North Carolina vs. Wake Forest Betting Preview: Heels Look to Wrap up Division at Reeling Wake

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Drake Maye #10 of the North Carolina Tar Heels looks to pass against the Pittsburgh Panthers. Grant Halverson/Getty Images/AFP.

The North Carolina Tar Heels will try to secure their second ACC Coastal Division title and earn a trip to Charlotte to face Clemson in the ACC Championship Game.

They’ll have to do it on the road, as the Heels head to Winston-Salem to face Wake Forest on Saturday. UNC has won five straight and is 8-1, 5-0 in the ACC.

The Demon Deacons went to the ACC title game last year, but Wake has fallen on hard times lately. The Deacs have lost their last two games, at Louisville and NC State, to fall to 6-3, 2-3 in the league.

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North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Saturday, November 12, 2022 – 07:30 PM EST at Truist Field

Road Warriors

The Tar Heels are 5-0 on the road this season, matching their total number of road wins over the previous four years combined.

UNC has won five road games just six times in the history of its program, most recently in 1997. The Tar Heels have never won on the road six times in a year.

Team Injuries

They’ll have to do it with a defense that has been hammered by injuries. The Tar Heels have seen three defensive starters go down for the season in the last two weeks.

Defensive tackle Ray Vohasek and defensive end Desmond Evans suffered upper body injuries and pass rusher Noah Taylor went down with a knee injury.

The injuries came just as the defense was showing signs of rounding into form. UNC’s defense gave up 39.5 ppg over the first four games and 23.3 over the next four. They cut their average yards surrendered from 495.3 to 419.5.

Defense vs. Offense

The Tar Heels are deep on the defensive line, and that depth will be tested as several young players will get the chance to step up to finish off what is shaping up to be a special year for the Tar Heels.

On offense, there are far fewer concerns. A year after losing the best quarterback in school history in Sam Howell, the Tar Heels may have an even better passer. Drake Maye is on pace to break most of the freshman records that Howell set.

He joins Howell and Mitch Trubisky, both NFL passers, as the only UNC quarterbacks to throw for 30 touchdowns in a season. He has 31 TDs against just three interceptions and will top 3,000 yards with 36 against Wake on Saturday.

Maye is also UNC’s leading rusher with 513 yards on the ground, a 4.5 yards per carry average and four touchdowns. UNC’s star receiver Josh Downs appears to be back to 100% after struggling with injury earlier this year. He had 15 catches for 166 yards on Saturday.

What Happened in Winston-Salem?

A year after winning the ACC Atlantic Division, Wake Forest appeared on pace to once again contend for a division crown according to top-rated sportsbooks. Seven games into the season, the Deacs were 6-1, and the offense, which ranked fourth in the nation last year, was humming again.

Wake had scored more than 40 points in five of its seven games and was averaging 41.4 ppg. Wake Forest found itself in the AP top 10.

The Deacs showed signs of trouble at Louisville, scoring just 14 points in the first half. Then the bottom dropped out.

Sam Hartman

Wake quarterback Sam Hartman turned the ball over on the first five possessions of the second half and finished with three lost fumbles and three interceptions in the second half, including a pair of picks that were returned by Louisville for touchdowns.

Hartman had three more interceptions in Wake’s loss to NC State this past weekend. As the team’s star quarterback is reeling, there isn’t much support from Wake’s run game.

Demon Deacon backs have managed about 150 yards over the two losses, and about 50 of those came in garbage time after the Louisville game was turned over to backups on both sides.

The Picks

UNC’s offense has been rolling, which has helped cover for a spotty defense that promises to struggle even more after several injuries.

Still, Wake seems to be in a bad place mentally after a pair of nightmare weeks. Following the NCAAF odds, coming back home should give the Deacs a boost, but getting the Tar Heels and points seems almost too good to be true.

For our NCAAF pick, look for Maye to outscore Hartman in what could be a shootout.

NCAAF Pick: North Carolina +3.5 (-108) at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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North Carolina +3.5 (-108)
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NCAAF Pick: Over 76.5 (-108) at Heritage Sports

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Over 76.5 (-108)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.