Wake Forest vs NC State Odds & Prediction: Wolfpack To Keep It Close?
Pictured: MJ Morris. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
- Wake Forest and NC State meet in ACC college football action on Saturday night.
- The Wolfpack have seen odds move toward them, as they're set to enter this conference matchup as a 3-point underdog.
- Check out Cooper Van Tatenhove's full betting preview and pick for this ACC showdown below.
Wake Forest vs NC State Odds
NC State and Wake Forest are deadlocked in the ACC Atlantic. Both are 2-2 in conference and 6-2 overall.
Although their results are identical, Wake Forest is 6-2 against the spread while NC State is just 2-6.
The Wolfpack are coming off a thrilling 22-21 win in which they trailed Virginia Tech 21-3 late in the 3rd quarter. The comeback was led by quarterback MJ Morris, who took over under center in the second half.
As for Wake Forest, QB Sam Hartman and the Demon Deacons were drubbed 48-21 on the road against Louisville. The loss to the Cardinals snapped a three-game winning streak.
Will Morris be able to pick up where he left off for the Wolfpack? Will Wake Forest be able to return to the form it had before an eight-turnover performance against Louisville?
Let's dive in.
Wake Forest and QB Sam Hartman will look to have short memories after turning the ball over eight times in a loss to Louisville last week.
Wake's success all year has come via their passing ability as the Demon Deacons are averaging 297 yards per contest.
They rank 25th nationally in EPA per Pass and fifth in total air yards against FBS opponents (eliminating garbage time).
Wake has relied on the passing attack in part because of the ineffectiveness of their rushing ability. Wake is 98th nationally in rushing success rate at just 36.6%.
The pressure that this puts on Hartman was felt last week against Louisville in which Wake was only able to gain 92 yards on the ground despite 46 attempts.
Look for NC State's front seven to limit Wake's rushing ability in a similar fashion.
In turn, Wake's success offensively will come down to its ability to have success through the air against the Wolfpack secondary.
The Wolfpack secondary has proved that it can limit what opponents are able to do passing, ranking just outside the top 25 in passing success rate (34.5%).
With Wake lining up in constant passing downs due to the Wolfpack defense, explosive plays will be crucial to keep the chains moving.
In three of their past four games, Hartman has failed to throw a pass of more than 40 yards.
Additionally, the Wolfpack are ninth nationally in net field position, making Wake's inability to generate chunk plays all the more problematic.
After Devin Leary went down in Week 6 against FSU, the Wolfpack have been searching for answers at the quarterback position.
Last week, in the second half against Virginia Tech, they may have gotten just that in freshman MJ Morris.
In the second half alone, Morris threw for 265 yards and completed 69% of his passes. He also threw a trio of touchdowns and rushed 13 times.
The difference in quarterback play translated directly to scoring as the Wolfpack came back from a 21-3 second-half deficit.
MJ Morris led the Pack to an 18 point comeback against Virginia Tech with 3 touchdowns and 265 yards on 20 of 29 passing!
— ACC Digital Network (@theACCDN) October 28, 2022
With the way the Wolfpack have played defensively this season, this type of enhanced quarterback play is exactly what NC State needs to keep within striking distance of Clemson in the division.
Since Leary's injury, the Wolfpack have dropped to 73rd nationally in overall offensive success and to 79th in EPA Margin.
With what Morris showed us in the second half against Virginia Tech and the vulnerability of Wake's secondary, this is a prime opportunity for the NC State offense to get back on track.
Wake's secondary is primed for Morris to continue to build upon the confidence he gained last week.
Wake Forest vs NC State Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Wake Forest and NC State match up statistically:
Wake Forest Offense vs NC State Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
NC State Offense vs Wake Forest Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||21||14|
|Seconds per Play||23.4 (15)||27.7 (94)|
|Rush Rate||54.0% (63)||49.6% (87)|
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.
Wake Forest vs NC State Betting Pick
NC State is a four-point, home underdog on Saturday night.
Given Wake Forest's one-dimensional offense and lack of explosiveness, I believe this is simply too many points to cover against a NC State team that has won 15 in a row at Carter-Finley stadium.
With the enhanced play of MJ Morris, I am more in line with how SP+ predicts this game — 28-27 in favor of the Wolfpack.