Louisville vs. Wake Forest: Predictions, Odds, Best Bets (1/20/24)

Wake Forest blew an 11-point lead in the final 10 minutes against NC State on Tuesday. Can the Demon Deacons bounce back against a Louisville team starting to show signs of competitiveness? Wake Forest enters as a heavy 15.5-point favorite against the Cardinals, with the over/under at 152.5 points.

Louisville vs. Wake Forest Prediction

Wake Forest hasn’t lost a true home game this season and boasts an impressive offense, but this line might be giving the Demon Deacons a little too much credit against a Louisville team that has started to at least show some signs of competitiveness against impressive teams.

Outside of a a blowout win over Virginia, Wake Forest’s defense has looked vunverable over the last few games, with Miami, NC State, and Florida State all scoring 80+ points and Boston College scoring 78. Louisville’s improved energy and the emergence of freshman Curtis Williams, who has provided a real scoring boost off the bench in recent days, are signs that the Cardinals can at least hang around against a leaky defense.

Wake Forest is in line for a bounce-back win at home, but it’s fair to be skeptical that Steve Forbes’ group runs Louisville out of the building.

Louisville vs. Wake Forest Prediction: Louisville +15.5

Wake Forest vs. Louisville Odds

Wake Forest is a heavy 15.5-point home favorite at -2000 on the moneyline. The over/under is 152.5 points.

The Demon Deacons are right on the NCAA Tournament bubble, but they’ve shown vulnerabilities on the road of late. Is home-court advantage enough to propel Wake Forest to a 16+ point win? They haven’t lost a true home game yet this season.

Louisville vs. Wake Forest Key Matchups

Here are some key matchups that could impact Louisville vs. Wake Forest on Saturday.

Wake Forest Defense vs. Louisville Bench

Wake Forest was burned by NC State’s bench in its collapse earlier this game. The Wolfpack’s reserves shot a combined 10/12 to keep them in the game, and while that kind of pace isn’t sustainable for any bench, Wake Forest has to be better prepared to defend more than just the starting lineup. Kenny Payne has experimented with his lineup in recent weeks, opting to start Hercy Miller and Danilo Jovanovich but only playing them for a handful of minutes before others sub in.

Fortunately for Steve Forbes, the Cardinals don’t have many true scoring threats off the bench (aside from players who are de facto starters). The Demon Deacons will have to keep an eye on Curtis Williams, who is averaging 11.7 PPG and has a 64.3 true shooting percentage off the bench in his last seven games.

Louisville vs. Wake Forest Size

Louisville isn’t a team that relies on bigs, primarily because there just aren’t many at Payne’s disposal. The Cardinals’ only player 6-8 or taller averaging more than 10 minutes per night (with JJ Traynor out for the year) is Brandon Huntley-Hatfield, who admittedly is a strong rebounder but doesn’t have ideal shot-blocking skills and might not be able to match Wake Forest’s bigs.

The Demon Deacons gained in size when Efton Reid became eligible, and Reid – a strong shot-blocker – is averaging 9 rebounds per game as he settles in. Andrew Carr is also 6-9 and averages 7.5 rebounds, giving Wake Forest a tandem that Louisville’s frontcourt just might not have the physicality to handle.

North Carolina Sports Betting Update

While a formal launch date has not been set, North Carolina sports betting is slated to go live ahead of the 2024 March Madness tournament. More launch details will surface on Jan. 26 when the NC Lottery Commission has their next meeting. In the meantime, major operators such as DraftKings North Carolina and BetMGM North Carolina have already obtained the necessary licenses for sports betting in the state. DraftKings has partnered with NASCAR and BetMGM has partnered with Charlotte Motor Speedway. With these partnerships, both sportsbooks will be able to go live with sports betting in North Carolina the moment that legislators allow them to do so — offering thousands of dollars in new user bonuses for prospective bettors.

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Dan is a lifelong sports fan and graduate of Boston University. He’s covered several sports on Instagram since he was 12 and now writes about everything from betting trends to breaking news for Lineups.

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