College Basketball Odds, Pick for Utah vs Wake Forest
Pictured: Branden Carlson.(Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)
Utah vs Wake Forest Odds, Pick
Wake Forest takes on Utah as two high-major teams flying under the radar meet on Thursday night in the Charleston Classic.
The Utes are a sleeper in the Pac-12 conference, but have the size and skill to beat anyone on any given night. Wake Forest added some key transfers this offseason and also has no shortage of talent.
Both teams are willing to get out and run, and possess offenses ranked in the top 40 in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency, according to KenPom. It wouldn't be a surprise to see either side win this game, so let's look at the Utah vs. Wake Forest odds and make a pick.
Utah is undefeated through two games with decisive wins over Eastern Washington and UC Riverside.
Cole Bajema, who started his career under John Beilein at Michigan before transferring to Washington and Utah, leads the Utes in scoring and is averaging 15 points per game.
Utah is known for its inside presence, which is led by Branden and Ben Carlson. Utah holds opponents to just 38% shooting on attempts from inside the arc. The Utes also limit offensive rebounds and rank ninth in the country is preventing offensive rebounds.
It won't be easy for Wake Forest to get what it wants inside in this one.
Wake Forest has shown flashes of excellence, as well as signs of trouble, through two games. After a 101-78 win over Elon in their opener, the Demon Deacons went on the road to face Georgia and lost by three points.
Georgia dominated inside and shot 56% on two-point attempts. That's a formula Utah will look to replicate as it could lead to success.
Wake has no shortage of talent as former Gonzaga guard Hunter Sallis entered the program this summer via the transfer portal to play alongside Andrew Carr in the frontcourt. Leading scorer Cameron Hildreth is also back and has started the season on a tear, tallying 45 points through two games.
If Wake Forest can make shots from outside, it certainly has a chance to come away with a victory. Wake Forest is one of the better shooting teams in the country and has made 89% of its free throws through two games (first in the country). It'll need that shooting to translate from -3point range to offset Utah's advantage inside in this game.
One of Wake Forest's biggest strengths is crashing the offensive glass, where the Demon Deacons rebound their own misses 19% of the time, good for 20th nationally.
Utah vs. Wake Forest
Betting Pick & Prediction
It's hard to see Wake Forest getting anything going at the rim, even with its success on the offensive boards, because Utah is great at preventing offensive rebounds and has the size advantage down low.
KenPom likes Utah as a 5-point favorite and predicts a 79-74 final. I also lean to that side and am backing Utah -3.5.
Pick: Utah -3.5 (Play to -5)
ESPN Bet is now live! Make sure you're ready for all the action with our exclusive ESPN BET promo code TANBONUS.