Wake Forest vs. Virginia Betting Odds & Pick: Can the Cavaliers Cover in Winston-Salem? (Saturday, Oct. 17)

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Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images. Pictured: Nick Grant #1 of the Virginia Cavaliers celebrates an interception.

Wake Forest vs. Virginia Odds

Wake Forest Odds -1 [BET NOW]
Virginia Odds +1 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -125/+105 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 55.5 [BET NOW]
Time Saturday, 4 p.m. ET
TV ACC Network

Odds as of Saturday afternoon and via PointsBet, where you can get $250 FREE instantly after signing up AND your bets automatically sync to the Action app. Learn more about BetSync here.



Saturday’s slate features an ACC matchup of two teams trying to fight their way out of losing records as 1-2 Wake Forest hosts 1-2 Virginia. After dropping its first two games to Clemson and North Carolina State, Wake finally got into the win column vs. Campbell and comes into this game having just enjoyed a bye week.

Virginia, coincidentally, has also seen its two losses come against Clemson and NC State after an 18-point victory against Duke in Week 1. Both teams love to push the tempo, and each team ranks top three in plays per game so far in 2020.


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Virginia Cavaliers

Virginia’s offense has performed well thus far, ranking 35th in success rate versus FBS opponents. The strength of this unit is on the offensive line, which has performed very well across the board.

In the run game, it ranks 12th in line yards per carry and 16th in stuff rate. In the passing game, it ranks 25th in sack rate. The offense as a whole ranks 16th in havoc allowed, and has taken just 13 tackles for loss (eighth among teams with at least 200 offensive snaps) despite facing an incredible Clemson defensive line, a number that ranks .

However, it is still up in the air as to whether or not the Cavaliers will have quarterback Brennan Armstrong available on Saturday, as he suffered a concussion in last week’s game.

Head coach Bronco Mendenhall sounded optimistic on the injury after the game, but Armstrong still had not practiced after Wednesday. Quarterback Lindell Stone filled in and posted 240 yards on 54 attempts for three touchdowns and an interception.

Defensively, the Cavaliers have limited opponents to a 34% success rate, which currently ranks 17th in the country. Virginia also ranks 28th in expected points added (EPA) on that side of the ball.

This also could be a havoc mismatch against a Wake Forest offense that struggles in that regard, as Virginia ranks 18th in havoc this season. It was able to hold Clemson to its lowest success rate of the 2020 season and actually limited running back Travis Etienne to his fifth-worst yards-per-carry average since the beginning of the 2019 season.

It has excelled against the run all season long, ranking 14th in line yards per carry, ninth in opportunity rate, and 24th in stuff rate. Wake Forest may struggle to get an effective ground game going in this matchup.

Wake Forest Demon Deacons

On the offensive side of the ball, Wake loves to play fast. However, it will definitely be looking to improve in terms of efficiency. The Deacons currently rank 28th in success rate in total, but drop to 58th in success rate versus FBS opponents.

In its two ACC games, Wake was only able to post a success rate of 42% against NC State and a dreadful 22% versus Clemson. Wake’s offensive line has had its fair share of struggles so far in 2020, and ranks 71st out of 76 teams in sack rate. The Deacons also rank 52nd in havoc allowed. This may be surprising if you look at Wake Forest’s box scores, as it is averaging 40.3 points per game.

However, this is heavily influenced by a 66-point showing against Campbell. I keep track of a metric called points over expected, which basically is used to indicate which teams are scoring points at unsustainable rates. Wake currently ranks 15th in that metric, so we can reasonably expect some regression in the future.

The Deacons have struggled mightily on defense so far in 2020. Out of 76 teams, this unit ranks 68th in EPA and 71st in success rate versus FBS opponents. It allows opponents to consistently move the chains, and has trouble defending explosive plays as well, allowing 7.3 20-plus yard plays per game, fifth-most in the nation. The Deacons also rank 41st in havoc, and rank 68th in sack rate on early downs.


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Betting Analysis & Pick

Both teams have played three games so far this season, but have played two of the same opponents. Comparing each team’s performance against Clemson, Wake had a 22% success rate compared to Virginia’s 44%.

The Deacons allowed a 62% success rate to the Clemson offense, while the Cavaliers were able to hold them to a 46% success rate. Versus NC State, Virginia had a 6% edge in success rate over the Wolfpack while Wake Forest had a -3% edge.

I played Virginia -2.5 at open assuming that Armstrong would be available and still like it if he is able to go. However, if he is out, I would probably stay away.

Pick: Virginia -2 (-110)

[Bet Virginia now at PointsBet risk-free up to $250]

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