Wake Forest vs. Virginia Betting Odds, Picks: Why the Cavaliers Are the Play in Friday Night College Football Action

Wake Forest vs. Virginia Betting Odds, Picks: Why the Cavaliers Are the Play in Friday Night College Football Action article feature image
Credit:

Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images. Pictured: Head coach Bronco Mendenhall of the Virginia Cavaliers.

Wake Forest vs. Virginia Odds

Wake Forest Odds +3 (-105)
Virginia Odds -3 (-115)
Moneyline +150 / -170
Over/Under 70 (-115 / -105)
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV ESPN2
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Wake Forest looks to stay perfect as it travels for its first Atlantic Coast Conference road game in Saturday’s matchup with the Virginia Cavaliers.

Wake Forest endured its first losing season under head coach Dave Clawson since 2015, finishing last year with a 4-5 record. Many of those struggles were attributed to opt-outs, early departures and the injury bug.

According to TARP, the Demon Deacons returned 86% of their offensive production and 75% of their defensive production. They’ve bounced back in a big way so far, starting the season 3-0, including a 35-14 win over Florida State last week.

Virginia its campaign with victories over William & Mary and Illinois, outscoring them by a combined 85-14 margin. In the third week of action, the Cavaliers held a 28-24 lead on the road against North Carolina before the wheels fell off in the second half.

Bronco Mendenhall’s defense allowed close to 700 yards of offense to Sam Howell’s Air Raid attack. Virginia quarterback Brennan Armstrong did everything he could to keep them in the game, throwing for more than 550 yards and four touchdowns.

Virginia’s defense will need to bounce back quickly to avoid two early ACC losses and keep them in contention for the division.


Wake Forest vs. Virginia Betting Preview

Friday, Sept. 24
7 p.m. ET
ESPN2

Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Demon Deacons Offense

The Deacons run the ball on 59% of their offensive snaps, but that’s only translated to 44% of their total yards. The bulk of the offensive production is reliant on the arm of Sam Hartman and legs of Christian Beal-Smith.

Hartman has thrown for six touchdowns to just one interception while averaging 7.9 yards per pass attempt. He’s led the offense to the 19th national ranking in Passing Success. Much of that is attributed to the offensive line that ranks 14th in Pass Blocking.

Although the run game has found paydirt eight times this season, it ranks 102nd in Rushing Success Rate. Wake Forest features a running-back-by-committee system that averages 4.2 yards per carry. Beal-Smith is the most efficient of the group, running for nearly six yards per carry. He also has four touchdowns so far this season.

The Deacons play at a fast pace that ranks 29th in the nation, but have lacked the ability to find explosive plays. They sit at 108th in Big Play rate.


Demon Deacons Defense

The Wake Forest defense has been solid against the rush but putrid against the pass through three games. The unit is allowing just 3.5 yards per carry and ranking 24th in the country in Rush Success.

However, when teams elect to air it out, the Deacons have struggled, ranking 116th in Defensive Pass Success. All five touchdowns the defense has let up have come through the air.

Keep in mind, this defense hasn’t really been tested yet facing the likes of Old Dominion, Norfolk State and Florida State, which has been on the decline. This week will be the first true challenge matching up against a quarterback who ranks No. 2 in total passing yards this season.

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Virginia Cavaliers

Cavaliers Offense

Armstrong is as important to the Virginia offense as Batman is to Gotham City.

Through three games, he ranks No. 2 in the nation in passing yards, averaging over 430 per game and 10.7 yards per attempt. He has 11 touchdowns to just two interceptions while completing 72% of his passes.

The offense has been dynamite, averaging 40.5 points per game and 565 yards of total offense that’s good for third in the nation. The Cavaliers average  7.3 yards per play and convert third downs more than 50% of the time.

The rushing attack has not been great, averaging 2.8 yards per carry and less than 80 yards per game. The Cavaliers see no need to run the ball when they have one of the most productive passing threats in the country, which is why they rank third in passing attempts per game at 48.5 this season.


Cavaliers Defense

The Virginia defense allowed just 310 passing yards, 210 rushing yards and two total touchdowns combined between Illinois and William & Mary.

In the third week, the Cavaliers conceded 307 passing yards, 392 rushing yards and eight total touchdowns. The flood gates opened and there was nothing their defense could do to slow down Sam Howell and North Carolina offense.

That loss to the Tar Heels has seriously skewed the Cavaliers’ defensive metrics. They’re allowing an average of 6.9 yards per carry, when through the first two weeks they were letting up just 3.2 in that same statistic. They now rank outside the top 100 in various categories such as Line Yards, defensive pass rush and Havoc.

Whether the defense that showed up against North Carolina is Virginia’s identity or a one-time blip remains to be seen.


Wake Forest vs. Virginia Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Wake Forest and Virginia match up statistically:

Wake Forest Offense vs. Virginia Defense

Offense

Defense

Edge

Rush Success 102 99
Line Yards 53 129
Pass Success 19 71
Pass Blocking** 14 106
Big Play 108 109
Havoc 48 100
Finishing Drives 67 66
**Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Virginia Offense vs. Wake Forest Defense

Offense

Defense

Edge

Rush Success 78 24
Line Yards 32 86
Pass Success 5 116
Pass Blocking** 36 41
Big Play 3 23
Havoc 55 13
Finishing Drives 66 17
**Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 28 112
PFF Coverage 12 84
Middle 8 36 31
SP+ Special Teams 35 119
Plays per Minute 29 49
Rush Rate 59.4% (42) 40.3% (124)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.


Wake Forest vs. Virginia Betting Pick

This will be the first in conference road game for Wake Forest and it might want to play ball control to keep Virginia’s offense off the field. This game is anticipated to be a shootout, but I’m staying away from the total for that reason.

That said, I’m backing Armstrong and the Virginia offense to be able to continue lighting defenses up through the air. This game presents a huge mismatch between the Cavaliers’ fifth-ranked passing attack against Wake Forest and its 116th-ranked pass defense.

Virginia’s defense has been better than what we saw last week, and many are overreacting to the poor showing. I anticipate the Cavaliers to get enough stops and the offense to continue to roll.

Pick: Virginia -4 (Play to -4.5)

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