Location, A&M Coaching Change Favor Wake Forest in Belk Bowl

belk bowl

Jason Lake

Friday, December 15, 2017 1:49 PM GMT

Friday, Dec. 15, 2017 1:49 PM GMT

Who you got for the Dec. 29 Belk Bowl in Charlotte: the Wake Forest Demon Deacons or the Texas A&M Aggies? We’ve got your college football pick here.

Free Pick: Wake Forest –3Best Line Offered: Intertops

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Texas A&M Aggies vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

The Belk Bowl is coming! The Belk Bowl is coming! What the #$%& is a Belk Bowl?! According to our sources, it’s a game they’ve played every year in Charlotte since 2002, currently sponsored by a regional department store chain. And they must have ponied up some cash, because this minor bowl became a lot less minor in 2014 – it now features the No. 2 choices from the SEC and the ACC. This year’s participants on Friday, Dec. 29: the Texas A&M Aggies (7-5 SU, 7-4-1 ATS) and the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (7-5 SU, 8-3-1 ATS). Kickoff is at 1:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.

As you may have guessed, this is a close matchup on the NCAAF odds board. The Demon Deacons are laying three points in what’s basically a home game at Bank of America Stadium, less than a 90-minute drive south from Winston-Salem. But our consensus reports show an early lean towards the Aggies at the open, before the needle moved slightly in Wake Forest’s favor. Early money is sharp money, right?

In the Wake of Poseidon

Actually, the Deacs might be the right college football pick. The Aggies are the public team of the two, playing in the public conference, and ESPN’s Football Power Index has Wake Forest winning the Belk Bowl 60.1 percent of the time, which works out to –3.5 using the estimated probabilities at Wizard of Odds. That’s a valuable half-point right there.

The Simple Rating System at Sports Reference is even more bullish on the Demon Deacons. They’ve got Wake at plus-11.66 SRS, miles ahead of Texas A&M at plus-3.05 SRS. The Aggies may represent the SEC, but they played a much softer schedule than the Deacs this year, with only four away games under their collective belt. And TAMU is going through a coaching change, with Kevin Sumlin fired on Nov. 26 and Jimbo Fisher coming over from Florida State to replace him. It could be a good move for the Aggies going forward, but how will they respond in Charlotte under interim coach Jeff Banks? It’s a dubious enough spot for them to warrant fading A&M for a small sum.

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