Wake Forest vs. Notre Dame: NCAA Basketball Picks and Predictions

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Wake Forest vs. Notre Dame: NCAA Basketball Picks and Predictions
Daivien Williamson #4 of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons on January 20, 2021 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Grant Halverson/Getty Images/AFP

The Wake Forest Demon Deacons are struggling, but the NCAAB odds may be too tilted towards the Notre Dame Fighting Irish this Tuesday.

Wake Forest Demon Deacons vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Tuesday, March 9, 2021 – 7:00 PM ET at Greensboro Coliseum

It was perfect and beautiful, just like nature intended. We hammered the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets for Friday’s ACC regular-season finale against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, figuring the Jackets were underpriced as 8.5-point road faves. Final score: Georgia Tech 75, Wake Forest 63. Good try, Deacons. Now you can focus on your studies. Exams are just around the corner.

Hold on a moment... I’m being told that all 15 ACC teams get to play in the ACC Tournament. Well then. Wake Forest (6-5 SU, 10-10 ATS) find themselves with the No. 14 seed, and a matchup this Tuesday in Greensboro against the No. 11 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (10-14 SU, 11-13 ATS). The Irish aren’t nearly as good as Georgia Tech, but they shouldn’t have any trouble putting away the Deacs as 8.5-point favorites on the opening NCAAB lines, right?

Elle N’Est Pas Notre Dame

Maybe not, but we don’t have quite the same enthusiasm when it comes to putting Notre Dame in our college basketball picks. Here are Ken Pomeroy’s advanced stats for both teams heading into Champ Week:

  • Notre Dame: No. 68 overall (No. 18 offense, No. 158 defense), plus-13.69 margin
  • Wake Forest: No. 170 overall (No. 199 offense, No. 148 defense), plus-0.73 margin

Amazingly enough, Wake Forest improved their Adjusted Efficiency Margin with their loss to the Jackets, although they fell six spots in Pomeroy’s Division I rankings. Let’s do the math: Notre Dame are roughly 13 points better per 100 possessions than the Demon Deacons, and they’ll get around 67-68 possessions (barring overtime) if they continue to operate at their current tempo. Multiply 13 by 67 percent, add zero points for home-court advantage – they’re playing in Greensboro, remember – and you get Notre Dame –8.71. Harrumph. These NCAAB odds are just too damn tight.

Nate Laszewski #14 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish reacts. Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images/AFP

Tobacco Road

Granted, maybe we should give Wake Forest a smidgeon of home-court advantage here. It’s only a half-hour drive from their home in Winston-Salem to Greensboro. Think of the legion of Deacs supporters who will be making the trip – oh yeah, there’s a pandemic going on. Never mind.

Should we bet the total instead? Bovada opened Tuesday’s game at 141.5 points. The Fighting Irish (12-12) and the Demon Deacons (10-10) have both split the over/under down the middle thus far, but as you can see by their Pomeroy profile, Notre Dame are heavily imbalanced towards offense. It didn’t seem to matter when they met Wake Forest during the regular season, though. It was February 2, and it was the Irish winning 79-58 (Under 141) as 5.5-point home faves. Harrumph again.

Maybe we shouldn’t overthink this one. As with Georgia Tech, this matchup favors Notre Dame on paper. They’ve got a much bigger frontcourt than the Deacs, with the twin towers of senior Juwan Durham (plus-7.4 BPM) and junior Nate Laszewski (plus-6.9 BPM) leading the way. They combined for 24 points, 19 rebounds and six blocks in their first meeting. Wake Forest have dropped the cash in six straight, so let’s throw a tiny bet at ND for funsies – and to help us out a little, BetOnline has already moved the Irish to –8 in early action. Every half-point counts.

NCAAB Pick: Notre Dame –8 (–110) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

Notre Dame -8(-110)
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*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.