The Blue Zone brings you our prop bets for Duke's matchup with Wake Forest:
Duke (-6.5) vs. Wake Forest
The 16-point win over in-state rival N.C. State Saturday could not have come at a better time for Blue Devil fans. Duke held the Wolfpack to 53 points in the contest, tying a season-low for points allowed in a game, and seemed to cruise the whole afternoon. The offense was hitting shots from deep, the defense came alive and the whole day seemed like an oasis from the rollercoaster that has been this unusual season. And then Monday, Jalen Johnson announced he was declaring for the NBA draft and forgoing the rest of the season, raising the question of if this team will be thrown out of rhythm.
Don’t get me wrong, the Blue Devils have proven that they can win without Johnson. In the Saturday matchup, he played only eight minutes and scored three points, which pales in comparison to the contributions of fellow freshmen Mark Williams and DJ Steward. But, in a season filled with so much uncertainty, the future of the Blue Devils is entirely up in the air.
Luckily for the Duke faithful, this upcoming game is a perfect chance for an offensive frenzy. Wake Forest, who ranks in the bottom half of the ACC in rebounds, blocks and steals, will face a red-hot Duke team. Duke is currently ranked third in the ACC in points per game and has run up the score lately thanks to their efforts from beyond the arc and the free throw line.
Wake Forest has played well as of late, including an overtime thriller against Florida State on Saturday. However, the Blue Devils have too much firepower for a loss to the Demon Deacons. I’m confident in this young team and in this second matchup between Wake Forest and Duke, listen to that devil on your shoulder.
Pick: Duke (-6.5)
Over/Under 144 points
This bet seems too good to be true considering Duke and Wake Forest have averaged over 80 and 70 points per game, respectively, in their last three contests. It doesn’t take a stats major to figure out the rest. Part of the high scoring of both teams can be attributed to each squad heating up from the 3-point line—Duke alone went 9-of-18 from beyond the arc against the Wolfpack Saturday.
The Demon Deacons shot 48.1% from the 3-point line in their game against Florida State, proving they too can make a run at any point. In that same game, Wake Forest trailed by as many as 13 points in the second half, however, it mounted a comeback to eventually take the lead before losing in overtime. This Wake Forest team may not be the best one we have ever seen, but don’t count them out on the offensive end of the court.
With neither team hosting a very dependable defense, along with the recent surge of superb 3-point shooting, this is one to set and forget.
Pick: Over 144
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Wake Forest total points over/under 68.5
I know what you’re thinking. I spent the entire article gushing about the offensive proficiency we are going to see in this game, but now I’m advising to bet against it? Trust me on this one.
While Duke doesn’t have an elite defense, the Blue Devils have shown, at moments, that they can be more than capable of stopping teams. Duke’s defense has hurt it in some recent games, but it primarily struggles when teams push the ball and take advantage of opportunities in transition.
Wake Forest plays much of its offense in the half court, making this a nice matchup for Duke’s defense. If the Blue Devils can guard the perimeter, they have a good shot at another defensively sound game.
The paint is not much of a worry for Duke, due in part to the explosion of Mark Williams’ shot blocking. Williams' ability will come in handy this matchup, and will allow Duke to be more aggressive in flying to the shooter to stop shots. It may not be apparent yet, but I see a glimmer of defensive grit coming to the LJVM Coliseum Wednesday.
Pick: Under 68.5