Gator Bowl 2021: Odds, Daily Fantasy Tips for Wake Forest vs. Rutgers

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 30, 2021

Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman (10) passes under pressure from Boston College defensive end Marcus Valdez (97) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, in Boston. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)
Mary Schwalm/Associated Press

The Gator Bowl features one of the most pronounced mismatches of the entire FBS bowl season.

The Wake Forest Demon Deacons were one of the biggest surprises of the campaign, as they unexpectedly reached the ACC Championship Game. 

Dave Clawson's team was originally awarded a matchup against the Texas A&M Aggies, but the SEC program had to pull out of the game because of COVID-19 issues. 

In stepped the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, who chose to participate despite not practicing for multiple weeks after their season was thought to be over. 

Rutgers deserves credit for accepting the bid on short notice, but it will likely have a hard time keeping pace with Wake Forest. 

The ACC squad was much more consistent over the regular season, and it has not stopped practicing since its loss to the Pittsburgh Panthers in Charlotte because it was guaranteed to go bowling. 


Gator Bowl Info

Date: Friday, December 31

Start Time: 11 a.m. ET 


Live Stream: ESPN.com and ESPN app


Game Odds

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook

Spread: Wake Forest (-16.5) 

Over/Under: 63

Money Line: Wake Forest (-760; bet $760 to win $100); Rutgers (+525; bet $100 to win $525) 


Daily Fantasy Tips

Put All Faith In Wake Forest

Wake Forest's offense should be the unit to trust from a daily fantasy football perspective.

The Demon Deacons are a 16.5-point favorite for good reason. They have a much more consistent passing attack led by Sam Hartman, and they are facing an average-at-best defense. 

Rutgers conceded 391.6 total yards and 24.6 points per game, but some of its single-game numbers were much worse. 

Greg Schiano's team gave up at least 28 points in all of its losses against bowl qualifiers out of the Big Ten. The Ohio State Buckeyes and Wisconsin Badgers each posted 52 points on the Rutgers defense. 

Hartman and Co. have the potential to post similar figures. The Wake Forest offense averages 41.2 points and 469.1 total yards per game.

The Demon Deacons are tailored to play in fast-paced, high-scoring games, and that should be the case on Friday. 

Hartman will post the highest daily fantasy point total from the Gator Bowl. He is 76 yards shy of throwing for 4,000 yards, and he is tied for sixth in the FBS with 36 touchdown passes. 

A.T. Perry, a 1,000-yard wide receiver, is a perfect option to stack with Hartman in a DFS lineup. Rostering him with Hartman should set you up for plenty of success on Friday in a matchup against a team that put things together on the fly in the last week.


Be Wary Of Rutgers' Offensive Inefficiencies

Rutgers' offense would be a concern even if the program had a full month to practice before the Gator Bowl.

The Scarlet Knights did not fare well against the top opposition on their schedule. They failed to score 14 points in six of their seven losses. 

Rutgers' highest scoring output in a defeat was 16 in the regular-season finale against the Maryland Terrapins, in which it originally lost the opportunity to become bowl eligible. 

The Big Ten East program did not have a 100-yard passer in each of the last four games, and it carries a weakened squad into Jacksonville. 

Rutgers will be impacted by not practicing over the last month, and the rust could be more apparent without an effective offense.

The only saving grace for the Rutgers offense is that Wake Forest allows 30.3 points per game, but even that statistic can be canceled out if it remains ineffective through the air. 

Rutgers staying competitive past halftime will be a pleasant surprise to many, but it is hard to expect that from a team with so many offensive problems, which makes it a team to stay away from in DFS contests. 


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