Wake Forest Demon Deacons vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish – College Basketball, February 2, 2021

By Dean McHugh in College Basketball
| February 2, 2021 2:22 am PDT

Both of these teams have struggled to make an impact this season as they find themselves down in 12th and 13th positions in the Atlantic Coast Conference. However, a couple of wins in a row could see either of them climb to around the middle of the standings, and therefore, this is a must win game for both.

The recent head-to-head record is as close as their ranking positions this season, with very little separating them. Notre Dame has won three of the most recent five games and Wake Forest two. However, Wake Forest has only ever beaten Notre Dame one on the road from their five meetings to date.

Here is my Demon Deacons vs. Fighting Irish betting preview.

Demon Deacons vs. Fighting Irish Odds

Demon Deacons (+5.5) -110
Fighting Irish (-5.5) -110
Demon Deacons To Win +180
Fighting Irish To Win -227
Over 143.5 Points -110
Under 143.5 Points -110

I assumed the spread would be much closer than it is, and my first thoughts are they are stacked in the Deacon’s favor. The points total looks a couple of points lower than I thought it would be, so this could also be an avenue to explore.

The Fighting Irish have won all three games that they have entered as the betting favorite this season. In contrast, the Deacons have only won once from the eight games that they entered as the underdogs.

Demon Deacons News

The Deacons form has picked up recently as having lost six games in a row, they have gone on to win two of their last three matchups.

However, those two wins were at home, and they have failed to win a single game on the road this season. Their most recent 72-67 defeat to N.C. State was the closest that they have got to an away victory this season. However, that is not something to write home about as N.C. State had lost their previous four games.

Here are the latest betting trends for Wake Forest:

Against The Spread
  • The Deacons have won their last five games in a row.
  • They have only won two of their previous eight games against the Fighting Irish.
  • Wake Forest is 1-4 in their last five games when playing on the road against Notre Dame.

It seems that the bookmakers have underestimated the Deacons recently. Have they done the same thing here? Not if their record against Notre Dame is anything to go by.

Points Total
  • The total has gone over in 13 of Wake Forest’s last 20 games played in February.

As there is only one trend of any note, it’s relatively self-explanatory.

Other Pointers
  • They have lost their last ten games in a row on the road.
  • The Deacons have only won twice from their previous 12 games against teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Wake Forest doesn’t travel well.

The Deacons have a have pretty poor offense that hasn’t shot or rebounded well this season. Well, that’s not entirely true, they have shot pretty well from deep, but they haven’t worked enough openings in and around the key, which is why they have such a low field goal percentage. This is probably why they have the third-lowest assists average in the Conference this season and the highest number of turnovers made too.

Worryingly but perhaps not surprising, their offense has been even worse on the road this year as they have averaged six points less per game.

Their defense is ranked better than their offense, but it’s just as poor in all truth. They haven’t closed their opponents down well, which has resulted in them having the lowest average number of blocks made per game in the Conference.

Wake Forest has been one of the teams hit hardest by the current worldwide pandemic as although Tariq Ingraham is still a freshman, there were big things expected of him this season, but he has been ruled out for the season.

As well as Ingraham, they also have issues with Lester, DuBose, Van Beveren, and Mathis Junior.

Fighting Irish News

The Fighting Irish certainly haven’t lived up to their name this season as there has been minimal fight from them, having only won six of their 15 games.

Much like the Deacons, the Fighting Irish have picked up recently in a similar fashion to Wake Forest. Notre Dame has won three of their previous four games, having lost their last four in a row. Their only loss came against the Conference leaders Virginia Tech as they went down in a low scoring game, 51-62.

They have a poor record at home, having only won three of their eight games played to date. Their only wins recently came against Bellarmine and Boston College, two games they would have certainly been expected to win.

Here are the latest betting trends for Notre Dame:

Against The Spread
  • They have only won three of their previous ten games.
  • Notre Dame is 1-4 in their last five home games.

Either the bookmakers have seriously overestimated the Fighting Irish recently are they have been awful and lost by some big margins. I suspect it’s a bit of both.

Points Total
  • Their last five games against Wake Forest have all gone over the betting total.
  • Eight of their previous 11 games against opponents in the Atlantic Coast Conference has gone under the points total.
  • The total has gone over in four of Notre Dame’s last five games played in February.

There isn’t much to go on here with the stats contradicting each other.

Other Pointers
  • They have won four of their previous six games played on a Tuesday.
  • That record increases to nine wins from 11 when you focus on their home games played on a Tuesday.

The Fighting Irish wish it was Tuesday every day of the week!!

I feel Notre Dame has a better offense than their statistics might suggest. If they could rebound, they would undoubtedly have an excellent attacking unit. They pass the ball well and don’t make many turnovers.

Much like their opponents, they also shoot well from distance; in fact, they’re even better, scoring at 38%.

However, there is no escaping; they have a very poor defense. They have lost heavily on too many occasions this season, resulting in a point difference per game of -0.8. For me, they don’t work hard enough, and there is almost a sense of arrogance about them. This is reflected in their extremely low steals count, which is the lowest in the Conference.

Ordinarily, I would see a low personal foul count like theirs as a good thing as it’s often the sign of a well-disciplined team, but that isn’t the case with them. They don’t try hard enough to stop teams, and that’s why they have such a low count.

Nate Laszewski leads most of the rankings for Notre Dame, and he hasn’t shot below 50% in his previous nine games. Many are tipping him for bigger things in the future.

Junior Prentiss Hubb has been Laszewskis Robin, and the two players have complimented each other well this season.

Notre Dame only has one player out: Guard Carmody, who is out with a knee injury.

Deacon Demons vs. Fighting Irish Betting Pick

Although both teams’ combined average is slightly less (141) than the points total set for this one, they both will feel this is an excellent opportunity to continue their recent good form and, therefore, play on the front foot. If they can both continue their good three-point shooting, they could also push each other on, resulting in many points. Neither team defend well either. Therefore, I will take over the points total here.

Pick
  • Over 143.5 Points
    -110

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