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Texas A&M Aggies vs. Duke Blue Devils Chick-fil-A Bowl Pick-Odds-Prediction 12/31/13

Duke Blue Devils (10-3) at Texas A&M Aggies (8-4)

College Football: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 at 8:00 pm (Georgia Dome)

The Line: Texas A&M Aggies -12.5 -- Over/Under: 75 See the Latest Odds

TV: ESPN

The Texas A&M Aggies play the Duke Blue Devils in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on Tuesday night.

The Duke Blue Devils finished 10-3 overall and 6-2 in the ACC this season. 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. 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. 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). WR Jamison Crowder (96 catches, 1,197 yards, seven touchdowns) was joined by LB Kelby Brown (second in the conference at 9.2 tackles per game), S Jeremy Cash and cornerback Ross Cockrell on the All-ACC first team.

Texas A&M Aggies vs. Duke Blue Devils Chick-fil-A Bowl Pick-Odds-Prediction 12/31/13

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

The Texas A&M Aggies finished 8-4 overall and 4-4 in the SEC during the regular season. 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. 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. 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 in 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.

This should be a high scoring game with two offenses that can score in bunches going up against two vulnerable defensive units. I believe Johnny Manziel will have a great game and will improve his draft value once this game is over. Duke will be able to put up some points against an average at best Texas A&M defense, but they won’t be able to produce enough to keep up with the Aggies offense. I’m taking the Aggies to win by 20 or more in a high scoring game that will probably reach the 80’s.

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Texas A&M -12.5 (BIG)

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