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Duke Odds: Kyrie Irving Injury

The Duke Blue Devils received some devastating news on Wednesday; freshman point guard Kyrie Irving will be out for an extended period of time (and possibly the entire season) with a toe injury.

In losing one of their most important weapons, Duke becomes a much less clear favorite in odds to win the NCAAB Championship. Will March madness futures odds change to reflect this shift in power?

So far, most sportsbooks seem to be taking a wait and see approach to the injury news. As of right now, Duke is still the heavy favorite at +175 at Sportsbook.ag and +200 at Bovada.

There is no doubt that Irving’s injury will be a major blow to Duke; the question is simply whether or not he’ll be able to return this season.

Coach Krzyzewski stated Wednesday that “it’s a serious injury”, and that “he could be out for a long time.” When asked if he will be out the rest of the year, Coach Krzyzewski responded “he could be, he could be.” According to sources, Irving didn’t break his toe, but may have torn a ligament.

The Blue Devils are waiting for more information before making any decisions about Irving’s future.

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Irving, projected to be a top-three pick in next year’s NBA draft before the injury, was a highly-touted recruit that has stepped in and played brilliantly at Duke. Irving led the team with 17.4 points per game, and showed off his ability to take over a game when he dropped a season-high 31 points in a big 84-79 win over then No. 6 Michigan State.

You can’t replace an elite talent like Irving. Duke will move Nolan Smith to point guard, where he used to play before losing the job to Jon Scheyer midseason in 2008-09. Smith is an excellent guard, but some have questioned whether he has the mental makeup to run the game from the point. He did nothing to prove anyone wrong in Duke’s 83-48 win over Bradley on Wednesday, shooting 0-for-8 from the floor.

If it is determined that Irving will miss the duration of the 2010-11 season as well as the NCAAB Championship Tournament, Duke’s odds will go up. They are still an elite team with players like Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler, but they wouldn’t be a clear step ahead of the pack anymore.

With Duke’s future odds rising, elite teams like Ohio State, Michigan State, Kansas, and Pittsburgh will soon fall. If you were considering placing a futures bet on one of these teams, check out current lines at MyBookie or Bovada and consider acting now. March Madness is about to get a lot crazier if the injury is as bad as it is anticipated to be.