NCAA Basketball Picks for Notre Dame vs. Wake Forest

Jeff Grant

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 10:58 AM GMT

The Wake Forest Demon Deacons haven’t picked up a win in the ACC Tournament since 2007, but that may change in taking on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish Wednesday. The odds are out; which side are you on?

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Let’s take a closer look at the NCAA basketball odds for this first round matchup at the Greensboro Coliseum, with the opening tip scheduled for 1:00 p.m. ET on ESPN3.

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Tough season

Notre Dame’s 16 losses this season are the most ever for an Irish team under head coach Mike Brey, which makes it hard for me to back the program as a favorite on the SBR Odds page.

The Fighting Irish went 6-7 this year in games decided by five or fewer points, while each of their defeats came by an average of 7.5 points.

It’s important to point out that the squad is 6-2 ATS in its last eight neutral site games.

Fallen into a pattern

Wake Forest alternated wins and losses over its last five regular season games, as it enters this event off a 69-56 defeat to the Miami Hurricanes as 7.5-point road underdogs last Saturday.

The Demon Deacons are capable of making some noise over the next few days, considering they completed their first home sweep of in-state rivals Duke, North Carolina and NC State since the 2008-09 campaign.

College basketball handicappers will find that the program is 16-35 ATS in its last 51 games on a neutral floor.

Senior leadership

Fighting Irish point guard Eric Atkins is one of the best floor leaders in the country, as he  ranked sixth in the ACC in assist-to-turnover ratio during league play.

Atkins has played in 96 straight games, while he’s been on the floor for every minute of a contest nine times during the 2013-14 season.

In league affairs, Atkins and fellow guard Pat Connaughton ranked second and third respectively in minutes played per game.

Get to the line

One of the main reasons to back the Demon Deacons in this matchup is their ability to get to the line, as they’ve compiled a 15-5 SU record when attempting more free throws than opposing teams, while going 1-9 when failing to accomplish that feat.

Wake Forest enjoyed a 19-12 edge over Notre Dame in the first meeting in that all-important category—leading directly to a 65-58 win as 1.5-point home favorites on Jan. 25.

2013-14 NCAA Tournament Betting Futures

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Demon Deacons for their college basketball picks, as the Fighting Irish are 5-16-1 ATS in their last 22 games versus ACC foes.

College Basketball Pick: Wake Forest Demon Deacons +3.5