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Wake Forest vs. Vanderbilt Odds, Picks, Predictions: This Quarterback’s Return Provides Value on Week 2 Total

Wake Forest vs. Vanderbilt Odds, Picks, Predictions: This Quarterback’s Return Provides Value on Week 2 Total article feature image

Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Sam Hartman (Wake Forest)

Wake Forest vs. Vanderbilt Odds

Saturday, Sept. 10
Noon ET
SEC Network
Wake Forest Odds
-106o / -114u
Vanderbilt Odds
-106o / -114u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Not much was expected from Vanderbilt this season, as it was projected for only three wins in our Action Network season win total projections.

However, the Commodores have taken care of business in the first two weeks of the season, and are now two-thirds of the way there. Their schedule is about to ratchet up in a big way, though, as they host the Wake Forest Demon Deacons this Saturday.

The Demon Deacons took care of VMI in Week 1, but that was with their backup quarterback, Mitch Griffis, at the helm. Wake Forest received excellent news earlier this week, as junior quarterback Sam Hartman has been cleared to return after missing most of the last few months with a blood-clot issue.

Hartman’s return makes this a completely different ball game, and the market has reacted as such. We’ve seen the spread increase by six points and the total increase by three points since open.

So, how should we bet this brand new ball game between the Demon Deacons and Commodores?

Let’s dig in to find out.

Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Let’s start with “Slingin” Sam. Hartman had a breakout campaign in 2021, as he threw for 4,228 yards and 39 touchdown passes. He led the Demon Deacons to an 11-2 record that was capped off by an appearance in the ACC title game and a bowl victory.

With his return, the expectations for the Demon Deacons are high once again. The market came crashing down on their win total with Hartman’s status up in the air, but they rank 41st in returning production and should be all systems go on Saturday.

Hartman will have quite a juicy matchup for his return, as Vanderbilt was one of the worst defenses against the pass last season. The Commodores ranked 115th in pass per EPA per play allowed last season, while Hartman and the Wake Forest offense ranked 13th in pass EPA per play.

This Wake Forest offense is explosive. Hartman averaged 8.3 yards per pass last season, and the Deacons did not put up fewer than 35 points in any game.

While we should expect some early-game rust from Hartman, expect him to heat up as the matchup goes along.

This Vandy secondary is in for a rude awakening after its soft first two games of the season.

Vanderbilt Commodores

What’s going to make this matchup exciting is that the Commodores have shown that they are willing to go toe-to-toe and will likely try and keep up with the explosiveness of Wake Forest.

Vanderbilt comes into this matchup averaging 72 plays per game. The Commodores have made it a point to let quarterback Mike Wright do what is needed to be successful. Thus far this season, he’s made an impact both through the air and on the ground.

We’ve known about his rushing ability, but since being anointed the full-time starter, he has not been contained. He’s the team’s leading rusher by far, and he has averaged more than 10 yards per rush and has reached pay dirt four times.

We saw him run wild against Hawaii, where he racked up 163 yards on the ground.

However, he’s taken some strides forward in the pocket, as well. Through two games, Wright has completed 62% of his passes and has yet to throw an interception.

While I may be singing the praises of Wright, he will be in for a challenge, as the Wake Forest defense was elite when it mattered last season. The Demon Deacons ranked fourth in Defensive Finishing Drives and were stingy against the pass.

However, Wright and running back Re’Mahn Davis may be able to break through, as Wake Forest was 90th in Rush Play Explosiveness Allowed.

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Wake Forest vs. Vanderbilt Betting Pick

This total may have only gone up by about a field goal due to Harman’s return, but we have to factor in just how fast and explosive this Wake offense is with him under center.

The Demon Deacons led the country in plays per game last season and are going up against a team that is an average of only nine plays behind them.

The Commodores have playmakers of their own and should be able to get on the board with the number of opportunities they’ll have while Wake leads the dance.

Take the over, and enjoy one of the fastest games you’ll see thus far.

Pick: Over 65.5

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