The Duke Blue Devils’ college basketball odds can fluctuate between good and bad depending on whether junior shooting guard Grayson Allen is good or bad. Allen was a leading Wooden Award candidate at the start of the season, and is the crown jewel in an already star-studded team. However, it seems as if Allen won’t be making Santa’s “nice” list this year. As a matter of fact, Duke has suspended Grayson Allen indefinitely for tripping. And not even tripping balls – which actually worked out just fine for former Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis – but tripping people, specifically Elon Phoenix’s Steven Santa Ana.
No Isolated Event
And it wasn’t an isolated event, either. On February 8th, 2016 Allen tripped Louisville’s Raymond Spalding. And on Thursday, February 25th, he tripped FSU’s Xavier Rathan-Mayes. Unless Allen has undiagnosed restless leg syndrome, the NCAA basketball odds that these incidents are merely accidents are not very good.
Same applies to Duke
And the same applies to Duke’s college basketball odds. As ESPN Senior Writer Dana O’Neil puts it, “it’s time for (Allen) to grow up. Duke’s season might be depending on it.” needless to say, of course, that head coach Mike Krzyzewski had no choice but to discipline Allen, though according to the WaPo’s Barry Svrluga, the suspension comes “10 months too late.”
Matter o Timing
Along with the timing, the length of the suspension is a matter of debate. The Boston Globe says that a “one-game suspension would be enough for Grayson Allen,” while FoxSports’ Chris Chase believes that “anything less” that “a minimum of five games” would send the message that Duke gets preferential treatment by the ACC. On top of the preferential treatment they get from online sportsbooks when it comes to NCAA basketball odds-making. Either way, the question – as formulated by NBC Sports’ Rob Dauster – is not when Allen Returns, but which Allen returns.
For the sake of Duke’s NCAA basketball odds, the Grayson Allen that should come back is one that has the wherewithal to weather a storm of criticism and become the leader that the Blue Devils so sorely need at this juncture – and if possible, also one who does not Pearl Harbor unsuspecting opponents and throws hissy fits on the bench. Echoing O’Neil, Dauster writes that Allen “is, officially, Duke’s difference-maker now.”
To Allen’s credit he did apologize to both Santa Ana and Elon coach Matt Matheny, and as Chase describes it, it was “a sincere-sounding apology… a genuine one in which he apologized to Santa Ana, the officials and his team and called himself selfish.” Then again, Tina must have heard thousands of “sincere-sounding apologies” from Ike before finally reading the writing on the wall.
And it is a bit hard to take Allen seriously, in particular considering he said he was ready to put the tripping incidents behind him before the start of the 2016 season. Now we know how well that worked out for him. Hopefully he got that last one out of his system, and not just so Duke’s college basketball odds improve. After all, few people want another Draymond Green – or the one we’ve got now, for that matter.