Wake Forest Demon Deacons vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish – March 09, 2021

By Dean McHugh in College Basketball
| March 9, 2021 7:06 am PDT

The Demon Deacons will be in for a fight tonight against the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. Neither team had an excellent regular season, which is a chance to right some of those wrongs. Both teams will feel this is as good an opportunity as they are likely to get to progress to the next round of the tournament.

The previous five meetings between them have had alternating winners, which if that pattern continued tonight, it would be the Demon Deacons progressing to the next round of the competition. However, they have a poor record in Notre Dame, having only won one of their previous six visits. The last visit came a little over a month ago, and they were thumped in a devastating 21 point loss. The Demons kept pace with their opponents up until halftime, but a 16-0 run against them in the second half knocked their confidence, and they fell away tamely. Notre Dame played superbly that night as they finished the game with a 50% field goal percentage, shot at 43% from range, and made 44 rebounds. The Demons ended the game with a 34% field goal success rate which was lower than their success rate from three-point range.

Although Notre Dame has averaged six more points than the Demons over the previous ten head-to-head matches, Wake Forest has averaged more first-half points. Therefore, if they are to stand any chance of winning tonight, they will have to start well once again.

Demon Deacons vs. Fighting Irish Match Odds

Demon Deacons +8-110
Fighting Irish -8-110
Demon Deacons To Win+300
Fighting Irish To Win-375
Over 142 Points-110
Under 142 Points-110 

The spread is a couple of points bigger than I expected and could offer some value. Likewise, the points total looks around three to possibly four points smaller than I anticipated. Therefore, there is plenty of money-making opportunities in this one. It looks like the bookmakers have based the market on their most recent encounter where the Fighting Irish won comfortably in a very low-scoring game. Two things to ask yourself, though, is can Notre Dame play that well again, particularly in the shooting department, and will Wake Forest play that poorly again. When you look at their season averages, the answer to both questions is no.

Wake Forest has a dreadful record as the underdogs to overcome as they have only won one of the 15 games they have entered as the betting outsiders.

Demon Deacons Previews

The Deacons come into this game on a terrible run of seven straight defeats. During that run, a win hasn’t even looked on as the closest they have gotten to any of their opponents is seven points. That loss was the only time in this losing streak that they haven’t lost by double figures. Their last win came almost a month ago in a narrow, low-scoring victory over bottom side Boston College. Even then, they only narrowly beat a team that shot at 34% from field goal range and 24% from three-point range.

On the road, they have the worst record in the Atlantic Coast Conference to overcome, having only won one of their ten away fixtures which was that win over Boston College. They did, however, follow up that win by pushing the top of the table Florida State close and were only beaten after overtime that night. After that, the wheels quickly fell off as they lost by 40 points to Virginia Tech in their next away match.

Here are the latest betting trends for Wake Forest:

Bet Type Trend
ATS They have lost their previous six games in a row.
ATS The Demons have only won two of the last nine matches against Notre Dame.
SU Wake Forest has lost their previous 13 games played in March.
SU They have lost eight of their last ten matches played on a Tuesday.

Wake Forest has a terrible offense that has a field goal percentage of only 41%. They will have to improve that by at least four percent if they want to be competitive tonight. Despite not particularly shooting well from three-point range, they have made one of the highest totals in the Conference. I think this speaks more about how far they have found themselves in games than it does their shooting ability.

The Demons have passed the ball poorly throughout the season, which certainly hasn’t helped with their low shooting percentages. This poor passing has led to many turnovers, which when your not rebounding well means you will spend an awful lot of the game without the ball.

They are averaging only 65 points per game which is the second-lowest average in the Conference this season. The Demons will, at the very least, have to achieve this average tonight as they have lost all 11 games where they have scored fewer.

Their defense has been better but is still considered weak. They are very poor at covering their opponents and often don’t appear to have much by way of a game plan. Because they don’t get right enough, they don’t tend to make many blocks either.

What will worry them, even more is their defense has performed even worse on the road, conceding five points more per game on average.

Their rebounding has been lacking, particularly in defense. However, it’s at the end that it costs them most as when you can shoot, and you can’t rebound, what hope do you have of scoring many points?

This has resulted in them having a point per game difference of -5.8, which is only narrowly better than last-placed Boston College.

To be fair to Wake Forest, they have been struck by absentees this year, and the Covid-19 pandemic has affected them more than most. Freshman Tariq Ingraham has missed most of the season through this illness, and he was expected to be their playmaker this season.

As well as Ingraham, the Demons also have doubts over Lester, Van Beveren, and Mathis Junior through quarantine.

Fighting Irish Preview 

Notre Dames’s form hasn’t been that much better than their opponents tonight as they have only won one of their previous five games. However, that win did come last time out against table-toppers Florida State. The Fighting Irish certainly lived up to their name that night, and they came out of the gate swinging. They led by 16 points at halftime and ran out comfortable 83-73 winners.

They have a split record of six wins and six defeats at home this season. They’re in good form at home recently, having picked up wins in three of their previous four home fixtures.

Here are the latest betting trends for Notre Dame:

Bet Type Trend
ATS The Fighting Irish have only won one of their last five matches.
Total Five of their previous six games against Wake Forest have gone over the betting total.
Total The total has gone under in 14 of their last 20 games played in March.
SU They have two-thirds of their previous nine games played on a Tuesday.
SU Notre Dame has only lost three of their last 17 matches when playing as the betting favorite.
Total Only five of their previous 16 home games played on a Tuesday have failed to go over the points total.

Notre Dame has a decent offense that is as accurate as they come when shooting the ball. Their rebounding has been exceptionally poor in attack. If they were to improve this, I’m sure that they would start winning more games.

The Fighting Irish also make many baskets from deep, so we could see plenty made here tonight.

They use the ball very well and are a very calculated team, especially in attack. This means they hold on to the ball for long periods of the game and only ever shot when the opportunity presents itself.

Their defense is terrible and even worse than the Demon’s defense. They try to sit deep and defend the basket to help their rebounding chances which I get, but it comes at the cost of allowing their opponents to make some effortless shots.

They can be a little bit naive at times, and an experienced attack will cause them plenty of problems.

Notre Dame has the lowest steals count in the Conference, but this is probably because they spend so much time with the ball themselves, and therefore this doesn’t worry me.

Their leading scorer Prentiss Hubb comes into this game in superb form, putting on a clinic against Florida State last time out. If he reaches anywhere near that performance tonight, the Fighting Irish will be hard to beat. Hubb has either made or assisted 46% of all Notre Dames field goals over their previous five matches.

Junior Nate Laszewski is also a player worth mentioning as he has had a good season this time around. While he didn’t trouble the scoreboard too much against Wake Forest last time, he did dominate the boards by making ten rebounds against them.

The Fighting Irish only have one absentee tonight, and that is Carmody, who misses out with a knee injury.

Demon Deacons vs. Fighting Irish Betting Pick

Pick
  • Notre Dame -8
    -110

The Deacons are plain and straightforward terrible this season. Yes, they have been battered with absentees but so have many other teams. I can’t see them seeing much of the ball tonight, which will ultimately condemn them to defeat. Notre Dame is perhaps starting to pick up at the right time of the season; well, they are if their last performance is anything to go by. My initial thoughts were that the spread looked small, and while I think it could be close, I believe that Notre Dame will cover it tonight.

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