvalued again here.

UNC-Asheville cashed with a 2-0 spread record in last year’s pair of spots as a double-digit underdog, getting the money against the Ohio State Buckeyes and Tennessee Volunteers. D.J. Cunningham heads into this affair leading the Big South Conference in blocks (4 BPG), while ranked as one of the group’s top two rebounders (10.7 RPG). 

The Bulldogs are an undervalued 13-3-1 ATS in their last 17 contests that came after a victory, while notching a 6-1 spread mark in their last seven battles against foes with winning records. Look for Cunningham and Co. to get the money again here, connecting just enough buckets to stay within cashing range. 

NCAA Basketball Pick:  UNC Asheville Bulldogs +25 ½ at Bet365