No. 10 Wake Forest Deacon Demons (9-0), -8, o/u 146.5 vs. Richmond Spiders (5-4), Robins Center, Richmond, Virginia, 7 p.m. Eastern, Friday
By Oracle of Predictem.com
It’s pretty rare this time of year when a team can say they are playing their first true road game of the season.
For the Wake Forest Demon Deacons though, that’s the truth. Wake has had a stellar start to their year by going 9-0, the best since an 11-0 start in 2003-04. But seven of those games were on their home court and two contests were on a neutral floor.
They will travel to Richmond (5-4) to play the Spiders in what’s been an annual rival where the Deacons lead the all-time series 36-9, including 15 straight.
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Wake was just 2-10 on the road last year and 2-9 in the two previous seasons before that. Meanwhile, Richmond is 3-1 at the Robins Center in the 08-09 campaign and have alternated wins and losses to start the season their last being a tough 77-76 loss to cross-town foe Virginia Commonwealth.
Wake’s solid start has them at No. 10 in the nation, but once again, will a true road test manifest what ranking they really deserve?
Right now, the Deacons are 8-point favorites heading into Richmond, as only a handful or so of online sportsbooks are carrying the game.
The over/under stands at 146.5.
Wake Forest is one of the nations leading scoring teams, knocking down 83.3 points per game 12th in the nation - while shooting a ridiculous 51.7% (3rd).
Jeff Teague is a big factor to those stats, as he averages 19.6 points per game. He’s scored in double figures all nine games so far, including a season high 31 against UNC-Wilmington. Teague struggled a bit in their last game against Wright State, scoring just 10 points and committing six turnovers in 30 minutes of play.
As a team, Wake committed 22 turnovers.
When Teague struggles scoring, so does the team. They have just two other players in double digits in James Johnson (14.1) and Al-Farouq Aminu (11.2).
Wake Forest doesn’t slouch on the defensive end either, holding opponents to 34.9% shooting, which is 9th in the nation. They also lead the nation in defensive rebounding with 30.6 per game, led by Aminu’s 8.8.
It’s tough to take these numbers too seriously with Wake’s best competition of the year being UTEP and Cal-Fullerton.
With all the good basketball teams coming out of Virginia, Richmond tends to get overlooked. Well, they turned some heads a year ago when they nearly upset Virginia in the first round of the inaugural College Basketball Invitational tournament in a 66-64 loss.
Richmond is also in the Top 10 for field goal percentage, ranked 8th by shooting 50.8% from the floor.
They’re a smaller squad, minus 6-foot 11-inch center Justin Duinker who averages just 18 minutes per game. They also love to shot the three ball.
David Gonzalvez has hit 21 of 41 triples on the year, an astonishing 51.2%. He’s averaging 17.7 points and 4.7 rebounds for the Spiders.
Backcourt mate Kevin Anderson is the only other Spider in double figures with 16.4 points a game.
The area that will be key for Richmond is the rebounding department. Wake is first in defensive rebounding while Richmond is 200th, grabbing just 21 per game. They’re even worse on the offensive glass (319th) by snatching 7.6 a night.
Part of the reason for that is center Dan Geriot is out of the year. Geriot scored 22 points in the team’s final game last season and averaged 14.3 points and 5.5 rebounds as the Spiders’ 6-9 sophomore center. But he had knee surgery in early November that will cause him to sit on the sidelines.
Although Wake Forest is undefeated on the year, they are just 3-3 ATS. Richmond is 3-1 ATS on the young season.
The Demon Deacons struggles on the road can be attributed to their 0-4 mark ATS in their last four road games.
Meanwhile, Richmond is 6-1 ATS in their last seven non-conference games.
They’re also 13-3-1 ATS after a straight up loss, this time coming off a close defeat against VCU last weekend.
Although the Deacons have a high-powered offense, the under is a huge 9-0 when they are road favorites and 5-0 in their last five against the Atlantic-10 conference.
The under is also 6-0 when Richmond plays a team from the ACC.
The head-to-head trends do mean something here for bettors, since these two teams hook up almost annually. The road team is 5-0-2 ATS in the last seven contests.
The last time Wake Forest lost to a team in Virginia?
In 1990 when they traveled to Richmond. The Spiders will have a chance to break Wake’s 34-game winning streak against Virginia teams on Friday night.
Oracle’s Pick: Richmond would be a nice Cinderella pick this entire year, but Geriot’s injury was huge. Look for them to come out ready to go against Wake. In the end, the Deacon’s will kill the boards and win the game, but the Spiders keep it within the 8 points. Take Richmond plus the points!