North Carolina vs Wake Forest Odds & Picks: Bet the Underdog Heels

North Carolina vs Wake Forest Odds & Picks: Bet the Underdog Heels article feature image

Grant Halverson/Getty Images. Pictured: North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye.

North Carolina vs Wake Forest Odds

Saturday, Nov. 12
7:30 p.m. ET
North Carolina Odds
-115o / -105u
Wake Forest Odds
-115o / -105u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Do you love points? Do you hate defenses? Well, is this the game for you!

With a current total set at 77, North Carolina vs. Wake Forest is the highest total of the entire season and should be a wild shootout in Winston-Salem.

North Carolina continues to be one of the most underrated teams in the country. Currently ranked No. 15 in the College Football Playoff rankings, the Tar Heels are the lowest-ranked one-loss Power Five team. They are ranked behind four teams with two losses, despite their lone blemish coming against No. 20 Notre Dame.

Despite the disrespect in the rankings, you would hope that if North Carolina is able to run the table and win the ACC as a one-loss conference champion, they should still have a chance to reach the College Football Playoff.

Wake Forest had entered the season in the top 25 after last year’s run to the championship game and got as high as No. 10 in the AP Poll just two weeks ago. They opened the first CFP rankings at No. 21, but after back-to-back losses to Louisville and NC State, the Demon Deacons have tumbled out of the polls and to just 2-3 in conference play.

Over the last two years, North Carolina has won both matchups, 58-55 and 59-53. Is this another put-your-big-boy-pants-on-and-take-the-over game? Or is it better to attack one of the sides?

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Heisman-worthy QB with North Carolina Tar Heels

Speaking of underrated, why isn’t Drake Maye getting more love in the Heisman conversation?

This dude might be the most talented quarterback in the country. The 6-foot-4 redshirt freshman leads the country with 31 touchdowns and has thrown just three interceptions. He's averaging 329.3 passing yards per game all while completing more than 71% of his passes.

He has two star receivers on the outside to throw the ball to in Josh Downs and Antoine Green. They are both averaging 99 yards per game. Downs is the go-to target, averaging nine catches per game, and Green is averaging a ridiculous 23 yards per reception.

Josh Downs has a career high in receptions and continues to DOMINATE 😤@JoshDowns |

— ACC Network (@accnetwork) November 5, 2022

The Tar Heels have put up at least 30 points in eight of their nine games this season and rank ninth in total offense. They are 19th in the country in Success Rate and 10th at explosiveness as Maye poses a constant threat to pick up a big play with his arm or his legs.

The Tar Heels' offense has been able to put up points on every team they’ve played, and they have certainly needed to given this defense.

There isn’t much to say about this unit that ranks 127th in the country in Success Rate. They create no Havoc and teams have run the ball all over them all year.

Expect Wake Forest Demon Deacons to Get Air

Wake Forest dodged a serious bullet when star quarterback Sam Hartman ended up missing just one game of action after dealing with blood-clot issues at the start of the season.

One of the ACC’s best quarterbacks, Hartman is averaging 302 yards per game with 24 touchdown passes, both second in the conference behind only Maye.

The Demon Deacons rarely run the ball, and they’re just 99th in the nation when they do. They want to put the ball in the air with Hartman, and that is when they at their best. They have weapons at their disposal and have a deep room with six players averaging more than 25 yards receiving per game.

A.T. Perry is their biggest weapon at receiver. He led the team with 15 touchdowns and 1,293 yards last year and has racked up 711 yards and six touchdowns this season.

This passing attack is 19th in the country in passing Success Rate, and only UNC has been more dangerous through the air in the ACC.

The Wake Forest defense has actually taken a pretty big step forward at defending the run this season, compared to last. But they still struggle mightily against the pass. They are 60th in the country in passing Success Rate, but 96th at preventing passing explosiveness.

North Carolina vs Wake Forest Matchup Analysis

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

North Carolina Offense vs. Wake Forest Defense
Rush Success5448
Line Yards6450
Pass Success960
Pass Blocking**272
Finishing Drives233
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Wake Forest Offense vs. North Carolina Defense
Rush Success99129
Line Yards109123
Pass Success19101
Pass Blocking**1033
Finishing Drives21117
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling2734
PFF Coverage10436
SP+ Special Teams1321
Seconds per Play23.9 (21)23.3 (14)
Rush Rate50.5% (83)51.8% (74)
Data via (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

North Carolina vs Wake Forest Betting Pick

This game is going to be so much and I so badly want to take the over but just can’t convince myself to play a total that high.

Instead, I’m going to back the Tar Heels as an underdog here. For starters, they are catching points. If Wake Forest were +3.5, I’d be taking them.

With a total set at 77 points, this game is obviously expected to be a wild, back-and-forth shootout. In a game with both teams trading shots, and likely trading leads, having more than a field goal in your pocket is huge.

This game could come down to who has the ball last, or who makes the first mistake. That is another advantage I give to UNC. The Tar Heels have turned the ball over just nine times all year, 17th best in the country.

Wake Forest has turned it over 16 times, ranking 98th in the country. We have seen Hartman have some blow up games in the past. He has thrown seven interceptions in his last three games alone.

Along those lines, in a game expected to be an offensive show, give me the better quarterback. Maye has arguably been the best quarterback in the country this season. He has a rocket arm and is insanely accurate. He is dangerous with his legs to pick up key first downs, and most importantly, he protects the football.

Hartman has thrown three interceptions in each of his last two games. Maye has thrown just three picks all season.

If this game winds up being the shootout we all expect it to, give me the better quarterback, who doesn’t turn the ball over, catching more than a field goal.

Pick: North Carolina +4.5 ⋅ Play to +3

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