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Missouri vs Wake Forest Odds, Picks | How to Bet Gasparilla Bowl

Missouri vs Wake Forest Odds, Picks | How to Bet Gasparilla Bowl article feature image
Credit:

Grant Halverson & Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Images. Pictured from left: Sam Hartman (10) of Wake Forest and Cody Schrader (20) of Missouri.

Missouri vs Wake Forest Odds

Friday, December 23
6:30 p.m. ET
ESPN
Missouri Odds
Spread Over/Under Moneyline
+2.5
-115
58.5
-106o / -114u
+114
Wake Forest Odds
Spread Over/Under Moneyline
-2.5
-105
58.5
-106o / -114u
-137
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

In what is just the second bowl game of the season pitting Power Five teams against one another, Wake Forest and Missouri meet in Friday’s Gasparilla Bowl at Raymond James Stadium.

The matchup marks the final game of Sam Hartman’s prolific career at Wake Forest (7-5), as the fifth-year senior weighs the option of declaring for the NFL Draft or transferring to another school.

Missouri (6-6) hopes to be the SEC’s first program to pick up a bowl win this season, although Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson has hinted at the extra motivation of his Demon Deacons team beating an SEC program.

The Tigers will be without several key pieces on their defense, but they are just two-point underdogs. Can Missouri keep the Wake Forest offense at bay, or will Hartman and Co. be too much to handle?


Missouri Tigers

After a turbulent 2-4 start to the year, Missouri closed strongly with four wins in its last six games, including a 23-10 victory over South Carolina in which the Tigers defense held the Gamecocks to 203 total yards.

That defense, which has been the centerpiece of the team’s success this season, will be without some of its most important players in the Gasparilla Bowl.

Missouri finished third in the SEC with 33 sacks this season and ranked seventh in the country at generating Havoc, but it will be without the two most important players on its defensive line. Isaiah McGuire (team-high 8.5 sacks) and DJ Coleman (4.5 sacks) both declared for the NFL Draft, leaving a big hole in the Tigers’ pass rush.

Safety Martez Manuel, who was fourth on the team in tackles and had four sacks, also opted out of the bowl.

That shifts the load to an offense led by quarterback Brady Cook and running back Cody Schrader that has been inconsistent throughout the season.

Cook played his best three games to end the season after head coach Eli Drinkwitz transferred play-calling responsibilities from himself to quarterbacks coach Bush Hamdan. But Hamdan has since left to take the offensive coordinator job at Boise State, returning play-calling responsibilities to Drinkwitz.

Cook’s main weapon of choice had been receiver Dominic Lovett, who led the team with 56 catches for 846 yards. But the sophomore wideout has since entered the transfer portal, leaving Barrett Banister and Luther Burden III as Cook’s top options.

Cook’s play has been hindered by constant pressure, as Missouri’s offensive line has been an issue this season. The Tigers rank 114th in the country with 91 tackles for loss allowed and 112th in Havoc Allowed.


Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Hartman’s final game as a Demon Deacon is a meaningful one as several milestone numbers are within reach.

The quarterback needs one more passing touchdown to surpass Tajh Boyd as the ACC’s all-time passing touchdown leader, and he’s 313 yards short of becoming only the conference’s second quarterback to pass for 13,000 career yards (NC State’s Philip Rivers threw for 13,484 yards).

Wake Forest, which ranks 10th in the nation in passing offense, received good news with A.T. Perry deciding not to opt out of the bowl. Perry is Wake’s most explosive receiving option and leads the team with 11 receiving touchdowns and 980 yards receiving.

The Deacons have been one of the best teams in the nation at Finishing Drives (fourth) and average 36.8 points per game, the 15th-best mark in the country.

Wake has needed its offensive firepower because its secondary has been a substantial liability. The Demon Deacons defense ranks just 89th in Pass Success and finished the regular season allowing at least 350 passing yards in three straight games.

The absence of injured starting safety Malik Mustapha was notable in those three games, but he’s expected back against Missouri.

However, two cornerbacks who played significant snaps — Gavin Holmes and JJ Roberts — will miss the game after entering the transfer portal.

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Missouri vs Wake Forest Matchup Analysis

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

Wake Forest Offense vs Missouri Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 72 19
Line Yards 71 13
Pass Success 11 32
Pass Blocking** 45 20
Havoc 52 7
Finishing Drives 4 59
** Pass Blocking (Off) vs Pass Rush (Def)

Missouri Offense vs. Wake Forest Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 92 67
Line Yards 77 35
Pass Success 75 89
Pass Blocking** 72 2
Havoc 112 31
Finishing Drives 45 56
** Pass Blocking (Off) vs Pass Rush (Def)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 34 77
PFF Coverage 76 26
SP+ Special Teams 64 55
Seconds per Play 22.7 (11) 27.8 (97)
Rush Rate 51.8% (80) 56.8% (41)
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

Missouri vs Wake Forest Betting Pick

It’s always a shame when transfers and opt-outs impact a bowl game, and that looks to be the case here. Arguably the best players on both sides of the ball for Missouri will be absent in the Gasparilla Bowl.

Wake Forest struggled down the stretch, losing four of its last five, but it holds the upper hand against the Tigers.

Wake’s biggest weakness — its pass defense — is minimized with the absence of Lovett. Wake’s biggest strength — its passing offense — is strengthened with a blunted Missouri pass rush.

Throw in some potential milestone chasing from Hartman and Clawson wanting to make a statement against an SEC opponent, and I like the Demon Deacons to cover.

At the time of writing, there are still a few -1.5s out there, so shop around.

Pick: Wake Forest -2 (Play to -2.5)

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