Wake Forest kicks off their 2021 campaign against the ODU Monarchs. Both teams come into this matchup off of completely different years in 2020. ODU never even played a game due to COVID. In fact, ODU has not won a football game since August 2019. Wake Forest had a successful season last year going 5-3 with a couple close losses. This was good enough to get them into a bowl game against Wisconsin, where they lost 42-28.
This Demon Deacon bunch was electric last year on offense. They were 2nd in the ACC in yards per completion, top 3 in the ACC in Redzone efficiency, and 1st in the conference in not turning the ball over. Why does that matter for this year? Well, it matters because Wake Forest is returning 11 key players on offense. They are led by QB Sam Hartman. Hartman was great last year throwing for 2,224 yards, 13 TDs, 5 INTs, and added two more TDs rushing in 8 games played. Wake Forest has 3 very serviceable WRs back for Hartman to throw to in Donovan Greene, Taylor Morin, and AT Perry. Greene was only a Freshman last year and still managed 582 yards, 2 TDs, and an avg catch of 20.1 yard, so look for him to take a big step forward this season. Another important note is Wake Forest returns all 5 starting Offensive Lineman. They weren’t a great bunch, but that experience and chemistry is huge, especially early in the year. The biggest loss for the Wake Forest offense is RB Kenneth Walker who transferred to Michigan State. Walker had a whooping 13 touchdowns in 8 games last year. Luckily, the Demon Deacons have RB Christian Beal-Smith ready to take over. Beal-Smith had 732 yards and 5 TDs rushing last year with three 100 yard games. Now we come to the big problem with this team, the defense. It was gross last year letting up 33 points a game. However, a ton of the defense is back this year and should improve. They lost their top DE Carlos Basham to the NFL, but they have guys to step in and fill that void in Miles Fox and Jacorey Johns. Look for them to make a big impact tonight on the Defensive Line. All starters in the secondary return as well.
ODU was one of the worst teams in the country in 2019. The Monarchs were Bottom 5 in FBS in total offense, passing efficiency, sacks allowed, and tackles for loss. They brought in some transfers to help this issue on the Offensive Line and at QB. OT Tyran Hunt comes in from Maryland and QB DJ Mack from UCF. Mack would be a good veteran addition for ODU at QB, however, their Head Coach has not publicly named a starter. They lost all their main RBs from last year and most of their WRs. They are relying on a handful of transfer WRs to play big roles. Defensively, their best asset was supposed to be their Defensive Line. However, they lost multiple players to the transfer portal including their top 2 pass rushers. Their secondary is very young and has little to no experience.
Wake Forest opened as 30 point favorites. That line has been hammered by public and sharps and the line now sits at -32 with potential to grow before kickoff. According to the data at Action Network, I am seeing 64% of the bets and a massive 95% of the money are on Wake Forest. Thats a bet% to money% discrepancy I love to bet!
I don’t have one, but two picks for the people in this game. As I have pointed out, this ODU team has not played in 2 years, haven’t won a game since August 2019, and has a ton of moving parts to figure out. Wake Forest on the other hand, returns most of their key components on both sides of the ball and had a successful season last year. With the fans back in the stands, I expect the Demon Deacons to come out hungry and eager to bury the Monarchs. I am laying the -19.5 first half spread and also betting the -32 full game spread. Best of luck!
Picks: Wake Forest 1H -19.5 and Wake Forest -32 full game