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No. 4 Duke favored big at Wake Forest Wednesday
By: Robert Livingston - StatFox
Published: 3/5/2014  at  4:53:00 AM
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DUKE BLUE DEVILS (23-6)

at WAKE FOREST DEMON DEACONS (15-14)

Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum ó Winston-Salem, NC
Tip-off: Wednesday, 7:00 p.m. ET
Line: Duke -12.5, Total: 143.5

Wake Forest has lost eight of its last nine and faces another unlikely win proposition Wednesday night when it hosts No. 4 Duke as double-digit underdogs.

The Blue Devils creamed the Demon Deacons 83-63 at Cameron Indoor Stadium earlier in the year on Feb. 4, covering an 18-point spread for the third game of what turned out to be a seven-game losing skid (SU and ATS) for Wake Forest. Duke shot 51% from the field and 46% from three-point range as it forced 19 Demon Deacons turnovers en route to the win. Although that was Wake Forest's eighth straight loss (4-4 ATS) in this series, the team did have bright spots, shooting a solid 48.7% from the field and outrebounding Duke 31-26. Overall, the Demon Deacons are 10-15 ATS overall, including 6-7 ATS at home and 5-11 ATS in ACC play. But since 1997, Wake Forest head coach Jeff Bzdelik is 24-8 ATS (75%) in home games after failing to cover two of his previous three ATS. Still, he faces a Duke team that has been a profitable bet, going 18-11 ATS overall and 5-3 ATS on the road. That includes a 10-6 ATS mark in conference play, but the team has proven vulnerable on the road against weaker foes, losing SU as favorites to Notre Dame and Clemson.

Can Duke roll to a double-digit victory on the road? For the latest college basketball picks, check out The Platinum Sheet for all the StatFox Experts selections every week throughout the entire 2013-14 season. The StatFox Experts have been rolling in college basketball Best Bets this season with a stellar 59% ATS (242-169-13) mark, including a hefty 61% ATS (210-135-7) record since Nov. 23. StatFox Brian is on an amazing Best Bets run of 86% ATS (24-4-2) since Jan. 17, is at 73% ATS (49-18-2) since Nov. 26 and a robust 69% ATS (56-25-3) in Best Bets for the season. StatFox Dave is 65% ATS (34-18) since in Best Bets Dec. 18 and 61% ATS (51-33-1) this season, while StatFox Scott is 73% ATS (8-3-1) since Feb. 16 and 58% ATS (48-35-3) for the season. StatFox Gary is 59% ATS (41-29) on Best Bets since Nov. 22 and 55% ATS (45-37-2) for the season.

Duke features one of the most efficient offenses in the nation, scoring 79.6 PPG (24th in Div. I) on 46.5% shooting (67th in nation), including 40.1% threes (5th in Div. I). The Blue Devils turn it over only 9.5 times per game (9th in nation) and add 14.9 APG (48th in Div. I). Defensively, they yield 66.1 PPG (74th in nation) on 44.6% shooting and 30.2% threes (25th in Div. I). The star of the offense is PF Jabari Parker (18.8 PPG, 8.9 RPG), who led the Blue Devils with 21 points and eight boards against Wake Forest earlier in the season, making 8-of-10 FG. The freshman has also posted double-doubles in four consecutive games, averaging 15.8 PPG and 11.8 RPG during this streak. Heís complemented well by SF Rodney Hood (16.3 PPG, 4.1 RPG), who is nailing 44% of his threes this season. PG Quinn Cook (11.7 PPG, 4.5 APG) rounds out the teamís double-digit scorers, though he has seen a more limited role lately and has broken double-digit points just once in the teamís past five games. Thatís fine for Duke because they have excellent depth in the backcourt, including SGs Rasheed Sulaimon (9.3 PPG) and Andre Dawkins (8.5 PPG), both of whom are making at least 44% of their threes this season. Sulaimon and Dawkins scored 19 and 17 points, respectively, including a combined 6-of-10 from beyond the arc, against Wake Forest.

Wake Forest has a middling offense that averages 69.9 PPG (222nd in Div. I) on 45.0% shooting (138th in nation), making only 31.6% of its three-point attempts. The defense isnít any better, allowing 70.6 PPG (191st in Div. I) on 42.2% shooting (31.5% threes), while getting outrebounded by minus-0.8 RPG. Sophomore PG Codi Miller-McIntyre (13.3 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 3.3 APG) leads the offense, though he has been dreadful shooting the ball (21.2% threes), with just two made shots in his past 23 long-range attempts. He missed the first meeting against Duke, so the team is hoping his presence on the floor will be a difference maker. PF Devin Thomas (11.4 PPG, 7.7 RPG) was the Demon Deaconsí bright spot last month's loss in Durham, going 5-for-8 from the field for a team-high 14 points before fouling out. Senior SF Travis McKie (11.1 PPG, 4.3 RPG) rounds out the teamís double-digit scorers and is coming off a solid 18-point, four-steal performance in a loss to Boston College. Those two and PF Arnaud-William Adala Moto (6.6 PPG, 5.2 RPG) will have to replicate their performance from their first meeting against the Blue Devils, when they helped win the battle of the boards, thanks to Moto's game-high 10 rebounds. The other thing Wake Forest did well in that game was draw fouls, making 22-of-32 free throws. That 68.8% clip is well above its season average of 64.3%, which ranks 21st-worst in the nation.

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