ACC Best Bet: Wake Forest vs. Virginia Cavaliers Pick

by | Sep 21, 2021 | cfb

Wake Forest Demon Deacons (3-0 SU, 1-2 ATS) vs. Virginia Cavaliers (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS)

When: Friday, September 24, 7 p.m.

Where: Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, Va.

TV: ESPN2

Point Spread: WAKE +4/UVA -4 (BetNow - Bet your Week 4 college football and Week 3 NFL picks for FREE by taking advantage of a 100% bonus up to $1000!)

Total: O/U 67

Outlook

After three wins, Wake Forest is looking like it’s got a chance to be better than people expected, especially with the ACC being down as a whole. The Deacons have actually been one of the better teams in the conference over the past few seasons, as they’ve made it to a bowl game in five consecutive years, something that only Clemson and Miami can also say among ACC squads.
They’ve also shown an ability to beat Virginia on the rare occasions when the teams match up. This used to be an automatic win for the Cavaliers when the teams met every year, as Virginia once won 19 of 20 against Wake Forest in the days of the nine-team ACC. But since the creation of divisions and the split of the Cavaliers and Demon Deacons, the teams have only met five times, and four have been won by Wake Forest, including last year’s 40-23 victory in Winston-Salem.

Virginia hasn’t beaten Wake since 2007, a 17-16 escape in Charlottesville. The Cavaliers have shown some positives in beating Illinois and leading at the half against North Carolina, but it all fell apart for them in the second half, as they were outscored 35-11 by the Heels. A similar performance against Wake would see Virginia drop its ACC home opener for the first time since 2016.

How the Public is Betting the Wake Forest/Virginia Game

The public is starting to believe a little more in Wake Forest, as 57% of tickets have come in on the Demon Deacons. Vegas isn’t moving the line just yet, though, as both the spread and total have held firm.

Injury Concerns

Wake Forest:
Offensive lineman Je’Vionte Nash (undisclosed), linebacker Chase Monroe (undisclosed), and wide receiver Donavon Greene (undisclosed) are out for the season.

Virginia:
Cornerback Josh Hayes (leg) is out indefinitely. Linebacker Chico Bennett Jr. (Achilles), wide receiver Nathaniel Beal (knee), and wide receiver Lavel Davis Jr. (knee) are out for the season.

When Wake Forest Has the Ball

There was a time when the idea of Wake Forest dominating anyone, let alone Florida State, on the offensive line would have been laughable. But the Deacons won the game at the line of scrimmage last week, grinding out 225 yards on the ground on 58 carries. The damage likely could have been a lot worse had Wake’s stable of backs done better than 3.9 yards per carry, but when you’re grinding out almost four yards each time, you’re going to keep the ball for almost the entire game.

The Deacons did exactly that against Florida State, keeping the ball for 39 minutes out of 60 and finishing with 484 yards of offense. When necessary, Sam Hartman threw all over the field, doing most of the damage by connecting with A.T. Perry for 155 receiving yards and a score. This could be a game where the Deacons put up a large amount of yardage and points, given that Virginia just allowed almost 700 yards to North Carolina six days ago.

When Virginia Has the Ball

The main thing Virginia can’t do here is shoot itself in the foot. When facing Wake Forest’s opportunistic defense (nine takeaways in three games), you’ve got to take care of the football, which Virginia didn’t do well enough against Carolina. The Cavaliers only coughed it up twice, but both times, Carolina turned the ensuing drive into points, which ended up causing most of the final deficit between Virginia and its rival.
When the Cavaliers were able to hold onto the ball, Brennan Armstrong was able to pick apart North Carolina’s secondary, throwing for 554 yards and four touchdowns. Dontayvion Wicks did most of the damage for 183 yards and a score, but that was also out of necessity because Virginia got absolutely nothing out of its ground game. Given that the Cavaliers did the same thing against Illinois and Wake didn’t allow Florida State to ever get going on the ground, there’s plenty of reason to think that Virginia is going to be throwing throughout the contest.

More Picks: Notre Dame at Wisconsin Projected Point Spread Winner

Betting Trends

Since the ACC expanded past nine teams, this bet hasn’t taken much thought: bet Wake Forest on the spread. The Deacons have covered each of the teams’ past six meetings and won the past four outright, despite being an underdog in three of those matchups. They’ve also been a great bet in ACC games in general, covering in five of their past six contests against conference foes.
But Virginia at home has been a solid bet under Bronco Mendenhall, as it has covered in seven of its past eight games at Scott Stadium. In fact, the Deacons have never made the trip to Charlottesville to face Virginia with Mendenhall on the sidelines, as they haven’t played at Scott Stadium since 2012. When Wake has gone on the road, though, points have followed: the over has cashed in five of the Deacons’ past six road games and has hit in five of seven matchups against Virginia.

Weather Report

After the storms roll through this week, Friday should be beautiful for both teams, with temperatures expected to fall into the 60s and possibly the 50s during this game. Wind will be a non-factor; wind gusts are set to blow at just two miles per hour toward the south-southwest.

Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread

This one looks like the wrong team might be favored, as Virginia doesn’t seem to have the ground game needed to keep the Deacons off the field. Wake was in firm control against Florida State, and Virginia hasn’t yet shown that it can hold a team like Wake Forest under control for 60 minutes.

I don’t want to touch the total because I think this is just far too many points. But I feel pretty good taking a free four points with the Demon Deacons here. Question: Are you a smaller bettor that wants a BIG bonus? Simply register for an account at Intertops through this special link, deposit $25 or more, then go to their special promotions page and enter bonus code ROOKIE200 and they’ll add fifty extra bucks to your balance! It’s the best small bonus on the web!