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College Football Odds & Picks for Pitt vs. Wake Forest: How to Bet the ACC Championship

College Football Odds & Picks for Pitt vs. Wake Forest: How to Bet the ACC Championship article feature image
Credit:

Grant Halverson/Getty Images. Pictured: Sam Hartman.

  • Pitt takes on Wake Forest in the ACC Championship on Saturday.
  • Kenny Pickett and Sam Hartman go head-to-head in a game that will be all about offense.
  • Brad Cunningham breaks down the matchup and offers up a best bet.

Pitt vs. Wake Forest Odds

Saturday, Dec. 4
8 p.m. ET
ABC
Pitt Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-3.5
-110
72
-110o / -110u
-160
Wake Forest Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+3.5
-110
72
-110o / -110u
+140
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Wake Forest and Pittsburgh meet in Charlotte for what is destined to be a high-scoring affair to decide the ACC Championship.

Wake Forest has had an incredible season, sitting at 10-2, which is only its second 10-win season in school history. Sam Hartman and the Demon Deacons offense has been lighting up the scoreboard all season long, but they are running into an offense that has been just as prolific on Saturday.

Kenny Pickett and the Pitt Panthers had one of their best seasons in a long time, going 10-2 with wins over Clemson, Tennessee and North Carolina.

Pat Narduzzi’s offense, much like Wake Forest’s, has been putting an absurd amount of points on the board, so this game has the potential to be the most entertaining game of championship weekend.


Pittsburgh Panthers

Panthers Offense All About Pickett

The Panthers play a very high-paced tempo with Pickett under center and it’s been really effective, as they’re averaging 6.2 yards per play and rank 17th in Success Rate.

Pickett is leaps and bounds better than he’s been in the past, averaging 8.8 yards per attempt with 40 touchdowns and a PFF passing grade of 92.4, which is one of the best in the country.

The biggest advantage Pickett has is he’s the best deep-ball thrower in college football. On throws over 10+ yards, Pickett has better than a 60% adjusted completion percentage with a whopping 28 big-time throws and only 11 turnover-worthy plays.

Kenny Pickett: 98.3 passing grade on 30+ yard passes this season

Highest among all QBs🎯 pic.twitter.com/oiRFvv9BSF

— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) November 29, 2021

This game will likely be in Pickett’s hands because the Pittsburgh rushing attack has been pretty average this season. The Panthers gain only 4.0 yards per carry, rank 49th in Rushing Success Rate and 114th in rushing explosiveness.

The biggest weakness of Wake Forest’s defense has been stopping the run, but Pitt won’t be able to exploit that area like other teams have this season.

Pitt is Leaky in Secondary

Pittsburgh has been solid defensively this season, allowing only 5.1 yards per play and ranking 33rd in Success Rate Allowed, which is pretty impressive considering it has faced four offenses this season inside the top 35 in EPA/Play.

However, a lot of the Panthers’ defensive numbers are inflated against bad competition. In their four games against Tennessee, Western Michigan, North Carolina and Virginia, the Panthers allowed 6.1 yards per play and 8.95 yards per pass attempt.

The secondary is the biggest issue, which is not good news with Hartman coming to town. The Panthers sit 58th in Passing Success Rate and 70th in coverage grade, per PFF. That’s a nightmare against one of the best passing offenses in the country.

Pittsburgh’s front seven has been dominating opposing rushing attacks, allowing only 2.8 yards per carry, which is the fifth-best mark in college football.

The Panthers are also top-15 in Rushing Success Rate Allowed, Defensive Line Yards, and EPA/Rush allowed, along with a ranking of 19th in explosive rushing allowed. They should be able to shut down a below-average Wake Forest rushing attack.

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Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Wake Forest’s Offense is Explosive Behind Hartman

The main reason why Wake Forest is 10-2 is because of its offense, which is gaining 6.1 yards per play and ranks 11th in EPA/Play.

Hartman has been one of the best quarterbacks in the country this season, averaging 8.8 yards per attempt, and has a 90.2 passing grade, per PFF.

It helps that the Deacons have one of the best receivers in the country in Jaquarii Roberson, who has racked up more than 1,000 yards receiving this season and owns a 99.9 PFF receiving grade on passes over 20+ yards in the air.

HOLY MACKERAL JAQUARII ROBERSON WITH THE 70 YARD TUDDY BALL pic.twitter.com/iPuudssz4m

— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) October 23, 2021

The Wake Forest rushing attack hasn’t really gotten going this season, as it’s gaining only 4.1 yards per rush. The Demon Deacons also rank 57th in Rushing Success Rate, 53rd in Offensive Line Yards, and 56th in EPA/Play.

However, this game is going to be in Hartman’s hands given how good Pittsburgh’s run defense is.

Demon Deacons Need Secondary to Show Up

Wake Forest’s defense played incredible last weekend against Boston College, allowing only 10 points and 189 yards of total offense. However, for the season, it’s been pretty bad, ranking 104th in Success Rate Allowed.

Most of their issues have come against the run, as the Demon Deacons are allowing 5.2 yards per attempt, rank 116th in Rushing Success Rate Allowed and 96th in EPA/Rush allowed.

However, given how inept Pittsburgh’s rushing attack has been for most of the season, they likely won’t be exploited on Saturday.

The key in this matchup is whether the Demon Deacons’ secondary can slow down Pickett. Which secondary will show up? The one that held Phil Jurkovec to 19 yards passing last weekend or the one that allowed 408 passing yards to Devin Leary?

Wake Forest is allowing only 7.4 yards per attempt, which is around the national average, and has 34th-best coverage grade, per PFF. With numbers like that, it may be able to slow down Pickett.


Pitt vs. Wake Forest Matchup Analysis

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

Pitt Offense vs. Wake Forest Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 49 116
Line Yards 36 116
Pass Success 7 89
Pass Blocking** 17 70
Big Play 15 115
Havoc 16 40
Finishing Drives 8 97
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Wake Forest Offense vs. Pitt Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 53 17
Line Yards 57 8
Pass Success 12 58
Pass Blocking** 13 63
Big Play 58 80
Havoc 9 13
Finishing Drives 5 56
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 52 79
Coverage 70 34
Middle 8 1 20
SP+ Special Teams 36 19
Plays per Minute 19 4
Rush Rate 48.3% (106) 53.% (80)

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


Pitt vs. Wake Forest Betting Pick

This is no doubt going to be a shootout with these two quarterbacks and the fact that both Pittsburgh and Wake Forest are both top-20 in plays per minute.

This could very likely come down to who has the ball last, but I trust Hartman throwing against Pittsburgh’s below-average secondary more than Pickett throwing into Wake Forest’s secondary.

Our PRO Projections have Wake Forest projected as a -0.3 favorite, which is graded as one of the best values on the board for Saturday. I’ll back the Demon Deacons at +3 or better.

Pick: Wake Forest +3 or Better

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