Saturday’s college football card is short but attractive. Here is a parlay for your pleasure. Top sportsbooks have released their NCAAF odds for Saturday’s Week 14 games. Two games, in particular, stand out to me as worth investing in: Pittsburgh vs. Wake Forest and Georgia vs. Alabama. For reasons that I will explain, you should play the spread for the first game and the total for the second. Feel free to parlay both bets at online sports betting site in order to maximize your profit.
Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Saturday, December 4, 2021- 8:00 PM EST at Bank of America Stadium
Wake Forest’s Pass Defense
Assessing an ACC team’s pass defense abilities can seem a bit complicated because there aren’t many good quarterbacks in the conference, such that it may be easy to overestimate the quality of a team’s pass defense. With this game in mind, though, Wake Forest’s pass defense stats actually make its pass defense seem worse than it is.
The reason for this false impression is that the Demon Deacons have struggled to limit the conference’s more mobile quarterbacks like Syracuse’s Garrett Shrader and Louisville’s Malik Cunningham. But the ACC’s strongest quarterbacks are, with the exception of North Carolina’s Sam Howell, more the pocket-passing types. Brennan Armstrong is also an exception, but injuries kept him from running for much of the year, including in his Cavaliers’ game against Wake Forest.
Wake’s pass defense has consistently done a great job of limiting those less mobile quarterbacks. Armstrong mustered his lowest passer rating of the season against Wake Forest. NC State’s Devin Leary produced his third-worst passer rating of the season when playing the Demon Deacons. When opposing quarterbacks do not pose a threat to run, they tend to perform well worse than their average against the Demon Deacon pass defense.
I like Wake’s pass defense in this game because Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett is characteristically an immobile quarterback, which is why he’s averaging 2.4 YPC and is unproductive as a runner, whereas guys like Howell regularly exceed 90 rushing yards in a game and average around five YPC. Pickett, moreover, is the centerpiece of his team’s offense.
Wake’s run defense is terrible, but Pittsburgh is not the team to exploit it. The Panthers own the nation’s 22nd-highest pass-play percentage, which means that Wake’s pass defense will continually be able to flex its muscles in this game.
Public perception of Pittsburgh’s defense is very positive because of recent Panther defenses which have been superb. But this year’s Panther defense is not like previous Coach Narduzzi renditions. Pittsburgh repeatedly concedes a lot of points to any good offense that has an able quarterback.
Miami’s quarterback, for example, played lights-out en route to a 38-point output. Tennessee provides another example of a team with a strong offense and able quarterback play, plus its offense is balanced. Led by quarterback Sam Hartman, Wake Forest has one of the best pass attacks, by various statistical measures, in the conference.
He’ll thrive against a Panther team that ranks 82nd nationally in limiting the opponent’s passer rating. Plus, he has running backs Christian Beal-Smith and Justice Ellison for support. As when Kenneth Walker was on the team, Wake Forest likes to split carries. Both of the team’s current top running backs average around five YPC.
Georgia Bulldogs vs. Alabama Crimson Tide
Saturday, December 4, 2021 - 4:00 PM EST at Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Alabama’s Offensive Line
For your NCAAF picks, be aware that the offensive line has been an issue for Alabama all season. Its most recent struggles have featured lower-scoring offensive outputs where the opposing front seven was able to create significant pressure. LSU and Auburn, both heavy underdogs who nearly upset the Crimson Tide, were able to take advantage of Bama’s issues with pass protection.
In its last game, Auburn amassed seven sacks and eight quarterback hurries. Because of efforts like Auburn’s, Alabama ranks 86th nationally in limiting the opponent’s sack rate.
One reason why I like Georgia’s defense so much is that its ability to pressure the opposing quarterback is uniquely high because they’ve succeeded in recruiting, such that they are able to reload with excellent personnel after losing key pieces last year. It’s difficult for opposing blockers to account for Georgia’s pass rush because so many Bulldog players are able to pose a threat.
Five different Bulldogs have amassed at least four sacks this season. The depth is so solid that a former five-star recruit like Jalen Carter is only a backup, despite his obvious explosiveness. Because of its depth of quality and elite recruiting, Georgia ranks sixth nationally in sack rate. Keep this stat in mind for your sports betting.
Bulldog pass rushers will stifle Alabama’s offensive rhythm, submit Young to difficult pressure, knock the Bama offense backward, and do more to help keep Alabama’s scoring total low. Young’s ability to remain upright is especially crucial because a Bama running back group that already misses Jase McClellan may also miss leading rusher Brian Robinson Jr., who had to leave the Iron Bowl with a lower-body injury.
Georgia Offense vs. Alabama Defense
Offensively, Georgia is absolutely a run-first team, for which reason it owns the nation’s 19th-highest run-play percentage. Bama’s run defense, though, is elite. Outside of the Florida game, it has allowed 65.5 rushing yards and 2.0 YPC per game.
It may seem unfair of me to exclude the Florida game from this statistical consideration. But Gator’s play-calling exposed a weakness that Georgia will not. The Gators, under Dan Mullen, liked to use misdirection and other forms of deception, which they could especially because they have a running threat at quarterback in Emory Jones.
Know for your best bets that Georgia will not bother Alabama because it wants to bully and out-physical opposing defenders. Its running style will play into Bama’s characteristic strength, which the Crimson Tide uses quality depth especially in the interior of its defensive line to sustain.
Wake’s pass defense will master the threat posed by Pittsburgh’s most important offensive weapon, pocket-passing quarterback Kenny Pickett. The Demon Deacon balanced offense, regularly high-scoring as it is, will punish a comparatively weak Panther defense.
Georgia will not bully Alabama’s defense, whose run-stopping will limit the Bulldogs’ offensive output. Likewise, Georgia pass pressure will punish Alabama for relying too heavily on its first-year starter at quarterback. For the above reasons, I recommend parlaying Wake Forest with the Georgia/Alabama under.
Feel free to use our trusty parlay calculator for your parlay betting needs.
NCAAF Pick: Under 50.5 at -108 with Heritage Sports
*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.