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Free Pick Breakdown, Odds & Prediction: North Carolina vs. Wake Forest (11/12/2022)

By Ryan Potts
November 11, 2022
Photo by: Bob Donnan - USA TODAY Sports

North Carolina vs. Wake Forest (11/12 @ 7:30 p.m. EST.)

Line: Wake Forest -3.5
Total: 77.5

North Carolina vs Wake Forest Breakdown and Betting Odds

The No. 15 North Carolina Tar Heels (8-1) are staying in-state for a clash with the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (6-3) Sunday at 7:30 p.m. ET. The Demon Deacons are 3.5-point favorites. The over/under is set at 77.5 points.

The home team has won the last seven matchups between these schools, dating back to 2006. Wake Forest has not lost a home matchup since 2004. Outside of home dominance, this matchup has brought its fair share of points. North Carolina has scored 50 or more points in their last three home games while Wake Forest matched them with 53 and 55 points respectively in their matchups the last two seasons. Three straight games have been decided by six or fewer points.

North Carolina Overview

Now ranked No. 15 in both the AP poll and the College Football Playoff rankings, the Tar Heels have ridden a 5-0 start in ACC play, slipping by Miami (FL), Duke, and Virginia by three points apiece. They added in demolitions of Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh to get to 8-1. They got off to a shaky start, beating two Sun Belt teams by a combined nine points before losing to Notre Dame at home. However, they have hit their groove in conference play, and they should play in the ACC Championship Game.

North Carolina’s great season has been led by Heisman contender Drake Maye. Maye has fired 31 passing touchdowns with just three interceptions. He is averaging a robust 9.5 yards per pass attempt, and he leads the team in rush attempts and rushing yards. His four rushing touchdowns are second to Omarion Hampton. In the pass-catching game, Josh Downs has been the go-to, accounting for more than double the receptions as the No. 2 option. Antoine Green has chipped in with 597 yards and six receiving touchdowns. The Tar Heels are ninth in the nation in scoring, surpassing 40 points per game.

Defensively, North Carolina is among the most porous teams in college football. Part of this issue stems from the tremendous offense, but North Carolina has a negative differential in rushing yards and rushing yards per attempt. Teams average 457.7 total yards per game against UNC, not too far off North Carolina’s 496.8-yard-per-game offense. Noah Taylor leads the unit with 3.5 sacks while Cedric Gray has pitched in 7.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions, and two forced fumbles. He also leads the team with 99 total tackles.

In their five-game ACC winning streak, North Carolina is just 3-2 ATS with a win as a favorite at Miami. They failed to cover -7 against Duke and -7.5 against Virginia. The under is 3-2 in the last five games, including back-to-back close affairs. Two weeks ago, North Carolina and Pittsburgh hit the over by half of one point.

Wake Forest Overview

Before last week, Wake Forest had spent the entire season ranked. They have lost back-to-back games. They had been in the top 10 in the polls before collapsing against Louisville. Last week, they fell to North Carolina State despite being favored by 3 points. Wake Forest’s elite offense failed to accept the challenge last week, scoring just 21 points. Once 6-1, the Demon Deacons have slipped to 6-3 and out of any contention for major bowls or the College Football Playoff.

Sam Hartman has been the center of attention for the Demon Deacons. He has thrown 24 touchdowns with a 62.7% completion rate. He is among the ACC’s leaders in passing yards, passing touchdowns, and a bevy of rate statistics. Justice Ellison leads the team in rushing with 453 yards. Christian Turner leads the unit with six rushing touchdowns. Hartman’s top two targets have been A.T. Perry and Jahmal Banks who have caught 14 total touchdowns on nearly 1,200 yards of production.

Defensively, the Demon Deacons have had a mediocre unit hurt by a couple of bad performances. They allowed 51 points to Clemson in a double-overtime game, and they allowed 48 points to Louisville. For the season, they rank 79th with 27.3 points allowed per game. On an individual level, Rondell Bothroyd has had a productive season. He has five sacks, and he has swatted three passes. He also has two forced fumbles. Ryan Smenda Jr. is the unit’s leading tackler, racking up 75 total tackles.

After back-to-back losses as 3-point favorites, the Demon Deacons are in a 3-2 run ATS. They had previously conquered big numbers including -16 against Army and -20.5 against Boston College. In their most recent game as underdogs, Wake Forest won in Tallahassee by 10 as 5.5-point underdogs. The under is 4-1, even dipping to just 54 total points last week.

Free Pick: Over 77.5

Wake Forest might be in a bit of a rut offensively, but the best cure for an ailing offense is facing a porous defense. Neither team has a particularly strong defense, so the Over 77.5 could be in play. While it does require both teams to flirt with 40 points, both teams have had plenty of experience lighting up scoreboards this season. Wake Forest has scored 40 points five different times while North Carolina averages 40 points per game (clearing the mark four times).

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