Duke vs. Wake Forest NCAA Basketball Preview and Best Bet

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Alondes Williams #31 of the Wake Forest Deacons. Andy Lyons/Getty Images/AFP

No. 8 Duke looks to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time this season as the Blue Devils visit in-state rival Wake Forest on Wednesday. Read on to take a look at the NCAAB odds and the best sportsbook to bet with today.

Duke Blue Devils vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons 

Wednesday, January 12, 2022 – 07:00 PM EST at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum 

The first team ranked inside the Top 10 of the Associated Press poll in action on a good Wednesday night of college basketball is No. 8 Duke from the ACC as the Blue Devils look to avoid back-to-back losses when they meet surprisingly good Wake Forest. The ACC Network has the telecast. 

These rivals will meet again in February 15th in Durham and, obviously, could meet again in the ACC Tournament. Last season, Duke won both by double digits, but this year’s Blue Devils team is better than that one, and perhaps more important, the Deacons are way better than the club that finished 6-16 last year. 

It’s the 256th meeting between the schools with Duke leading 176-79 and 51-40 in Winston-Salem. Duke has played more games vs. Wake than all but one opponent in the program history: North Carolina, also at 255 games. Wake Forest was the opponent for Duke's first game in program history on March 2nd, 1906 in Durham. 

The road team is 5-2 against the spread at the best online sportsbooks in the past seven meetings. 

Duke Riding Its Big 3 

This is my first time picking a Duke game here at Bookmakers Review this season, so we get to talk about freshman Paolo Banchero, who has a very good chance of being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. Of course, the last Duke player chosen first was Zion Williamson by the Pelicans in 2019. Fabulous player but can’t stay healthy and probably misses this entire season. 

Banchero is sixth in the ACC in scoring and his 17.3 points per game lead all-power conference true freshmen. He’s also sixth in the league in rebounding (7.5). Banchero had 20 points and seven rebounds on Saturday, but Duke was upset by unranked Miami 76-74 as the Hurricanes had a whopping 15 steals. It was UM’s first win against a Top-5 opponent in nearly six years – Duke (12-2, 2-1 ACC) had been No. 2 in the country but then slipped to No. 8 in the new poll. 

A Banchero breakaway dunk had given Duke a three-point lead with 34 seconds left. Wendell Moore Jr.’s late three-pointer rimmed out with the Blue Devils down. He had his second double-double of the season with 12 points and 12 rebounds and is ninth in the ACC in scoring (16.0) and fifth in field goal percentage (.545). Mark Williams added 12 points and six blocks in the loss. He leads the ACC and ranks 11th nationally in blocked shots, averaging 3.1 per contest. 

Before Duke’s Christmas/COVID-19 break, the team was averaging 85.2 points per game, but in the two games since coming out of that the number is down to 71.5 PPG. On the season, the Blue Devils are still averaging an ACC-best 83.3 points per game. 

Duke is 5-12 ATS in its last 17 road games on the NCAAB picks.  

Is Wake’s Williams ACC’s Best Player? 

Wake coach Steve Forbes has done a terrific job with this team as at 13-3 overall (3-2 in ACC) the Deacons already have double last season’s win total.  

They are led by potential ACC Player of the Year Alondes Williams, who leads the team in scoring (20.4 PPG; second in ACC), rebounding (6.7 RPG) and assists (5.1 APG; first in ACC) while shooting 55 percent from the field. He and Duke’s Wendell Moore are the only power conference players nationally averaging at least 16.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 4.0 assists while shooting a minimum of 50 percent from the field. 

Second-leading scorer Jake LaRavia (14.9 PPG) is among the ACC leaders in field-goal percentage at .597. The Deacons will get a starter back Wednesday in guard Daivien Williamson, who averages 12.9 points. He hasn’t played since New Year’s Day in COVID-19 protocols. Williamson is first in the league and 11th in the nation in free throw percentage at 92.5 percent. He is 37-for-40 from the line.  

Forbes’ club comes off a 77-74 overtime win over Syracuse on Saturday to remain unbeaten at home. Williams scored 25 points and made two important free throws with 13 seconds remaining. It was already Wake’s third OT win of the season, which the school hadn’t done since the 2009-10 team won five games in overtime. 

Wake Forest averages 80.0 points per game, which is second in the ACC behind Duke. While the Deacons allow 68.6 PPG compared to the Blue Devils’ 64.7, ACC-only opponents are a combined 116-of-293 (39.6 percent) shooting against Wake. 

The Deacons’ 10-0 home record marks the program’s best start at home since 2013-14 when it went 12-0 in Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum.  

Simulations that I have run see this is nearly a pick’em, so we’ll take the points considering Duke’s shaky road ATS record as mentioned above.  

NCAAB Pick: Wake Forest +5 (-108) with BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Wake Forest +5 (-108)
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