Appalachian State vs. Wake Forest Best Bet and Prediction for 3/20 NIT Game

Hunter Sallis and the Demon Deacons open up NIT play against the 27-win Appalachian State Mountaineers on Wednesday.
Duke v Wake Forest
Duke v Wake Forest / Grant Halverson/GettyImages

The Wake Forest Demon Deacons (20-13) failed to make the NCAA Tournament after they lost by 12 points to the Pittsburgh Panthers in the quarterfinal round of the ACC Tournament. For Wake Forest to get into the tournament, they had to defeat the Panthers and North Carolina in the semifinals to secure a bid to the big dance.

However, the season isn’t over yet for the Demon Deacons, as they will face the Appalachian State Mountaineers (27-6) in the first round of the NIT on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET. Wake Forest joins Seton Hall, Villanova, and Indiana State as the other No. 1 seed in the NIT.

The Mountaineers had their Sun Belt title hopes dashed by the Arkansas State Red Wolves in a 67-65 loss in the semifinals. App State had one of its best seasons in recent history, winning 20 or more games for the first time since the 2009-10 season (24-13).

With that in mind, Wake Forest cannot take Appalachian State lightly, as they have a lot to prove and would love to pick up a win over an ACC school. 

The NIT isn’t an ideal landing spot for the Demon Deacons, but they have the talent to make a deep run. Below, we’ll break down this postseason matchup and see which team will advance to the next round in the NIT.

Appalachian State vs. Wake Forest Odds, Spread and Total

Appalachian State vs. Wake Forest Best Bet and Prediction

The Demon Deacons will look to set the tone in front of their fans on Wednesday night as they try to win an NIT championship. Wake Forest had one of the best home records in the ACC this season, going 16-1. 

The Demon Deacons’ lone loss at home this season happened on Mar. 5 against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (70-69). Steve Forbes’ crew is one of the better offenses in the country, as Wake Forest is averaging 78.2 points per game and shooting 37.2 percent from beyond the arc (23rd in the NCAA).

The Mountaineers will try to slow down Wake's leading scorer, Hunter Sallis, who is an NBA draft prospect and scoring 18.1 points per game. The Demon Deacons have four players scoring 13 or more points per game.

Meanwhile, Appalachian State is 8-4 on the road this season and 9-3 in non-conference. They have a quality non-conference win over Auburn, where the Mountaineers won 69-64 on Dec. 3.

The Mountaineers have three players scoring in double-figures led by two-time All-Sun Belt guard Donovan Gregory, who is averaging 13.2 points per game. Appalachian St. can score with Wake Forest as they are ranked 59th in scoring (78.5 points per game). 

However, App State is a great defensive team as they are giving up 66.5 points per game (37th in the NCAA) and have a Defensive Rating of 94 (sixth-best in the country). The Mountaineers don’t shoot the ball well from three (33.5%), but they can defend it (30.8%), which will help them in the first-round matchup against the Demon Deacons.

Among the first-round matchups in the NIT, Wednesday’s game between App St-Wake is a good showcase of two teams with contrasting styles. The Mountaineers are 10-8 against the spread on the road, while the Demon Deacons are 12-4-1 ATS at home. 

The first half will be close between these two squads on Wednesday night, but we believe the Demon Deacons should pull away and cover the spread to move on.

Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change