Chick Fil-A-Bowl: What bettors need to know

Dec 30, 2013 |
Chick Fil-A-Bowl: What bettors need to know
Johnny Manziel could play his final collegiate game in the Chick Fil-A Bowl.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
Johnny Manziel could play his final collegiate game in the Chick Fil-A Bowl.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
Duke Blue Devils vs. Texas A&M Aggies (-11.5, 75)

Game played at the Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia.


1. 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 prior to the Jan. 15 deadline. If Manziel learns he may not be selected in the first round, he said he would probably return to Texas A&M.

2. 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.

3. 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 at 43.6 points but 88th among the 123 FBS teams at 30.9 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 on Dec. 7.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN.

LINE: Texas A&M opened -13 and has been bet down to -11.5. The total has climbed from 72 to 75 points.


* Blue Devils are 7-1 ATS in their last eight games overall.
* Aggies are 2-5 ATS in their last seven Bowl games.
* Over is 18-8-1 in Blue Devils' last 27 non-conference games.
* Under is 4-1 in Aggies' last five bowl games.

ABOUT DUKE (10-3, 6-2 ACC, 10-3 ATS): 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 (62.1 completion percentage, 13 touchdowns, six interceptions), who has a team-leading 13 rushing touchdowns, and Anthony Boone (63.9, 10, 11, with four rushing TDs). Wide receiver Jamison Crowder (96 catches, 1,197 yards, seven touchdowns) was joined by linebacker Kelby Brown (second in the conference at 9.2 tackles per game), safety Jeremy Cash and cornerback Ross Cockrell on the All-ACC first team.

ABOUT TEXAS A&M (8-4, 4-4 SEC, 5-7 ATS): Manziel recorded another strong season statistically by completing 69.1 percent of his passes with 33 touchdowns against 13 interceptions, 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 (65 catches, 1,322 yards, 12 touchdowns). 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.

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