NCAA Football Gator Bowl: Wake Forest Demon Deacons vs Texas A&M Aggies Prediction, Odds and Preview - 12/31/2021

by James Q

NCAA Football Gator Bowl:  Wake Forest Demon Deacons vs Texas A&M Aggies Prediction, Odds and Preview - 12/31/2021

Game Time:  11:00 AM ET, Friday, December 31st,, 2021
Venue:  TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville, Florida
Where to Watch:  ESPN


Opening MLB Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings:  Spread: Texas A&M -4; Over/Under:  58 points
BetMGM:  Spread: Texas A&M -5 ; Over/Under:  58 points
PointsBet:  Spread:  Texas A&M -5; Over/Under:  58 points

Season Record

Wake Forest: 7-1 conf, 10-3 overall  (Atlantic Coast Conference)
Texas A&M: 4-4 conf, 8-4 overall  (SEC West)

The Taxslayer Gator Bowl.  A matchup of seemingly random opponents to give us more college football to bet on.  Wake Forest lost the ACC Championship Game to the Pittsburgh Panthers 45-21.  It was actually their third loss in their last five games…. They also lost to the Clemson Tigers and the UNC Tar Heels.  Completely unraveling what had been a pretty good season.  They did start on an eight-game winning streak. The Wake Forest Players aren’t done though… a win over Texas A&M would restore some pride and help the program recruit players to the football as an afterthought to basketball ACC.  They enter the Gator Bowl 4-5 point underdogs with an O/U point total set at 58.  Can they cover, can they score?

Texas A&M is a team that has to contend with monsters.  Honest to goodness football monsters lurking in the SEC.  Texas A&M is ranked #23 in the nation.. Because they did one thing… They beat #1 (when they were) Alabama 41-38.  It’s too bad that they lost to #22 Arkansas Razorbacks, MS State, #8 Mississippi, and the LSU Tigers.  Had the Aggies been able to handle MS State and LSU they would be in a much different bowl game.  But, woulda, coulda. 
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Wake Forest Demon Deacons vs Texas A&M Aggies Preview and Analysis

Recent Form
Wake is 10-3 on the season, but 6-7 ATS.  They have logged 6 Overs and 7 Unders.  They are 4-2 in road games.  Their big loss in the ACC Championship game was also a big loss ATS.  Pitt was -3 and beat Wake 45-21.  The game hit the Under with the point total set at 74.5.
TAM is 8-4 on the season, but 7-5 ATS.  They have notched 5 Overs and 7 Unders.  They are 6-1 in home games.  Though this is at a neutral location Texas A&M is listed as the home team, while Wake is the road team.  Texas A&M’s last game was a loss to LSU 27-24, it was also a loss ATS as the Aggies were favored by 6 points.  The Final score hit the Over as the point total was set at 46.5 points. 


Offensive Analysis

Wake Forest is 5th in the FBS in points per game with 41.2, 7th in yards per game with 469.2 per.  It breaks down to 13th in passing with 307.6 ypg and 68th in rushing with 161.5 ypg.  That is some wonderful balance for an offense.
Texas A&M rank 60th in ppg  with 29.3, 72nd in ypg with 391.8.  They divide that action into 90th in passing with 208.6 ypg and 44th in rushing with 183.3 ypg.  They look even more balanced but that is deceiving.  Wake simply has an overabundance of passing yardage and touchdown passes per game.  A&M will be the first to tell you it’s a bit tougher in the SEC.

Defensive Analysis

The Wake Forest defense is 99th in the FBS allowing 424.2 ypg, 60th in pass defense and 114th in rush defense.  They allow 30.3 ppg to rank 94th… and their best pure defensive stat is they rank 35th in takeaways with 13.

A&M thrives on defense.  They rank 20th in the FBS while only allowing 327.9 ypg.  They are almost perfectly matched to Wake Forest as they are 19th in the FBS in pass defense and 40th in rush defense.  Wake had better take real good care to limit turnovers and interceptions.  One of the key metrics of a great defense is A&M is ranked 3rd in the FBS in POINTS scored by the defense.  So not only will they take your lunch, they’ll eat it too.


Wake Forest vs Texas A&M Prediction

Our prediction for Friday, December 31st is…. Texas A&M 35 - Wake Forest 24
On defense alone A&M will get the win and the cover… still WF won’t be held out of the endzone, so bet the Over.
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NCAAF Betting Trends

Texas A&M is 5-2 ATS after playing a conference game this season.
Texas A&M is 6-2 ATS in non-conference games the last 3 seasons.
Wake is 0-2 ATS in Bowl Games over the last 3 seasons.
Wake is 2-8 ATS in games on grass field over the last 3 seasons.

Key Injuries

WF:  Nothing new to report.

A&M: QB Haynes King (ankle) Out Indefinitely, ** DB Erick Young (undisclosed) Out,** WR Chase Lane (Leg) Questionable


Players to Watch

Wake:  Quarterback Sam Hartman.  Aren’t all the bowl games about the quarterback.  Sam has been at Wake Forest all four years.  He had limited play early, but finishes his senior year having started all 13 games.  He passed for 3,924 yards, 36 TDs and 14 INTs.  He also ran for 343 yards and 11 more touchdowns.  He has had a pretty great senior year.
A&M: Quarterback Zach Calzada.  In 12 games this season Zach threw for 2,185 yards, 17 TDs, and 9 INTs.  The A&M offense relies on the run game… still Zach can toss it around the yard if needed.


Statistical Leaders

Touchdowns: Sam Hartman 11
Rushing Yards: Christian Beal-Smith 581
Passing Yards: Sam Hartman 3,924
Receiving Yards: A.T. Perry 1166
Sacks: Luiji Vilain 8
Interceptions: Traveon Redd 3

Touchdowns: Devon Achane 9
Rushing Yards: Isaiah Spiller 1,011
Passing Yards: Zach Calzada 2,185
Receiving Yards: Jalen Wydermeyer 515
Sacks: Tyree Johnson 8.5
Interceptions: Leon O’Neal Jr 2
Wake:  Dave Clawson. Coach Clawson has had the WF job since 2014, in 2021 he was named ACC coach of the year.  He has built a quality program. Also he started from the bottom going 3-9 in his first two seasons… His Wake Forest numbers are now 50-48.
A&M: Jimbo Fisher.  Coach Fisher has been at A&M since 2018.  With an annual salary of $9 million dollars, he has gone 34-14 so far.  He has won the Gator bowl with A&M in 2018.  His numbers at College Station are 34-14.

James Q

About the Author:

James Q. has been involved with sports and gambling his entire life. A former division 1 scholarship basketball player, James understands sports (and especially basketball) inside-and-out. Following his basketball playing days, James parlayed his gambling skills into a semi-pro poker career. James resides in Los Angeles, and especially loves the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Rams, and Los Angeles Dodgers. And when he isn't betting on sports (and writing about it), James can be found performing stand-up comedy on the Sunset Strip.

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