College Football Picks: Duke vs. Texas A&M in Chick-fil-A Bowl

Thursday, December 26, 2013 5:00 AM UTC

Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013 5:00 AM UTC

The Chick-fil-A Bowl may ultimately go down as the final game for Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M, but Duke can certainly exploit the weak defense of the Aggies.
<p>One of the most electrifying college quarterbacks to come along in a while could be playing his final game for the heavy favorites, but his team’s defense could let backers down when the Duke Blue Devils (10-3) take on those Texas A&amp;M Aggies (8-4) in the Chick-fil-A Bowl from the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA on Tuesday, December 31st at 8:30 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPN. <br /> <br />The <a rel="nofollow" href=";book=inarticlepinnacle">point spread at Pinnacle Sports</a> has Duke as a double-digit underdog for this contest with <a href="/betting-odds/college-football/">the current line at +11½ with odds of -104</a>. <br /> <br /><img style="float:right" title="Duke Blue Devils" alt="Duke Blue Devils" height="250" width="200" src="/picks-pictures/duke-blue-devils-yeahlogo.jpg" />This could very well be the final game for Johnny Manziel after just two seasons at Texas A&amp;M that resulted in him becoming the <a href="/college-football/free-picks/college-football-betting-heisman-favorites-sleeper-picks-a-32969/">first freshman ever to win the Heisman Trophy last season and being a Heisman finalist again</a> this year as a sophomore but ironically losing out to another freshman in Jameis Winston. Unfortunately, while Manziel could perform well if this is indeed his final game, the A&amp;M defense should be a major concern to those backing the Aggies. <br /> <br />Duke come off of its best football season in the history of the school finishing at 10-3, and the Blue Devils certainly have the capability to exploit the awful Texas A&amp;M defense to at the very worst hang inside single-digits as a big underdog here if not pull the outright shocker! <br /> <br />Texas A&amp;M finished 11-2 in Manziel’s freshman season last year, but it was apparent from the outset that the defense has taken a major step backwards this year, and while the Aggies were able to overcome that with great offense while starting the year 8-2, the pressure <a href="/college-football/free-picks/week-13-texas-a-m-vs-lsu-picks-predictions-a-35121/">finally got to be too much without any defensive support when the Aggies lost their last two games</a>. <br /> <br />Sure Manziel did his part with 3732 passing yards and 675 more yards on the ground while accounting for 41 total touchdowns but the defense gave up points almost as quickly as Johnny Football and the offense produced them. In the end, Texas A&amp;M finished the regular season 106th out of 125 FBS teams in total defense, 111th in rushing defense, 79th in passing defense and 89th in scoring defense while surrendering 30.9 points per game! <br /> <br />Duke began the year 2-2 before winning its final eight regular season games to get to 10 wins for the first time in the history of the football program, earning David Cutcliffe some Coach of the Year honors from certain periodicals. Yes the Blue Devils then <a href="/video/college-football-picks-duke-blue-devils-vs-florida-state-seminoles-v-17356/">ran into the top ranked Florida State Seminoles while losing 45-7 in the ACC Championship Game</a>, although even there they held Jameis Winston &amp; Co. to 17 points in the first half before the floodgates opened after halftime. <br /> <br />Still, after facing one of if not the best defenses in the country, that should make facing the dreadful Texas A&amp;M unit feel like even more of a walk in the park for a Duke offense that is averaging 408.1 total yards and 31.6 points per game even after being shut down by the Seminoles. The Blue Devils also have nice balance, averaging 173.7 rushing yards per game and 234.4 passing yards. <br /> <br />That makes this a dangerous matchup for Texas A&amp;M, and certainly not a spot where you want to be giving double-digits, as even if the Aggies do manage to build a two-touchdown lead, the backdoor will always be open. We are not sure that the Aggies will even get that big of a lead though, as the balance of Duke can give a poor defense like A&amp;M has difficulties. <br /> <br />With all of this in mind, take the double-digit points in the Chick-fil-A Bowl as you begin your New Year’s Eve celebrations. <br /> <br />[gameodds]6/252339/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds] <br /> <br /><a href="/college-football/">College Football Pick</a>: Duke +11½ (-104) </p>
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