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Wake Forest Demon Deacons at NC State Wolfpack Betting Preview

You have to give the NC State Wolfpack (6-2) some credit; they’ve managed to stay afloat in a very tight ACC despite losing their star QB Devin Leary. The Wolfpack have two losses this year, at #5 Clemson (30-20) and at #22 Syracuse (24-9), so it’s time to get a signature win at home against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (6-2).

Neither #21 NC State nor #20 Wake Forest are going to catch Clemson, who is 6-0 in the ACC Atlantic, but a win on Saturday helps your bowl resume nonetheless. Somewhat surprisingly, NC State is a +3.5 underdog even though they are 5-0 at Carter-Finley Stadium this year as part of a 15-game home win streak.

Wake Needs Less Mistakes

Demon Deacons QB Sam Hartman can win you some games – like he did with five TD passes vs. Boston College two weeks ago – but he’s not invincible, as evidenced by three INTs in last Saturday’s 48-21 loss at Louisville. Hartman’s turnovers were especially bad, considering two of his errant throws were returned for TDs as part of a 35-point third quarter for the Cardinals.

Regardless of some mistakes last Saturday, Wake Forest is still a road favorite on Saturday even as they head into a hostile environment for the second straight week. These two in-state rivals have split 45-42 contests the last two seasons, with each team winning at home (Saturday’s O/U is just 54.5).

Wake had their lowest scoring output of the season in last week’s 21-point outing vs. Louisville, and in fact, it’s been the only time they’ve been held under 31 points all season. NC State, however, has the #1 scoring defense in the ACC, giving up just 17.4 ppg.

Breakout Game for Morris?

Dave Doeren has some decisions to make regarding his QB for Saturday’s contest. Senior Devin Leary (11 TDs, 4 INTs) isn’t coming through that door after being lost for the year with a pectoral injury, so now NC State gets ready to play a couple of freshmen in Jack Chambers and MJ Morris.

Chambers got the call in the immediate aftermath of Leary’s injury, but he threw for just 160 yards on 30 attempts in the loss to Syracuse. Morris came in after Chambers was ineffective last time out against Virginia Tech and ended up going 20/29 with three TDs. Morris would seem to have to get the nod vs. Wake Forest.

Wake Forest at North Carolina Betting Pick

It may not matter who starts at QB for NC State if the Wolfpack defense can’t stop Hartman and the Demon Deacons’ passing game. The Wolfpack rank fourth in the conference allowing just 195.3 pass yards/game, but they also haven’t faced a lot of QBs that can sling the ball all over the field as Hartman can.

At some point, North Carolina State’s dominant performance at home over the past two-plus years has to be taken into consideration. The Wolfpack have won 15 in a row on their own field, and although that trend won’t last forever, it’s good enough to stay alive this week.

Pick: NC State +3.5

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