College Basketball Pick: Duke vs Wake Forest
Wake Forest Demon Deacons (11-17 SU, 11-17 ATS) vs. Duke Blue Devils (25-4 SU, 17-12 ATS)
When: Tuesday, March 5, 2019 – 7 p.m. ET
Where: Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, North Carolina
By: Matt Lowry, College Basketball Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: WAKE +26.5 / DUKE -26.5 (MyBookie Sportsbook)
Total: O/U 154.5
Last Time Out: Wake Forest lost 79-54 to Syracuse; Duke beat Miami 87-57
Scouting the Demon Deacons:
Wake enters this game with a terrible conference record of 4-12. In their most recent game against Syracuse, they shot the ball at 32.7%, which was a huge reason why they got blown out. Furthermore, they only had 2 players who scored more than 10 points. Also, their leading scorer, Brandon Childress, was held to 5 points on 1-8 shooting, another reason why the Demon Deacons got dismantled.
Scouting the Blue Devils:
The Blue Devils are having quite the season as expected and now sit 3rd in the ACC with a conference record of 13-3. The recent loss of Zion Williamson has meant they haven’t quite been able to rule college basketball and it led to them going 2-2, including the blowout loss to their arch rival, North Carolina. In their first 3 games without Zion, Duke averaged 73 points per game. However, they more than made up for this lack of offense by hanging 87 on Miami and holding them to 34.9% from the field. Zion will more than likely be held out of this contest as well, so Duke will turn to RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish to lead them in scoring for the 4th consecutive game.
Head to Head:
This is the second meeting between the Blue Devils and Demon Deacons this season. Back on February 8th, Duke went into Wake Forest and left with a 22-point win. With that win, Duke has now won 9 straight games against Wake with their last lost coming all the way back in 2014. When playing at Cameron Indoor, Duke has won the last 22 games, with the last road win for Wake Forest coming in 1997.
Which Duke player will step up if Zion is unable to play. We all know RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish are both phenomenal players and can take over any game they play in. However, Duke will need at least one other playmaker to provide a decent performance. Based on recent performances, Marques Bolden has been and can continue to be this guy. Bolden provided a double-double in the last game and was also the 3rd highest scorer with his 15 points. Just in case Barrett or Reddish has a poor game, Bolden needs to be one of the other players who steps up especially if Duke wants to win by 30+.
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Notable Betting Trends:
In terms of the spread, Duke has covered in the last 3 straight meetings with the Demon Deacons. The total has also gone under in 3 straight meetings. Other trends show that Duke is 13-0 straight up and 7-3 against the spread when they win their previous game by 20 or more points. As for Wake Forest, they are 4-4 both straight up and against the spread when losing by 20+ in their last game.
Wake Forest will Cover if:
They can manage to shoot more than 40% from the field. Overall, the Demon Deacons are shooting very poorly, coming in at 39.6% from the field. Going back to the first meeting with Duke, the Demon Deacons shot a measly 33.8%. Of course, we know this shooting performance led to a blowout loss. The last time Wake Forest shot over 40% from the field was back on February 19th, in a win against Notre Dame, so if there is any remote chance for Wake to win or cover for that matter they must have a solid shooting night.
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Duke will Cover if:
They can control the rebounding battle. The Blue Devils sit at 2nd in the country when it comes to how many rebounds they grab per game. This number is 41.9 and is a big reason why they are one of the top 4 teams in the country and are a National Championship contender. By controlling the boards, it will allow their offense to rack up the fast break points and also it will give them plenty more possessions to try and push the margin to the desired 27-point mark.
Matt’s Pick for Wake Forest vs. Duke:
The biggest question for this game is not “who will win” but “how much will Duke win by”. MyBookie has the Blue Devils giving up 26.5 points, which is a huge amount no matter how good they are. With how good the Blue Devils are playing defense at home, they are more than likely to hold the Demon Deacons under their season average and score a decent amount of points of their own. While Duke has certainly shown they can cover this big of a spread, the under pick is much safer than hoping for the Blue Devils to win by 27 or more.
Matt’s College Basketball Pick: Under 154.5