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Posted at 10:00 AM EST and odds are subject to change.
Wake Forest @ Vanderbilt +13
FirstBank Stadium – Nashville, TN
Streaming: SEC Network
12:00 PM EST. The Commodores opened as low as a six-point pup which immediately grabbed our attention, as that is a potent live dog number. The subsequent line move also had us paying attention to this one all week long.
The line movement is a market reaction to the news breaking that standout quarterback Sam Hartman will be cleared to play this game after recovering from the removal of a blood clot that saw him sidelined for the Demon Deacons first game of the 2022 campaign. With a sparkling top-25 ranking along with a demolition job of VMI in its season opener (though it was a narrow cover as Forest was a 33.5-point choice in a 44-10 win), Wake should make quick work of lowly Vanderbilt with Hartman back in the fold right? Think again.
We’ve discussed previously the effects that one player has on a line movement and how it can sway market perception. We have always argued that breaking announcements such as the return of Sam Hartman in this case are factored into the line. You see, the linesmakers are always on the ball when it comes to these things, especially when we are dealing with an impact player like Sam Hartman. The fact remains that even with Hartman available, Wake is still not trusted to win this game by two converted touchdowns to a team that only won two games last year, went winless in the SEC, and has yet to dispatch a Power Five side in years despite their strong start.
Vanderbilt however is not the typical Vanderbilt of old; while it’s suggestive to make such inferences on their play against Hawaii in a transitional period and against a FCS side like Elon, it is palpable that the energy, belief, and prowess of the Commodores is different under second year head coach Clark Lea and under the leadership of one, Michael Wright. The junior quarterback has been nothing short of a force to be reckoned with, as he has thrown for six touchdowns and no picks on the year, completed 62% of his passes, and he just so happens to be fourth nationally in rushing yards at the moment too with 247 yards on the ground and four rushing TD’s.
The dude is a highlight reel and seemingly the more acclaim he receives, the more he deflects back to his comrades beside him. Wright has the Commodores playing atypical of itself and fervently believes that its best days are yet to come, whatever that might mean for Vanderbilt football. A win against a Power Five side, old rival, and ranked opponent all in one would be a great start in suggesting that this program is truly heading in a different direction under the Lea/Wright regime and the asking price suggests that it is conceivable here as well.
Don’t be shocked if the ‘Dores win this one outright but even if they don’t, there are plenty of points on the table to work with not to mention a backdoor cover with an offense that has shown it’s capable of striking quickly. However, trust us when we suggest that we’re not relying on the backdoor cover for a second. We’ll reiterate that Vandy can win this one outright, especially when we consider how pedestrian Wake Forest defenses have fared against explosive offenses under Dave Clawson. Dig in. This is our upset special today.
Vanderbilt +13 -110 (Risking 2.20 units - To Win: 2.00)