Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#307 Wake Forest vs.
#308 Virginia
Friday, September 24, 2021 at 7:00pm EDT
Written by Chris Kubala

It’s a crossover matchup as a pair of teams from the ACC lock up on the gridiron in the Old Dominion. The Wake Forest Demon Deacons are on the road as they travel to face the Virginia Cavaliers on Friday night. Wake Forest cruised to a 35-14 home win over Florida State Saturday in their most recent contest. Virginia was outgunned 59-39 by #21 North Carolina at home in their last game Saturday night. In the all-time series between the schools, the Cavaliers own a 33-16 advantage but the Demon Deacons have won the last four matchups. That includes a 40-23 home victory in the most recent clash on October 17, 2020.

Wake Forest Demon Deacons Seek To Remain Unbeaten

Wake Forest opened conference play by handling a struggling Florida State team at home last week. The Demon Deacons improved to 3-0 on the year and are 1-0 in the ACC Atlantic Division with the victory. Wake Forest jumped to a 14-0 lead less than 12 minutes into the game and didn’t let Florida State closer than seven after that. The Demon Deacons led 27-14 at the half and blanked the Seminoles over the final 33-plus minutes to get the victory. Wake Forest rolled up a 484-317 edge in total offense, piled up a 27-16 advantage in first downs and controlled the clock by a 39:13 to 20:47 margin. For good measure, the Demon Deacons forced six Florida State turnovers while committing only a pair of their own.

The Demon Deacons enter this contest 65th in the nation in passing offense with 233 yards per game through the air and 48th in rushing offense with an average of 183.3 yards per contest. Wake Forest is 30th in the FBS in scoring offense as they average 39.3 points per game while they stand 15th in scoring defense by allowing only 13.3 points a contest. Sam Hartman is 57 of 83 passing for 691 yards with six touchdowns and one interception while adding 66 yards and a score on the ground. Leo Kelly is one of four for eight yards while Mitch Griffis misfired on both his pass attempts. Christian Beal-Smith leads the team on the ground with 39 carries for 229 yards and four scores. Christian Turner (32 carries, 129 yards, two TD) and Justice Ellison (22 carries, 89 yards, TD) are also in the mix. A.T. Perry leads the team with 13 receptions for 255 yards plus two scores. Jaquarii Roberson (12 catches, 154 yards, two TD) and Taylor Morin (10 grabs, 67 yards) are next in line in the passing attack. Nick Sciba has hit all 14 extra point attempts and four of four field goal attempts with a long of 46.

Wake Forest would be well suited to stick to the ground game early to set up the passing attack. The Cavaliers have surrendered an average of 200.7 yards per game and 5.4 yards per carry on the ground in the first three games. Virginia was carved up by North Carolina last week, surrendering a ridiculous 392 yards on the ground and a massive 8.3 yards per carry. If the Demon Deacons dent the front seven early, it will make things that much easier for Hartman and the passing attack.

Virginia Cavaliers Looking to Regroup

Virginia opened the season with back-to-back wins but was overmatched by #21 North Carolina in their conference opener. The Cavaliers now hope to regroup at home to even their conference mark. Virginia had major defensive issues in the game with the Tar Heels, which proved to be their undoing. Virginia trailed 21-7 after the opening quarter and 24-7 early in the second quarter before rallying to lead 28-24 at the half. Things went south from there as the Cavaliers gave up the first 14 points of the third quarter to trail 38-28 and couldn’t get closer than seven the rest of the way. Virginia was outgained 699-577 in total offense, gave up 35 first downs while picking up 27 and turned the ball over twice while forcing just one turnover. That more than negated a 32:19 to 27:41 edge in time of possession in the contest.

The Cavaliers are second in the nation in passing offense with 438.3 yards per game while they are just 110th in rushing offense with 120 yards per contest on the ground. Virginia is 19th in the FBS in scoring offense with 41.3 points per game while they are 72nd in scoring defense by allowing 24.3 points per contest. Brennan Armstrong is 87 of 121 passing for 1,298 yards with 11 touchdowns and two interceptions on the season. He adds 15 yards and two scores on the ground. Wayne Taulapapa leads the team on the ground with 17 carries for 81 yards plus a score. Backup quarterbacks Keytaon Thompson (12 carries, 78 yards, TD), Iraken Armstead (nine carries, 49 yards) and Jacob Rodriguez (six carries, 45 yards) have all been involved on the ground. Devin Darrington (nine carries, 46 yards) and Mike Hollins (10 carries, 40 yards) are next on the running back depth chart. Billy Kemp IV leads the team with 18 receptions for 216 yards and three scores. Dontayvion Wicks (14 grabs, team-high 346 yards, three TD), Thompson (14 catches, 197 yards), tight end Jelani Woods (12 receptions, 174 yards, two TD) and Ra’Shaun Henry (nine grabs, 172 yards, TD) all have more than 150 receiving yards this season. Justin Duenkel has hit all 15 extra-point attempts and three of five field-goal attempts with a long of 39 on the year.

Virginia has been extremely effective when it comes to moving the ball through the air this season. The Cavaliers are going to be tested by a solid Wake Forest defense that has recorded eight sacks and six interceptions in the first three games this season. The Demon Deacons have 10 pass defenses and have allowed just five touchdown passes while giving up 182.7 yards per game. If Virginia can’t move the ball through the air, it’s going to be a long evening for Bronco Mendenhall’s team.

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Full-Game Side Bet

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Virginia showed that they can move the ball, seemingly at will, on the offensive side of things. Armstrong set a school record with 554 passing yards against North Carolina but the defense gave up more than 300 yards through the air and on the ground in the contest. The Cavaliers are at home here but Wake Forest has been solid in all three of their games this season. We saw the Demon Deacons make Florida State look inept last week with their six takeaways. Wake Forest is a more balanced offensive attack and their defense is up to the task of keeping Virginia slowed down. The Demon Deacons take advantage of the leaky Virginia defense and pick up a road victory here.

Prediction: Wake Forest Demon Deacons +4

Full-Game Total Pick

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Wake Forest has posted totals of 52, 57 and 49 points in their three games this season. Each of their three games has fallen short of the mark this season. Virginia’s first three contests saw totals of 43, 56 and then 98 points this season. The first two games for Virginia fell short of the total but their game with North Carolina blew past the mark of 67 points in the third quarter. Seeing how leaky the Cavaliers were defensively in the game with the Tar Heels could point toward another track meet of sorts. Three of the last four meetings between the teams have gone over the mark while the over is 5-1 in Wake Forest’s last six games on the road. Look for another high-scoring affair that puts this over the total.

Prediction: Over 68.5

Written By Chris Kubala , "Chris Kubala"

Chris Kubala has been immersed in the world of professional and collegiate sports for more than three decades. Whether it's playing pickup games or being involved in organized sports to being a fan, he's checked all the boxes. From the NFL to arena football, the NHL to the KHL, the NBA to the WNBA to college hoops, and even MLB to the KBO.  If it's out there, he's covered it and bet on it as well. as Chris has been an expert bettor in his career.  Before joining Winners and Whiners back in 2015, his work appeared around the internet and in print. He's written books for Ruckus Books about college basketball, the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, golf, and the World Cup. If you're looking for the inside track on hitting a winner, do yourself a favor and read what Chris has to say.