Duke Blue Devils (10-3 SU, 10-3 ATS) vs. Texas A&M Aggies (8-4 SU, 5-7 ATS)
Chick-fil-A Bowl Preview
Date and Time: Tuesday December 31, 2013 8pm EST
Where: Georgia Dome, Atlanta GA
by Tim, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Duke +12/TAMU -12
Over/Under Total: 75
Surprise! Surprise! Goober would be proud as peach, I tell yaproud as a peach! 2013 saw Duke transformed from a haughty cosmopolitan university (see: Northwestern) used to raking in losses on the field two handfuls at a time, into a certifiably sober Archbishop of ACC football! Texas A&M comes in after challenging the SEC gulag archipelago counting only a few abrasions and four missed meals(4-4 in conference play) to their detriment and led by prisoner number 1 in your hearts, number 2 in your program; Field Aggie Jonathon Paul Manziel. Duke enters the Chick-fil-A Bowl winners of their last 8 before getting stomped into submission by Florida State 45-7. Texas A&M lost their last two contests against LSU and Mizzou before everyone came to their senses in College Station dispensing the two coaches calling plays strategy (treacherous) and giving the duties directly to Jake Spavital where it belonged (because Florida was going to nab Spavital for their Offensive Coordinator opening!!). Lets take a look inside the numbers and stats and predict a winner!
Duke got pounded into mush against Florida State in the ACC Championship Game. That destruction isnt all that big of a deal; Florida State smoked EVERYONE in 2013! In all games on the road or at a neutral site in 2013, Duke holds a massive edge over Texas A&M going 5-1 against the spread (ATS) in road/neutral 2013 games, while Texas A&M was 0-4 against the spread this season. When Duke was an underdog in 2013, the Blue Devils were 5-2 against the spread. Texas A&M, when favored this season, was .500 going 3-3 against the spread. Against non-conference opponents (North Carolina Central, Memphis, Troy, and Navy), Duke was 3-1 against the spread while in the same category for Texas A&M, the Aggies went 3-1 against the spread playing Rice, Sam Houston State, SMU, and UTEP. Assessing: Duke is a very strong team against the spread on the road and Texas A&M is definitely not a road warrior in 2013. Duke plays considerably better as an underdog than A&M plays as favorite. The non-conference games are a wash since both schools never really encountered Top Tier talent capable of challenging either team at a high level. Texas A&M gets a large boost with strength of schedule as the SEC is by far the toughest conference in the nation. The ACC is ranked 5th strongest conference and ACC Conference members are 0-9 against top 10 teams in 2013, 7-27 against top 40 teams, and 41-57 against the top 75 teams in the nation. The SECby comparisonis 6-28 against the top 10 teams in the country, 36-64 against the top 40, and 49-67 against the top 75. The SEC beat up on each other skewing their win/loss column since 8 SEC were ranked in the Top 25 setting a new SEC record in 2013 (October)! Lets take a look at how these teams performed in related games.
You would think Texas A&M should trail Duke in scoring margin but the Blue Devils are 52nd in the nation in scoring difference at +3.8 points per contest. If you think the beat down Florida State ruined Dukes margin of scoring, factoring out the Florida State game, Duke only gets a 2.9 point bump to +6.7 points per. A&M with four losses comes in at number 31 in the nation with a +10.5 point per game differential. Duke, factoring in ONLY ACC games, actually was outscored 265-297 or -4 points per game differential while winning 2 more in-conference games (6-2) than Texas A&M! The Aggies were 4-4 in SEC conference play but outscored conference rivals 307-292 or roughly +2 points per during in-conference competition. Here is the analysis: Texas A&M plays in a far better conference than Duke plays in the ACC and Texas A&M lost to current number 2 Auburn, current number 3 Alabama, and current number 5 Missouri by a combined 18 points or less than a TD per game. Duke got crushed by Florida State by 38 and there is no ACC team in the top 25 except fornumber 23 Duke. Texas A&M can compete with the best teams in the nation and Duke cannot. Duke plays well with FAMILIAR opponents and, sure, Duke has had a fine year at 10-3. But Duke not only got erased by Florida State, the Blue Devils got absolutely humbled by Georgia Tech in Durham by 24!
Texas A&M is much too strong, man-for-man, against the undersized Blue Devils. Texas A&M has FINALLY fixed their play-calling by 86ing the 2-coach-play-calling strategy that was an effort towards Sumlins personal agenda directed at a long time friend! Johnny number 2 gets it going in this Bowl game and probably could score at will just with his scrambling ability. Duke keeps it close in the first quarter, but for A&M and Manziel looking at possibly Manziels last game as an Aggie, The Show will absolutely put up unreal numbers and completely kick Dukes aspirations of competing with the best in college football straight back to Cameron Indoor where it belongs! Duke gets embarrassed here by a clearly superior Texas A&M football team! Texas A&M BIG!
Your Name’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Texas A&M -12
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