UConn vs. Duke: How to pick, bet Sweet 16 odds in 2024 women’s March Madness Portland bracket

The UConn Huskies will take on the Duke Blue Devils in the Sweet 16 of the 2024 women’s March Madness tournament this Saturday evening (8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN, live streaming on Sling). The Huskies enter the weekend as solid -8.5 favorites, but we have identified plenty of value betting opportunities for this exciting primetime clash. 

Breakout superstar Paige Bueckers has been awesome for Geno Auriemma’s squad, and the UConn coach said recently that the Huskies will go as far as she takes them. But they’re much more than just one player — they also have an uber-talented freshman class, highlighted by Ashlynn Shade and KK Arnold, and a constant double-double threat in Aaliyah Edwards. 

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Duke has plenty of talent, too. Junior guard Reigan Richardson leads a well-balanced Blue Devils scoring attack, and the size, skill, and depth of Kara Lawson’s squad has made it one of the better defensive teams of the postseason. 

This should be a great game, so let’s get right into the BetMGM betting odds for UConn vs. Duke. We’ll then point out some key stats and trends, and make our predictions and picks against the spread

UConn vs. Duke odds

Updated Sweet 16 odds have UConn as a solid 8.5-point favorite entering Saturday’s matchup, according to BetMGM.

  • Odds: UConn (-8.5), O/U 126.5
  • Date: Saturday, March 30
  • Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN/Sling
  • Arena: Moda Center in Portland, OR (buy tickets)

UConn (31-5, 18-0 in Big East)

Like their male counterparts, the UConn women have been dominant this season. The Huskies cruised through the Big East, winning the regular season and conference tournament titles, and Bueckers and Shade have done big-time damage through their first two March Madness victories. 

Like always, Auriemma’s squad is well-balanced. The Huskies are ranked fourth in offensive rating and seventh in defensive rating, second in field-goal percentage and 10th in opposing field-goal percentage. They rack up a ton of assists and prevent opponents from doing the same with their pesky perimeter defense and proven ability to jump passing lanes. This team could make a deep run. 

Key players

Paige Bueckers, G, Sr. (5-11): 21.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 3.9 apg

Aaliyah Edwards, F, Sr. (6-3): 17.6 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 2.1 apg

Ashlynn Shade, G, Fr. (5-10): 11.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.5 apg

Duke (22-11, 11-7 in ACC)

Duke has gotten to this point thanks in large part to its defense. Kara Lawson’s squad averaged just 68.9 points per game this season, 113th in the nation, while maintaining the 90th-best offensive rating. It has scorers — five different players averaged 8.3 points per game or more — but it doesn’t have a ton of ‘takeover’ players. 

However, sometimes defense still translates to wins in the postseason. Duke held powerhouse NC State to just 54 points in the ACC tournament, and most recently held high-scoring Ohio State to just 63 points in the second round of March Madness. Don’t be surprised if the Blue Devils make things difficult for this UConn team. 

Key players

Reigan Richardson, G, Jr. (5-11): 12.4 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.6 apg

Taina Mair, G, Fr. (5-9): 9.9 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.7 apg

Oluchi Okananwa, G, Fr. (5-10): 9.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.5 apg

MORE: Buy tickets for the Sweet 16 in Portland!

UConn vs. Duke prediction

We love the fight and heart the young Blue Devils have demonstrated this postseason, but we think the fun stops here for Duke. UConn has far too dynamic an offensive attack, not to mention better coaching and more experience. We also don’t see anybody slowing down Bueckers, who has been as good as anyone in the nation during this run. 

FINAL SCORE PREDICTION: UConn 71, Duke 62 — The Huskies win (-375) and cover the spread (-8.5), with the score going well OVER the total (126.5).

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