Betting preview for Union Home Mortgage Gasparila Bowl: Wake Forest vs. Missouri


Previewing the Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl: Wake Forest vs. Missouri

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This is the preview for the Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl

Wake Forest (-1, 61) vs. Missouri

Date: Friday, Dec. 23, 6:30  p.m. ET

Raymond James Stadium (Tampa, Florida)

Betting splits: 42% of handle, 64% of bets on Wake Forest -1

Keep an eye on the weather forecast in Tampa as this game draws near between Wake Forest and Missouri. Early indications are that there could be some wind at Raymond James Stadium, which would hurt the Demon Deacons a lot more than the Tigers. That’s because QB Sam Hartman is the engine that runs the Wake Forest offense. He had 35 touchdown passes and threw for 3,421 yards during what is likely to be his final season in Winston-Salem. While Hartman’s 1.2 yards per carry rushing average did drag the team down, leading rushers Justice Ellison and Christian Turner collectively mustered over four yards per carry.

So, the forecast is a big deal here, particularly because Missouri QB Brady Cook is a dual-threat guy. He accounted for 19 total touchdowns, with just over 2,500 yards through the air and 547 yards on the ground. Missouri is a much slower team from a tempo standpoint, so we also have contrasting styles in the Gasparilla Bowl.

Missouri’s defense was quite a bit better from a yards-per-play standpoint, allowing just 5.26, which ranked 41st in the nation. Wake Forest allowed 5.8 and finished tied for 89th. Given that Missouri played a top-30 schedule per Jeff Sagarin and held its own defensively, there is a good chance that the Tigers do the same here, especially if the wind helps the cause.

Because Eli Drinkwitz and the Tigers came up just short last year in a last-second loss to Army, Missouri hasn’t won a bowl game since 2014. Wake Forest rolled over Rutgers under weird circumstances last season when Texas A&M withdrew from the bowl game due to COVID, and Rutgers was a late five-win replacement against a 10-win Wake Forest bunch. Dave Clawson has gone 4-2 SU in bowls with the Demon Deacons. — Adam Burke

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