Can Wake Forest Crack Virginia’s Defense? NCAAB Free Pick

Willie Bee

Sunday, January 21, 2018 12:45 PM UTC

Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018 12:45 PM UTC

Virginia takes its deliberate and methodical game on the road today, and we have a free college basketball pick for the matchup at Wake Forest.

My Free Pick: Virginia-Wake Forest Under 127½
Best Line is (-105) at Heritage

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Early returns on the ACC schedule have been excellent for Tony Bennett and Virginia. The Cavaliers only had the one scare vs. Boston College in the conference opener and have built a 6-0 league mark with a 9-game win streak overall.

It has been something of an opposite experience for Danny Manning and Wake Forest, the Demon Deacons with just one ACC triumph and having dropped their last four contests both straight up and against the spread. It would seem like a tall order to stop the skid against the No. 2 team in the nation when Wake hosts Virginia on Sunday (6 PM ET), and the top sports books agree. What they don’t agree on is exactly how much the Cavaliers should win by, the line varying from -9 to -10 while the total is in the 126½-127½ range.

Wake Forest Shooting 39% In Conference Play
Defense is behind Virginia’s rise to No. 2 in the polls, and the Cavaliers showed it off a few nights ago at Georgia Tech in a 64-48 win and cover. They held the Yellow Jackets to just 19 points in the first half, coming away with 10 steals on the evening and 18 turnovers overall. Virginia continues to lead the nation in fewest points allowed, the 52.6 opponents are scoring almost five fewer than the next closest team, and has only given up 60+ in four of the 18 games so far.

Wake’s opponents are averaging 22 more points a game with two of its last three foes eclipsing the 80-point plateau. North Carolina State didn’t reach that level Thursday night in Raleigh, but the 72 the Wolfpack put on the Demon Deacons was enough to double-up a -4½ point spread on the NCAA basketball odds. It was the 2nd-straight game the Deacs failed to shoot at least 40%, and fourth time in six ACC contests they could connect at that rate or better from the field.

Rivalry Trends, Final Thoughts & A Free Pick
Wake Forest holds a slight 70-65 lead in the series, Virginia cutting into that gap by winning the last five meetings. The only meeting last season took place in Charlottesville where the Cavaliers posted a 79-62 decision giving up 12 points. The final skipped past a 131 point total to send ‘over’ bettors back to the pay window for the fourth time in the last five encounters. The Demon Deacons have been tough to beat on their home floor, finishing on top in 41 of the 56 matchups here and covering the last seven at Joel Coliseum.

The Cavaliers will slow this game down to a crawl, and combined with Wake Forest’s poor shooting of late, I’ll go with another ‘under’ for my free college basketball pick.

Season: 29-28-1 (-0.40)

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