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DUKE vs. TEXAS A&M
Tuesday, Dec. 31, 8:00 pm
ESPN Johnny Manziel could play his final collegiate game when Texas A&M meets Duke in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on New Year's Eve in Atlanta. Manziel, who burst onto the scene to become the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy in 2012, finished fifth in the voting this season and said he will seek feedback from the NFL before declaring for the draft deadline. If Manziel learns he may not be selected in the first round, he said he would probably return to Texas A&M. Duke coach Dave Cutcliffe continues to turn around the program, which is making its second straight bowl appearance for the first time in school history. Most of the current Blue Devils got their feet wet in the postseason with a 48-34 loss to Cincinnati in the 2012 Belk Bowl, but sharing the stage with the Aggies is a far bigger step. It is expected to be a high-scoring affair with the total betting line set at 73.5. Texas A&M is sixth in the nation in scoring but 88th among the 123 FBS teams at points allowed. Duke averages 31.6 points scored and 24.7 against, but struggled to stop the No. 2 scoring offense in its 45-7 loss to top-ranked Florida State in the ACC championship game
DUKE - The Blue Devils won the Coastal Division crown - their first championship of any kind since sharing the ACC title with Virginia in 1989 - by winning their final six regular-season conference contests before having their eight-game win streak halted by the Seminoles. Cutcliffe has enjoyed the luxury of a two-quarterback system featuring juniors Brandon Connette who has a team-leading 13 rushing touchdowns, and Anthony Boone. Wide receiver Jamison Crowder was joined by linebacker Kelby Brown, safety Jeremy Cash and cornerback Ross Cockrell are on the All-ACC first team.
TEXAS A&M - Manziel recorded another strong season statistically but wasn't able to lead the Aggies to a victory over their four toughest opponents - Auburn, Alabama, Missouri or LSU. Manziel also rushed for a team-leading 686 yards and eight touchdowns, but did most of his damage throwing the ball to Mike Evans. The Aggies are 15-19 in bowl games after their 41-19 victory over Oklahoma in last season's Cotton Bowl and are making their fifth consecutive bowl appearance.
In terms of total yards per game and passing yards per game, it's dominated by the Texas A&M Aggies. The Aggies average 538.2 yards per game in total, which is 4th best in the nation, and their passing game averages 350.9 yards per game (8th best) thanks to Johnny Manziel. The Aggies are sitting as -11.5 point betting favorites on most sportsbooks, and I've actually seen the line drop from -13.5 when it originally came out and we gave it out a while back.
Another SEC team favored and expected to win. Probably Manziel's last game and would expect a really high scoring game. A couple great coaches and this really should be a fun game. Right now I see A&M winning the game but honestly not by that much, so strongly leaning towards the underdog and taking Duke as a very strong play for Tuesday. Also jumping all over the Over tonight since there should be lots of scoring ahead of us.
DUKE / TEXAS A&M OVER 74 POINTS
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