Duke will tip off Monday night against Wake Forest with significant conference implications on the line. The Blue Zone is here with some can’t-miss prop bets:
Duke (-7.5) vs. Wake Forest
The Blue Devils are primed to take on the Demon Deacons in what will be their third game in six days. Duke is looking to continue its bounce-back campaign following last week’s crushing loss to North Carolina, riding the momentum of convincing wins against Notre Dame and Boston College. Meanwhile, Wake Forest is heading into Cameron Indoor eager for a prime opportunity to strengthen its resume. A win would mean a share of third place in the ACC along with a coveted Quadrant 1 win — pushing the in-state rivals towards the right end of the NCAA tournament bubble.
The Demon Deacons shoot a high volume beyond the arc, averaging 8.6 made threes per game on a strong 38% efficiency. This effort is primarily the work of junior guard Hunter Sallis. The Gonzaga transfer is a real threat around the perimeter, currently sitting at 40.3% on 129 3-point attempts. Sallis is paired with senior big man Andrew Carr — another 40.3% shooter from deep. The Blue Devils, meanwhile, have shows consistent holes in their ability to defend the perimeter. Hot shooting from Wake Forest’s stars may push the contest much closer than the Cameron Crazies would like.
Pick: Wake Forest +7.5
Heading into the contest against the Demon Deacons, both teams hover around 80 points per game. Duke, however, has seen a decrease in efficiency in recent matchups. Four of the team’s last five contests have gone under, and its average points per game has also trended downward. The Blue Devils’ struggles over this stretch have been primarily driven by streaky shooting from deep. Breaking out of this shooting slump and pushing the score up will be no easy task, as Wake Forest sits at a respectable No. 47 in KenPom adjusted defensive rating.
On the other end of the floor, there is high variance in what Wake Forest’s scoring could look like. The Demon Deacons lean heavily into their ability to shoot the deep ball. Therefore, they are just as susceptible to potential lack of momentum. Cameron Indoor remains one of college basketball’s most hostile road environments, so Wake Forest could very well find it hard to get hot.
Pick: Under 152.5
Kyle Filipowski Over/Under 17.5 Points
The preseason All-American seems to have hit a road bump in his performance this season. Though his numbers are still positive — he is averaging 13.8 points on 44.8% from the field over his last five games — Filipowski has been notably less dominant as of late. Struggles to finish at the rim and create high-percentage opportunities for himself in the paint have driven his recent drop-off. That being said, Duke has done well to adjust around Filipowski’s struggles. In particular, sophomore forward Mark Mitchell has stepped up in the frontcourt. Yet, a turnaround from the 7-footer is needed to round out the team’s potential and position it for a deep postseason run.
Matching up on Monday, Wake Forest tends to get significant minutes from the 6-foot-11 sharpshooter Carr and 7-foot center Efton Reid. The Demon Deacons can leverage this towering duo to pack the paint and significantly limit opportunities for the less physical Filipowski on the interior. The Westtown, N.Y., native has effective options in the mid-range and a solid shot from the arc to help work around Wake Forest’s size. Considering his recent struggles, however, it is hard to see Filipowski hitting the over when pushed toward lower percentage looks.
Pick: Under 17.5 points
Get The Chronicle straight to your inbox
Signup for our weekly newsletter. Cancel at any time.