The Louisville Cardinals look to secure a bowl spot this week when they visit the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. Game time is 12:20 EST on Saturday, October 28 at BB&T Field in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Fans can watch the game on ACC Network Extra.

The Cardinals enter the game as 3-point favorites on the road. However, early betting has favored Wake Forest after Louisville opened as 5.5-point favorites. The over/under for the game is 62 points. Click here for a full list of Week 9 betting odds and links to game previews.

Louisville vs Wake Forest Vegas Preview & Game Predictions

Louisville has fallen well short of preseason expectations this season. The Cardinals have already lost three ACC games this year, including a frustrating home loss to Boston College a couple weeks ago. Even after stealing a win against Florida State last week, there’s little hope of winning the Atlantic division and playing in the ACC title game. However, a 10-win season is still possible if the Cardinals can win out.

Meanwhile, Wake Forest started to change expectations following a 4-0 start. But the Demon Deacons have lost three in a row since then and now sit at 1-3 in ACC play. To be fair, Wake has been competitive in losses to Florida State, Clemson, and Georgia Tech but haven’t been good enough to get over the hump. With a tough November schedule, the Deacons need a win over Louisville or they risk falling short of a bowl game this year.

Vegas Free NCAAF Betting Pick: Louisville -3

Wake Forest has proven to be a solid team this year. The Demon Deacons are better than people think and are definitely moving in the right direction. But they are still a level below talent-wise a program like Louisville. With the spread down to three points, I’ll lean toward the Cardinals on the road.

To be fair, Louisville has had some ups and downs this year, as well as a few disappointing moments. But they showed something last week against Florida State, responding well to a tough loss the previous week. If the Cardinals can build on that and avoid another step backward, they should be able to take care of business against Wake Forest.

Click on the link for more free NCAA football picks against the spread and total.

The biggest problem facing Wake Forest is that they don’t have the athletes to create explosive plays offensively. John Wolford is a dependable and experienced quarterback who is also a threat to move the ball with his legs. But the Deacons just don’t have enough playmakers around him. 

Wake’s top receiver is the diminutive Greg Dortch, who has 43 catches on the season. No one else on the team has more than 16 receptions. Meanwhile, Wolford is the team’s leading rusher and owner of half of their rushing touchdowns. Wake doesn’t have the offensive playmakers to strike quickly, making them too reliant on sustaining long drives, which is tough to do against most ACC defenses.

On the other side, Louisville has the ultimate offensive playmaker in quarterback Lamar Jackson. To be fair, Jackson is also his team’s leading rusher. However, he’s a far more explosive player than Wolford and can take the ball to the house on any given play. Jackson also has better receivers. Louisville already has two players with more than 500 yards receiving on the season.

The saving grace for the Demon Deacons in this game could be that they have the better defense. The Cardinals have been unreliable on that side of the ball, giving up nearly 39 points per game against ACC opponents.

But the Demon Deacons don’t have an offense that can take full advantage of that. This will keep the pressure on Wake’s defense to keep coming up with stops against Jackson. Eventually, Jackson will create a big play that swings the game in Louisville’s favor.

By no means will this game be a blowout. Wake will continue to play close and competitive games against ACC opponents. But the Demon Deacons just aren’t ready to win a game against a team with superior athletes. The Cardinals should win and cover the 3-point spread.