The Duke Blue Devils had themselves a magical season, but they are massive 13-point underdogs in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl on New Year’s Eve against the Texas A&M Aggies at the Georgia Dome.
TEXAS A&M – DUKE BOWL GAME BETTING LINE:
1. Why DUKE will cover the spread: If the Blue Devils are going to cover this point spread, it’s because they are the fun, new thing on the block. There obviously isn’t a lot of bowl pedigree here for Head Coach David Cutcliffe and company, but then again, this wasn’t a team which was figured to stick around in many games this year either, especially with the best teams in the ACC. WR Jamison Crowder could be in for a big game, as he had 1,197 yards and seven TDs on the season, and both QB Anthony Boone and QB Brandon Connette could end up putting up good numbers against an Aggies defense which has struggled in big games all season long.
2. Why TEXAS A&M will cover the spread: The Aggies have the best player on the field in QB Johnny Manziel, and last season, he lit up the Oklahoma Sooners in the Cotton Bowl. This time around, it is probably his last game at the collegiate level, and he gets to play against a defense which struggled mightily against mobile quarterbacks. Duke is playing without its leading rusher, RB Jela Duncan, and that really cuts down on what the Blue Devils can do offensively. Just as there wasn’t an answer for WR Kelvin Benjamin in the ACC Championship Game against the Florida State Seminoles, there isn’t likely to be an answer for WR Mike Evans either. Evans was the best receiver in the land this year for our money, catching 1,322 yards of passes, an average of 20.3 yards per catch, to go with 12 TDs.
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3. Total Talk: The Blue Devils, for all they did well this year, only averaged just 20.6 points per game in their last three games of the season, though the competition was understandably very tough. They managed to leave their last three games ‘under’ the ‘total’. Texas A&M, which came out of the blocks with ‘over’ games in seven of its first eight, but finished the year with three out of four ‘under’ the number.
4. Betting Trends for A&M/Duke: The Blue Devils were one of the best ATS teams in America this year, going 10-3 against the number. The Aggies only went 5-7 ATS, and they struggled against the best teams on their schedule. Texas A&M managed to go just 3-6 ATS against bowl teams this year, and anyone who watched that game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at the start of the year knows just how lucky the hosts were to snare a backdoor cover in that game. The Aggies have covered the spread in their last two bowl appearances in the 2012 Cotton Bowl and the 2011 Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas.
Texas A&M 34 – Duke 31