Florida State vs. Wake Forest Betting Odds, Prediction, Pick: Fade the Seminoles in Week 3 (September 18)
Brian Bishop/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Sam Hartman.
- Florida State and Wake Forest will go to battle in a Saturday afternoon ACC action.
- The Demon Deacons enter as moderate favorites over the Seminoles.
- BJ Cunningham sees betting value there, and he explains his pick below.
Florida State vs. Wake Forest Odds
|Florida State Odds|
-110o / -110u
|Wake Forest Odds|
-110o / -110u
Florida State looks to rebound from an embarrassing loss to Jacksonville State against Wake Forest in Winston-Salem in both teams’ ACC opener.
After a narrow overtime loss in Week 1 to Notre Dame, the Seminoles put up a dud of a performance against Jacksonville State and lost on a last-second Hail Mary.
OH MY GOD 🤯
JACKSONVILLE STATE (+2100 ML) JUST UPSET FLORIDA STATE ON THE FINAL PLAY OF THE GAMEpic.twitter.com/J6TcNwRS1u
— The Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) September 12, 2021
The Mike Norvell era is not off to the best of starts, with the Seminoles are 3-8 dating back to last season. Dropping to 0-3 could spell disaster for the Seminoles’ chances of making a bowl game.
Mackenzie Milton is now starting at quarterback after coming in the second half against Notre Dame, but he was not effective at all against Jacksonville State, going 18-for-31 for 133 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Despite the bad performance last Saturday, Milton is listed as the starter on Florida State’s depth chart for this weekend.
Milton is obviously coming off of a brutal leg injury that he suffered at the end of the 2018 season, so just the fact that he’s playing at this point is a miracle. The problem for Milton is he doesn’t have a great receiving corps to throw to.
Noles receivers ranked sixth-last in 2020, per Pro Football Focus. They did bring in Kansas transfer Andrew Parchment, but it’s still one of the worst groups of perimeter playmakers in the ACC.
For Florida State’s offense to be successful, they have to run the ball consistently. Talented running back Jashaun Corbin ran for 9.5 yards per carry against Notre Dame, and the Seminoles have all starters back on an offensive line that ranked in the top 15 in offensive line yards and Rushing Success Rate last season.
The Noles had all sorts of issues on the defensive side of the ball last season, ranking outside the top 100 in Offensive Success Rate allowed and Havoc.
Florida State was very busy in the transfer portal, bringing a lot of new faces to its defense like cornerback Brandon Moore from Central Florida, defensive end Jermaine Johnson from Georgia and safety Jammie Robinson from South Carolina.
However, all of those changes don’t appear to have improved the unit much because the secondary was torched for 9.39 yards per attempt by Jack Coan.
Florida State lost three starters from a secondary that allowed 8.1 yards per attempt in 2020 and ranked 118th in Passing Success allowed. Adding two high-quality transfers should help them improve, but the Noles are likely going to struggle on Saturday against a really good quarterback in Sam Hartman.
The Florida State run defense has been outstanding in 2021, allowing only 2.33 yards per attempt through two games. With their entire front seven having a lot of starting experience by adding a few transfers, the Noles should be able to shut down a Wake Forest rushing attack that ranked outside the top 80 in rushing success rate in 2020.
Wake Forest is off to a flying start, having blown out Old Dominion and Norfolk State to start their season. This is now Year 8 under Dave Clawson, who before last season led Wake Forest to four straight winning seasons.
Wake brings back a ton of production from last season with all 11 starters on offense and nine on defense. This will be their first big test as to whether the Deacons’ bounce back in 2021 is for real.
Demon Deacons Offense
The Wake Forest offense is led by Hartman and its passing attack.
In 2020, Hartman went a little bit under the radar, finishing with a 8.1 yards per attempt average and a 77.1 passing grade, per PFF, which was 37th best in FBS.
Hartman has one of the best wide receivers in the ACC to throw to in Jaquarii Robinson, who had 62 catches for 926 yards and eight touchdowns in only nine games last season. He also posted the second-highest receiving grade in the country last season, behind only Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith, per PFF. He will be a big problem for a very poor Florida State secondary.
Sam Hartman ➡️ Jaquarii Roberson 💰
64-yard touchdown connection for @WakeFB today. pic.twitter.com/jhIrrDBgcf
— Stadium (@Stadium) September 11, 2021
Wake Forest’s rushing attack sputtered last season, which put a lot of pressure on Hartman. The Deacons averaged only 3.9 yards per attempt and ranked outside the top 90 in rushing success rate.
Wake has all five starters back on its offensive line, but the Demon Deacons’ success in this game is going to have to come through the air.
Demon Deacons Defense
The front seven for Wake Forest is going to have to deal with the loss of its two best players on defense from a season ago.
Defensive end Carlos Basham and leading tackler Ja’Cquez Williams have moved on, but the rest of their starters are back on defense.
This season, the Deacons’ big strength on defense is their secondary. Wake Forest earned a top-30 coverage ranking, per PFF, and ranked 11th in explosive passing plays allowed, which means Milton is going to have a really tough time getting anything going through the air.
The problem for Wake Forest in this matchup will be slowing down Florida State’s rushing attack. The Demon Deacons allowed 4.5 yards per carry last year and ranked outside the top 90 in Rushing Success Rate Allowed and rushing explosiveness allowed.
Wake did hold Old Dominion and Norfolk State to under four yards a carry, but Florida State will be a different animal.
Florida State vs. Wake Forest Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Florida State and Wake Forest match up statistically:
Florida State Offense vs. Wake Forest Defense
Wake Forest Offense vs. Florida State Defense
Pace of Play / Other
This is a very interesting matchup, in which both offenses have a clear distinct advantage. Wake Forest’s passing attack led by Hartman and Roberson should be able to torch the Seminoles, who should be able to run the ball efficiently on the Demon Deacons’ front seven.
I think the difference will come down to whether Milton can have any success to avoid Wake Forest stacking the box. With how good Wake Forest’s secondary is, I think it’s going to be a long day for the UCF transfer.
Florida State vs. Wake Forest Betting Pick
This line has been crashing throughout the week. Wake Forest opened as a seven-point favorite, but that has been bet down to 4.5 with 62% of the tickets and 63% of the money on the Seminoles.
I have Wake Forest projected as a -9.47 favorite, so I think there is plenty of value on the Demon Deacons at home to cover -4.5 points.
Pick: Wake Forest -4.5
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