8-winTime: 3:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, NC
Where to watch: ACC Network
Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks
DraftKings: Wake Forest -3.5
FanDuel: Wake Forest -3.5
BetMGM: Wake Forest -3.5
Caesars: Wake Forest -3.5
Wake Forest: 7-4
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Wake Forest - Duke preview, analysis and prediction
Wake Forest: won 45-35 vs. Syracuse
Duke: lost 28-26 at Pitt
I don't know if you remember the days of the Wake Forest demon deacons actually being the legitimate threat in the ACC, but apparently those days lasted about a year and that's about it. Because what we're seeing on the field right now from Wake Forest, even with Sam Hartman fully healthy quarterback is not a lot. As a result Wake Forest is not going to be in a fun bowl game this year, unlike last year, and is going to be settling for hopefully an 8 win season should it be the Duke Blue Devils on Saturday.
Now to be fair, Duke is not any slouch either. Although the strength in winning percentage is not that great, Duke has been definitely skirting by, though it has come up short just barely against teams that are slightly better than them. Look no further than last week's 28-26 loss at Pittsburgh and then over a month ago losing 38-35 to North Carolina. That North Carolina game would have looked really good have the Blue Devils pulled that one out, but fate is a weird thing.
I wanna focus back on Wake Forest though. I look at the demon deacons and I'm trying to pinpoint what exactly went wrong. We know that Wake Forest defense is not good. Even when Wake Forest was running through teams last year and putting up 50, 55 points a game, they were always guaranteed to give up 40 to 45. This kind of situation reared its ugly head during this three-game losing streak they were on before they beat Syracuse last week. Wake Forest gave up 48 to Louisville, only scored 21 points in back-to-back games against Louisville and North Carolina State, and then against North Carolina lost a shootout to the Tar Heels.
And when you try to figure out where exactly something went wrong it's hard to look at the quarterback and think that that's the biggest problem. Sam Hartman is a very good quarterback. He was considered the best quarterback in the country by some outlets this year. And even if you look at these last four games, the biggest issue in at least two of them was that he turned the ball over. And that's not something that Hartman usually does. He has ten interceptions the entire season, six of them came against Louisville and North Carolina State. But then he comes back with four touchdowns against North Carolina in a loss, and then four touchdowns and no interceptions against Syracuse and completed nearly 70% of his passes.
The biggest problem with Wake Forest is that when Hartman was good, Wake Forest never had enough weapons around him to actually elevate his overall play. And when you don't have a defense that can bail out your offense when the offense has some days in which it's going to struggle, you are putting yourself in a position where your offense is putting on more than it can handle. And as a result you get losses like the ones against North Carolina State against a banged-up North Carolina State team nonetheless, and then you have games against Louisville where you're in the lead at halftime and then completely fall apart in the third quarter. So what kind of team can Wake Forest become over these next couple of weeks, and do they have enough to go into Duke and win a game? I honestly don't know.
Wake Forest is favored by 3.5 against Duke, and honestly, that spread is absurdly low. Not because I don't think Duke is good enough to hang with Wake Forest and win considering Duke has a much better defense and if it even gets a couple of stops in here, it's going to make life hell for Hartman. But I feel like Wake Forest is in dire need of another strong outing offensively before they go to a bowl game period and I think given that this will be his last regular season game before he goes pro, I think Hartman is due for a big one. Wake Forest by 14
Wake Forest is 16-6 ATS when the total is between 63.5 and 70 since 1992.
Duke is 1-8 ATS when the total is equal or greater than 63 the last 3 seasons.
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