NCAA Basketball Picks: Road Favorite to Cover in Wake Forest vs. Rutgers

Joe Catalano

Monday, November 30, 2015 5:45 PM GMT

The Wake Forest Demon Deacons are off to a respectable start and tonight will travel to New Jersey to face the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Check our NCAA basketball pick inside.

Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. EST tonight at the Louis Brown Athletic Center in Piscataway. New Jersey. According to 5Dimes, the Demon Deacons are a 6.5 point road favorite on the NCAA basketball odds and the total for the game is listed at 155.

 

Dealing With the Top 25
One thing that we do know by the betting total is that Wake Forest can put the ball in the hoop. Previously, in their two big matchups of the season, they split as they defeated the Indiana Hoosiers 82-78 and lost to the Vanderbilt Commodores, 86-64. That said, the Demon Deacons quickly retaliated with a win over head coach Steve Alford and the UCLA Bruins. The betting spread is certainly justified.

 

Converting On Free Throws
71.4% was respectable at the Maui Invitational against UCLA, but this is a team that needs to hit their free throws as they consistently outpowered UCLA and got to the charity stripe an amazing 42 times.

Wake Forest was 30 for 42 from the charity stripe as opposed to the Bruins going 8 for 14. This was certainly the difference in this game as 4 out of the Wake Forest starters scored in double figures and they received just 13 points from the bench. I'm not expecting 42 trips to the line from Wake Forest against Rutgers, but this team needs to continue to be aggressive.

 

Dominating the Boards
Speaking of aggression, this is strength of the Demon Deacons as they dominate the boards, averaging 43 rebounds per contest. At 6 foot 9 and 255 pounds, forward Devin Thomas is the leader as he's averaging a hefty 17.7 points and 10.3 rebounds per game and Konstantinos Mitoglou (13.3 points, 8.2 rebounds), and Bryant Crawford (15.8 points, 4.2 assists, 3.2 rebounds) make this a tough team to contend with. If Crawford could eliminate some of the turnovers (4.6 TPG) his game would go to another level. Nonetheless, this will be a tall order for the Scarlet Knights, who are coming off of double figure losses to Creighton and Clemson.

 

Teamwork
Rutgers has the talent as they have 4 players in double figure scoring, led by junior forward, DeShawn Freeman (14.5 points, 5 .5 rebounds) and 3-point specialist D.J. Foreman (9.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, 50% from 3-point range), but Rutgers major weakness is a lack of teamwork.

This is a team that averages just 13 assists per game. Against a team such as Wake Forest, Rutgers will need to take smart shots. Although a lot of points are expected in this game as indicated by the betting total, the Scarlet Knights need to play as a team unit. This is certainly not a team lacking in athletes that can play both ends of the court, but team chemistry is a neccessity when playing teams in the ACC. 

Guard, Mike Williams has been in a major funk as of late. In his last 2 games, he's shooting just 4 for 18 from the field while averaging 6.5 points per contest. Rutgers needs every starter in their lineup to produce in order to steal a game at home against Wake Forest.

Even though Rutgers is undefeated at home, they've proven that they're not ready to take on the better teams from big-time conferences and Wake Forest has already proven that they can win the big game. Look for Devin Thomas to lead the Demon Deacons as our NCAA basketball pick to a win and a cover 

NCAA Basketball Pick: Wake Forest -5.5 at Pinnacle

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