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DUKE AT WAKE FOREST
3* Duke +8 over Wake Forest - Never in a million years did we think we'd have a Key Release on Duke in the 2008-2009 football season. After many years of being one of the worst, if not the worst team in college football, the Duke Blue Devils are 4-3 and can smell a Bowl Game on the horizon. This team is hungry, and is playing some good football. Duke is #6 in the Nation in turnover margin at +9 and while Wake Forest is right behind them on that list, the Demon Deacons are struggling offensively. After scoring 30 points on opening day, Wake Forest has scored 12, 17, 12, 0 and 10 points. That's an average of 10 points per game and they are laying 8 in this game. Not much room for error.
Duke playing some decent football these days. Not great, but good. They had one game this year that was lopsided, otherwise they have been in them all. Their yards per point on offense is a nice 13 and defensively they have a decent 16. Anytime the defensive ypp number is higher than the offensive number, that's a good thing. Wake Forest has a nice ypp number of 18 defensively but it's the 17 on offense that attracts us to this play. They just aren't putting the ball in the end zone.
Something else we like to do when taking a look at teams that play each other every year is to take a look at recent results. Why? To see if the talent is there to compete in the first place. Common sense really. In this case, a team like Duke is loaded with returning starters from a year ago. 10 on defense and 7 on offense. It's pretty much the same team talent wise as a year ago. If we looked at past results and saw a string of 30 point losses every year, we'd back off. That would suggest the talent gap couldn't possibly have closed that much in a year. But guess what? Here's the scores of the last 4 years of games between these two.
2007 - Wake Forest 41-36
2006 - Wake Forest 14-13
2005 - Wake Forest 44-6
2004 - Wake Forest 24-22
All Wake Forest wins, but 3 of the 4 games were decided by 5, 2 and 1 point. 2005 wasn't close. But 3 of the 4 years suggests the talent gap is close. Particularly when you look at the more recent results of the last two years. Wake Forest has been one of our favorite teams to get involved with over the last few years. We saw their success coming and jumped on their wagon early and as a result cashed quite a few nice winners along the way. But there's a good chance, just as in the stock market, that the Wake Forest stock has peaked. This price of -8 suggests perhaps that Wake Forest living off their past reputation in the eyes of the betting public and the oddsmakers, not what they have done lately. As it is, they have lost 4 of 6 against the spread this year.
Again, laying 8 when you've averaged 10 points per game in your last 5 games is a tall order. But what puts this one over the top for us is the magic number of 6. That's the number of wins required to earn a Bowl bid and with Duke sitting at 4 wins, and with the schedule the rest of the way not exactly easy, this opportunity to grab a win becomes HUGE. If Duke came close 3 out of 4 years against Wake Forest teams that were much better than this years bunch, then they can certainly come close while having one of their best years in a long time. The straight up win and the chance for a bowl is what they're looking at. Getting +7.5 or + 8 is a nice spot here. This play good all the way down to +7. 3* Duke + 8
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