Wake Forest-N.C. State Betting Preview: Quarterback Disparity Could Make the Difference
USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kendall Hinton and Ryan Finley
Wake Forest-N.C. State Betting Odds, Pick
- Odds: N.C. State -19
- Over/Under: 69
- Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
N.C. State is hanging onto its New Year’s Six bowl hopes as it hosts Wake Forest on Thursday night as a sizable favorite.
The Demon Deacons haven’t lived up to expectations this season, going 2-7 against the spread and failing to cover by an average of 6.7 points per game, the 10th-worst mark in the country.
>> All odds as of 10 a.m. ET on Thursday. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and track your bets.
How Much Is Sam Hartman Worth?
By Collin Wilson
The news came out Sunday that Wake Forest freshman quarterback Sam Hartman would miss the remainder of the season with a right leg injury. He’ll be replaced by redshirt sophomore Jamie Newman.
Backup quarterbacks at Wake don’t have much experience in 2018, with Newman attempting 15 passes and Kendall Hinton throwing eight.
It begs the question: is the loss of Sam Hartman worth the adjustment to the current number of -19?
Will New QB Change How Wake Operates?
By Steve Petrella
Newman was the No. 16 dual-threat quarterback in his recruiting class, and has been better as a runner in very limited work. At 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, he’s a potential bruiser who can be effective running inside the tackles.
N.C. State has a much better rush defense than pass defense (11th vs. the run, 103rd against the pass, per S&P+), so it will be interesting to see how Wake attacks that.
We know coach Dave Clawson will stick with his read-based offense, but will he keep it on the ground and in the hands of his inexperienced quarterback, or let Newman air it out?
This game has a massive pace disparity, with N.C. State ranking 88th in plays per minute compared to Wake’s No. 2. The Demon Deacons like to play fast.
N.C. State is a ball control team that ranks top 10 in time of possession and has the 109th-most possessions per game. The Wolfpack use their efficient offense, which is frequently in third-and-short situations (32nd nationally), to control the ball.
I might be looking to play the second half under if Wake is trailing, because N.C. State will own the clock and limit the Deacs’ possessions. The first half under is also interesting if it takes Newman some time to get acclimated, though I don’t trust Wake’s defense to hold up.
Ryan Finley Will Feast
N.C. State should be motivated to avenge a home loss to Wake Forest last season where the Wolfpack dominated the box score. But instead of scoring the game-winning touchdown in the final minutes, the Pack fumbled into the end zone.
As Collin alluded to, Ryan Finley should have all day to throw as N.C. State has one of the best offensive lines in the country. The Wolfpack rank first in sack rate and second on both standard downs and on passing downs. The Wolf Pack should keep the chains moving all night through an efficient short passing game.
However, there is just no value in this number.
By Collin Wilson
The biggest handicap in this game, outside of the Deacs’ quarterback situation, is the pass defense of Wake Forest. Quarterback Ryan Finley may have a career day against a Demon Deacons secondary that ranks 12th in the ACC and 115th in FBS in yards allowed per game.
Wake is 116th in the nation against pass completion percentage and 92nd in passing downs sack rate. This could be a long night for the Deacs’ defense as they struggle to find answers at quarterback.
Trends to Know
By John Ewing
Wake lost to No. 19 Syracuse 41-24 on Saturday. Teams that lost their previous game to a ranked opponent and then played a Top-25 opponent the following week have gone 147-186-8 (44%) ATS since 2005 per our Bet Labs data. Teams that lost by double-digits, like Wake, have performed even worse going 72-108-5 (40%) ATS.
By Evan Abrams
Wake Forest has struggled so far this season (currently 4-5, including 2-7 ATS) losing three of their past four straight up and ATS (37.2 PPG allowed per game).
As the head coach of N.C. State and Northern Illinois (2011-12), Dave Doeren-coached teams have excelled when facing poor defensive teams, going 14-7 ATS (66.7%), covering the spread by 8.8 PPG. When Doeren faces a team allowing 35 PPG or more, he is 7-2 ATS, covering the spread by 11.9 PPG.