Not only is this Wake Forest Vs. Miami, but it is also a duel between the two best players in the conference when Isaiah Wong and Tyree Appleby battle it out. Wake Forest survived off a buzzer beater against Syracuse, now entering this one as a +5.5 underdog. Miami paced the conference to a first-place finish, coming in well rested off a bye. With fresh legs and a high-powered offense, my prediction is that Miami cruises past Wake Forest and covers the spread.
Wake Forest Vs. Miami Prediction
I also debated putting a piece on the over with two high powered offenses set to duke it out, yet Wake Forest ended their last game in a track meet as the pace ramped up in the second half. Tired legs give me pause, as well as the strategic chess match of keeping your players fresh should one pull ahead late with more games on deck with no rest in between. I will just stick with my position on Miami for now with any number less than -6.
In a battle between two high powered offenses, I will side with Miami as they have more versatility on offense to keep the respective defense reeling throughout the course of the game. Ranked 13th in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency per Kenpom, the Miami Hurricanes have more than just Wong to put up points in a hurry. Most Improved ACC POY Jordan Miller plays a viable scoring role, averaging 15.1 points per game and will be key in this one as well.
Not only important for him to continue his scoring prowess, but to also keep attacking the glass as he is one of the best rebounding guards in the nation. Miller averages 6.1 rebounds per game, keeping possessions alive on offense while negating second chance opportunities on defense. This is key against Wake Forest as Miami will need to cover up their weak defense by limiting the Demon Deacons scoring pace with limited possessions.
As for the other end, the mission is simple. Slow down Tyree Appleby. Easier said than done as he is one of the most dynamic scorers in basketball yet proven to be very effective as the Demon Deacons offense lives and dies through his production. Miami would be wise to dare someone else to beat them, throwing double teams at the perimeter and an extra body in the interior to make him uncomfortable. When Appleby is slowed down, Wake Forest gets prone into making mistakes which leads to Miami points in transition.
Wake Forest Vs. Miami Prediction: Miami -5.5
Wake Forest Vs. Miami Odds
Miami opened as a sizable favorite at -5.5, sitting right under the key number of -6. Bettors have yet to take a firm stand on either side of the number, keeping the spread the same since the opener. Miami did hit -6 for a little bit but was immediately bet back down to -5.5 after going through heavy resistance. It will be interesting monitoring this line movement as Kenpom projections have this at -6.5, already showing indicators of moving towards that number.
As for the total, points are expected to be scored in a flash as oddsmakers opened the total at 159.5. Bettors believe that number was opened a tad too high, taking the number down to as low as 157.5 as of writing. This is heavily predicated on Wake Forest’s ability to generate consistent scoring opportunities, coming into this one on no rest. Should they want to get the upset, they will have to keep within scoring pace of the high-powered Miami offense.
Wake Forest Vs. Miami Key Matchups
Miami rebounding vs Wake Forest size
As previously mentioned, Miami’s ability to attack the glass is a key reason why I think they cover the spread in my Wake Forest Vs. Miami prediction. While Wake Forest typically relies on their bigs, Miami attacks from both levels.
Jordan Miller drawing down perimeter attention in his pursuit to the rim leaves Miami open at the perimeter, giving them second chance opportunities to bury from deep.
As for the battle of the bigs, Wake Forest has to find a way to slow down Miami big man Norchad Omier who averaged 10 rebounds per game this season. A task I don’t believe they are capable of limiting.
Back the Hurricanes at no higher than -6 as they should take advantage of tired legs and continue a scoring onslaught that Wake Forest cannot keep up with.