Wake Forest vs Missouri: Predictions, Picks, & Odds Gasparilla Bowl (12/23/22)
Wake Forest faces Missouri in the Gasparilla Bowl down in Tampa Bay, Florida. The Demon Deacons are coming off a very close loss to Duke to end their season, while Missouri won a very close game against Arkansas in their regular season finale that put them over the top to qualify for a bowl game. This should be an interesting matchup overall. Let’s take a look at the odds and make some picks and predictions for this game!
Wake Forest vs. Missouri Odds
Wake Forest is a 1-point favorite against Missouri in the Gasparilla Bowl and is at -115 on the money line. The over/under is also at 59.5. Wake Forest being favored here makes sense just because their offense is the best thing oddsmakers can trust in this game and it also helps that Sam Hartman is playing for Wake Forest too. The over/under makes sense too because both of these offenses are much better than each other’s defenses. This line should stay in favor of Wake Forest even though it’s such a small line.
Wake Forest vs. Missouri Prediction & Pick
The pick: Missouri +1
Missouri had the epitome of a roller coaster season in college football. Their two best wins were against South Carolina and then Arkansas at the end of the year to put them into a bowl game. The Tigers were also the first team to put up a big fight against Georgia. They don’t necessarily do any one thing amazingly well, but they are solid, mostly because of their defense. But still, the offense scores 26 points a game and the defense allows 25 points a game for the year, which points to their very average record. However, they do have a few playmakers, with the biggest being Luther Burden III, who was just a freshman this past year. Burden should have an even bigger spotlight in the bowl game because their leading receiver, Dominic Lovett, is in the transfer portal. The Tigers also have found some good balance on offense and average 371 total yards. Brady Cook has been underrated for Missouri this year at quarterback too.
They are also on a winning streak, having beaten New Mexico State and Arkansas to end the season to get into a bowl game. On the other side, Wake Forest feels like they might have peaked too early into the season. The Demon Deacons went 1-4 in their final five games, and their only win was against an equally sliding Syracuse team. Sam Hartman is the star for Wake Forest at quarterback and this will be his swan song, with him either transferring to another school or declaring for the NFL. He lead the Demon Deacon offense to 36 points and 448 total yards a game this past year. However, the defense has been a big liability all year. They allow 29 points and 410 total yards a game. The defensive matchup and the motivation factor are all reasons to back Missouri as compared to Wake Forest. Missouri had to scratch and claw to get into a bowl game, while Wake Forest fell flat down the stretch and still made it, so take the Tigers here in Tampa Bay with their 30th ranked defense in all of college football being the difference.
Wake Forest vs. Missouri Key Matchups
Can the Wake Forest secondary contain Luther Burden III? Can the Missouri secondary slow down Sam Hartman?
Luther Burden III vs the Wake Forest Secondary
Luther Burden III is still just a freshman, but he’s a playmaker when he touches the ball. He had 38 receptions, 329 receiving yards, and six receiving touchdowns on the year. He was the second best receiver for the Tigers this year, but with Dominic Lovett gone, he’s in line for a bigger role and this game is the start of that. He has a great matchup too against the Wake Forest secondary with them allowing 273 passing yards a game. Burden needs to have a big game for the Tigers to win here, whether that’s receiving or rushing too.
Sam Hartman vs the Missouri Secondary
Sam Hartman is a Wake Forest legend and this is his swan song. He has 3,421 passing yards, 35 passing touchdowns, 11 interceptions, and he has a 63% completion percentage on the year. He holds multiple records for the Demon Deacons in passing and will want to put on a show in his last game. Missouri is very good against the pass and allows 210 passing yards a game. Hartman is the key for Wake Forest, and if he has a good game then the Demon Deacons should be in a great position to win.