Virginia Tech at Wake Forest Betting Odds & Pick: Welcome to the Hooker and Herbert Show (Saturday, Oct. 24)
Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images. Pictured: Hendon Hooker.
Virginia Tech at Wake Forest Betting Odds
|Virginia Tech Odds||-10.5 [BET NOW]|
|Wake Forest Odds||+10.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-391/+300 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||68.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET|
With Hendon Hooker at the helm, the Virginia Tech offense looks like one of the best in the ACC. After a 40-14 beat down of Boston College, it’ll look to keep things rolling against Wake Forest on Saturday.
Wake got its season back on track Saturday against Virginia with a dominant second-half performance to win 40-23. Sam Hartman posted his most efficient performance of the year, throwing for 309 yards on only 27 attempts.
However, he’ll be in store for a rude awakening when the Hokies defense comes to town on Saturday.
Virginia Tech Hokies
Virginia Tech has run the ball at will this season, toting the rock for 6.9 yards per carry and ranking second in the nation in rushing success. Kansas transfer Khalil Herbert may be the best back in the country, as he’s running the ball for a ridiculous 9.7 yards per carry average.
Virginia Tech returned all five offensive linemen and added a ton of depth up front, so its rushing attack isn’t slowing down soon.
The Hokie offense turned a corner last year when Hendon Hooker took over at quarterback. Hooker was out for Tech’s first two games and saw limited snaps in its loss to North Carolina. He started his first game of the season against Boston College last weekend and showed his deadly dual-threat ability.
He attempted only 15 passes, but it didn’t matter because most of his production came on the ground. Boston College’s defense had no answers for Hooker, as he ran the ball 18 times for 164 yards and three touchdowns. Wake Forest is one of the worst run defenses in the ACC, so Hooker and Herbert should run the ball at will on Saturday.
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Justin Hamilton took over for longtime defensive coordinator Bud Foster in the offseason. Outside of the North Carolina game, the defense hasn’t skipped a beat with 10 starters returning from last season. Foster’s defenses were always known for creating turnovers, which has continued into 2020. The Hokies’ defense wreaked Havoc on Boston College’s offense last week, forcing three interceptions and two fumbles.
The strength of the Hokie defense is in their back seven. Middle linebacker Rayshard Ashby is as fundamentally sound as any defender in the country. He’s already racked up a whopping 235 tackles in two-plus seasons as a starter.
The Hokies also have almost all of their secondary returning, except first-round talent Caleb Farley at cornerback, as he opted out of the season. So far, the Hokies have somewhat struggled against the pass, ranking 41st in defensive passing success and allowing 7.7 yards per attempt. However, with experience in their secondary, they should keep Wake Forest’s passing attack in check on Saturday.
Tech’s weakness this season has come on the defensive line, as it’s allowing 5.0 yards per carry. However, the Hokies have three seniors and a graduate transfer on their front four, so you’d expect some improvement.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons
After a 13-point performance against Clemson to open the season, the Demon Deacon offense has been clicking on all cylinders.
Hartman, a sophomore, has been sensational in his last three games, throwing the ball for 9.0 yards per attempt with no interceptions. However, he’s had to develop a connection with new faces, as his top target from last season, Sage Surratt, has moved on. He’s developed a nice connection with Jaquarii Roberson, who already has 315 yards receiving on only 20 catches.
Wake Forest lost its top two running backs from last year, but it hasn’t seemed to matter. Kenneth Walker III has filled in nicely, running the ball for 5.7 yards per carry in his first four games. However, the Demon Deacons have a lot of issues on their offensive line. Coming into the season, the offensive line only had 28 starts combined, and it’s showed in their first four games. It’s already allowed 16 sacks this season.
Wake Forest should move the ball with some success against Virginia Tech’s defense on Saturday, but the question is whether or not it can keep pace with the Hokies’ offense.
The Demon Deacons are having all sorts of issues on defense in 2020. Wake Forest is in the bottom 15 of college football in defensive passing and rushing success to start the season. They have talent up front in the form of NFL talent Carlos Basham Jr., who already has four sacks on the season. Outside of Basham, though, it’s pretty bleak, especially in the secondary.
The Demon Deacons have not been able to stop anybody on the ground, allowing 5.1 yards per rush. That’s going to be a major problem with the country’s best rushing attack coming to town on Saturday.
They also have little experience in their secondary, with two starting cornerbacks not seeing much playing time before this year. They’ve only allowed 7.3 yards per attempt up until this point, but that will likely regress as the season goes along.
Betting Analysis & Pick
With Hooker under center, the Hokies’ rushing attack looks impossible to stop. With how bad Wake Forest has been against the run, I don’t see how its offense is going to keep pace with Hooker and Herbert on Saturday.
I have Virginia Tech projected as -17.55 favorites on the road, so I think there’s plenty of value on the current line of -9.5. I would play the Hokies up to -12.5.
Pick: Virginia Tech -9.5 (up to -12.5)