NC State vs. Wake Forest College Football Odds & Pick: Can the Wolfpack Take ACC Lead?
William Howard/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Emeka Emezie (86) and Porter Rooks (4).
- NC State has just two losses all season and now travels to Wake Forest to take on the Demon Deacons.
- Wake suffered a disappointing loss to North Carolina last week, blowing an 18-point lead and ruining its undefeated record.
- Collin Wilson breaks down the game and offers up his best bet.
NC State vs. Wake Forest Odds
|NC State Odds|
-115o / -105u
|Wake Forest Odds|
-115o / -105u
First place in the ACC Atlantic is on the line at NC State makes a two-hour bus ride outside of The Triangle to Winston-Salem where Wake Forest awaits.
A win for the Demon Deacons all but seals the Atlantic Division with two games to play and a two-game lead on Clemson and Boston College. A loss by Wake Forest, and it’s the Wolfpack in the driver’s seat.
NC State only needs to defend its home field against Syracuse and North Carolina if a victory is secured in Week 11.
From a national perspective, the ACC has no love from the College Football Playoff committee, as the lone top-10 team in Wake Forest dropped in the latest rankings, thanks to what was technically a nonconference loss to North Carolina.
The winner of the ACC is projected to play in a New Year’s Six bowl, the Peach Bowl, per our Brett McMurphy. Because of the chaotic selection process among ACC bowl ties, the loser of this game could end up in San Diego for the Holiday Bowl or the newly-branded Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl.
That would be quite a fall for a Wake Forest team that was in the playoff discussion just a week ago. A loss here all but seals the division and chance to compete against the Coastal to win the conference.
Painful Losses for NC State’s Offense
All that separates NC State from an undefeated season is a couple of turnovers and a handful of third-down conversions.
In a nonconference loss at Mississippi State earlier in the season, the Wolfpack had three offensive turnovers in the form of fumbles and a forced Devin Leary interception to end the game.
A 30% effort on third downs would come into play again during a one-point loss to Miami in which the Wolfpack went 3-for-14 on money downs.
NC State is now 112th in passing downs Success Rate and must stay ahead of schedule to allow Leary to work with a talented group of receivers.
Emeka Emezie for SIX.
Clemson in a tight one with NC State 👀
— 247Sports (@247Sports) September 25, 2021
Wolfpack Defense Remains Stout
Defensive coordinator Tony Gibson has created one of the best versions of Wolfpack stoppers in recent history. NC State is third in the nation in Defensive Rushing Success Rate and top-25 in big play prevention.
Opponents are unable to move the ball on the ground and have not had much success through the air.
The Wolfpack rank 11th in Defensive Passing Success Rate and 29th in coverage ranks, per PFF. The 3-3-5 scheme is particularly important against a Wake Forest team that has been deadly through the air.
Gibson has sent blitz at a modest rate of 22% but almost never on first down. NC State is guaranteed to send blitz on third and long, making Wake Forest’s ability to stay on schedule the biggest handicap of the game.
Hartman Leads Wake Forest’s Offense
There were fireworks from both offenses in a loss to North Carolina in Week 10. Both teams gained more than 15% of the national average in available yards and logged an astounding 10 explosive drives in 31 total possessions.
Quarterback Sam Hartman continued to hover outside of the Heisman bubble with nearly 400 yards and five touchdowns.
Sam Hartman is a mesh point magician pic.twitter.com/3SGoqw9CHJ
— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) November 6, 2021
The biggest contrast in offenses was a lack of success on passing downs for Wake Forest in comparison to North Carolina. The Demon Deacons averaged just 5.32 yards on passing downs with an average third-down distance of 6.7 yards.
Deacons Defense Continues to Struggle
The Tar Heels scored 24 points in the fourth quarter alone, an issue that has been common for Wake Forest opponents in the second half.
The Demon Deacons have some of the worst defensive splits in the nation, ranking outside the top 100 in Rush and Passing Success Rate and 121st in Line Yards.
Any team that wants to run against Wake will have no interference. The biggest issue with the Deacons defense is a rank of 129th in passing downs Success Rate.
No matter the down and distance, opponents are moving the chains. Wake Forest is 100th in third-down defense and 91st in Finishing Drives.
NC State vs. Wake Forest Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how NC State and Wake Forest match up statistically:
NC State Offense vs. Wake Forest Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Wake Forest Offense vs. NC State Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||38||28|
|Plays per Minute||94||7|
|Rush Rate||47.3% (113)||53.7% (75)|
NC State vs. Wake Forest Betting Pick
The Wake Forest offense has been lighting up the scoreboard against opponents with an average of 52.5 points over the past four games. Not many defenses have been able to put a stop on the Demon Deacons offense, but not many defenses on the schedule are built like NC State.
The last 3-3-5 defense Hartman faced was Syracuse, and the Orange limited Wake Forest to a mark below the national average in available yards, methodical drives and zero runs over 12 yards.
NC State has much better defensive statistics against the rush and pass while creating plenty of chaos.
The real handicap is keeping the Wolfpack offense on schedule. NC State has been able to dominate opponents when getting a low mark to gain on third down. NC State may lean heavily on the rush attack to keep the Wake Forest offense off the field, as a shootout is not the preferred style of play for head coach Dave Doeren.
Linebacker Isaiah Moore was the third-best tackler on the Wolfpack defense, putting even more emphasis on NC State to control time of possession.
This is the best defense Wake has faced on the season, and with the Wolfpack rushing attack ranking 30th in Stuff Rate, there’s the ability to extend drives and burn clock.
Pick: NC State +110 or Better | Under 66 or Better
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