NCAA Basketball Pick: Wake Forest -5½ over St. Bonaventure

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, December 17, 2013 5:00 AM UTC

Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013 5:00 AM UTC

The Wake Forest Demon Deacons are 7-0 at home and are one of the best rebounding teams in the country, and they should prove too much for St. Bonaventure Tuesday.

The team which is undefeated at home seems to be undervalued on Tuesday night when the St. Bonaventure Bonnies (7-3, 1-2 away) pay a visit to those Wake Forest Demon Deacons (8-2, 7-0 home) at the Winston-Salem Entertainment Sports Complex in Winston-Salem, NC at 7:00 ET in a game available on ESPN3.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Wake Forest as a home favorite for this contest with the current line at -5½ with odds of -109.

Wake Forest is coming off of a disappointing season where it went just 13-18 overall and 6-12 in the ACC, with the season ending with a double-digit loss to the Maryland Terrapins in the first round of the ACC Tournament. The Demon Deacons appear to be on their way to a nice bounce-back season though led by Robert Morris transfer Coron Williams and leading scorer Codi Miller-McIntyre, a sophomore that has developed nicely.

St. Bonaventure is off to a 7-3 start in its own right, but it has not really beaten much while suffering some bad losses. So besides playing at a venue where Wake Forest is a perfect 7-0 while winning by an average of +17.0 points, the Deacons also represent a step up in class from what the Bonnies have been facing.

Miller-McIntyre showed some flashes as a freshman for Wake last season, but the bottom line is he averaged just 8.1 points on 41.4 percent shooting. Well, he has matured as a sophomore and has solidified his new spot in the starting lineup by raising that percentage all the way up to 47.6 percent and more than doubling his scoring average to 17.9 points! Meanwhile, Williams has scored in double-figures seven times in 10 games and Wake Forest is dominating the glass.

In fact the Demon Deacons are allowing opposing team practically no second chances, ranking ninth in the entire country in defensive rebounding percentage. They also do not really have a bad loss this season with their two defeats coming vs. Kansas and Tennessee. Granted they have not beaten an elite team either, but the Richmond Spiders are ranked 61st overall on the Pomeroy Ratings, and the Deacons rallied to beat them by 10 points last game.

That is significant because St. Bonaventure is only ranked 94th on Pomeroy. The Bonnies have matched the exact same 7-3 start they had last season, but also just like last year it has come vs. an easy schedule. The Bonnies come off of their best win of the year, and that was only against an Iona Gaels team ranked 99th on Pomeroy, which is not saying much.

Meanwhile St. Bonaventure has a couple of bad losses to 241st ranked Siena and 188th ranked Buffalo, and it third loss came to a Louisiana Tech team that is quite comparable to Wake Forest ranking wise (74th vs. 79th), and the Bonnies lost that game by four points on a neutral court. Remember that the Bonnies ultimately finished just 14-15 last season, which was a disappointment after making the NCAA Tournament two years ago.

Also St. Bonaventure leading scorer Matthew Wright missed the win at Iona with an ankle injury. Sure the Bonnies did not suffer offensively without him in the 102-89 win but do not be fooled by that score as Iona has one of the fastest tempo ratings in the country and ranks 219th in defensive efficiency. This is a game where the Bonnies would miss Wright’s scoring touch, although he has been a bit of a ball-hog while shooting just 39.7 percent from the field.

The bottom line he is that Wake Forest has more talent, comes out of the stronger ACC and has the unblemished home record, and we look for that to remain the case after a rather safe Demon Deacons’ victory on Tuesday.


NCAA Basketball Pick: Wake Forest -5½ (-109)

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