A couple of ranked teams meet up in the week 8 NCAAF NC State at North Carolina betting matchup. The #13 Tar Heels (3-1) are coming off their first loss of the season, falling 31-28 at Florida State last week as -13.5 road favorites. The Wolfpack (4-1) have climbed to #22 in the rankings on the surge of a 3-game win streak.
One would expect a close matchup in this tilt between top 25 teams, but oddsmakers have UNC as -14.5 favorites for Saturday’s meeting in Chapel Hill (12:00 PM ET, ESPN). QB Devin Leary was the catalyst for the NC State winning streak, but he broke his leg last week in a win over Duke. Does that loss give an angry North Carolina team the edge?
Two TD Line Too Much for NC State?
The loss of Leary was a big blow to the Wolfpack, but was it really? The QB was great in a 30-20 comeback win at Pitt as +14 road underdogs (336 yards, 4 TD), but has thrown for just 184 and 194 yards in the two games since. Leary has just 3 TD to 2 INT the last two games, albeit both wins.
The Wolfpack will turn to Bailey Hockman under center, but the sophomore is no greenhorn after starting the first two games of the season. Hockman came in after Leary was injured last week and ended up going 4/7 with a 4th quarter TD pass. The good news for Hockman is that NC State has run for 179 and 118 yards the last two weeks, and UNC allowed 241 yards on the ground in their loss to FSU.
The Wolfpack offense isn’t going to wow anybody in NCAAF NC State at North Carolina betting. That being said, their defense better be buckled up against one of the best offenses in the country. The Wolfpack secondary is clicking however, intercepting six passes in the last two weeks. That’s largely been assisted by a front seven that has 7 sacks in the last two as well.
North Carolina Has Momentum Despite the Loss
UNC tries to avoid the slow start coming into NCAAF NC State at North Carolina betting. Florida State was able to a 31-7 halftime lead last week before the Tar Heels went on a 21-0 2nd half run.
Sam Howell was his usual great self in week 7, throwing for 374 yards and 3 TD. The NC State defense has buckled down the last two weeks, but that’s also been against a Virginia team that is 55th in the country in scoring and a Duke squad that ranks 67th. UNC has a top 10 team in yards/game (519.5) and is in the top 20 in both passing (289.8) and rushing (229.8) yards/game. RB Javonte Williams has 7 rushing TDs in four games.
It’s the UNC defense that has something to prove on Saturday afternoon after getting bum rushed for 240+ yards on the ground last week. North Carolina was also able to survive a 56-45 win over Virginia Tech two weeks ago as -3.5 favorites because of their offense, but the defense gave up 260 yards rushing to the Hokies.
NCAAF NC State at North Carolina Betting Free Pick
UNC dominated this meeting in the regular season finale last year, winning 41-10 as -11 road favorites. Howell threw for 401 yards and 3 TD in that game and Williams added 3 TD. Could we see a similar dominant performance on Saturday? The line seems way too high, and 58% of the public is taking the Wolfpack and the points. That bodes well for a big UNC win.
North Carolina 34 – NC State 17
Free Pick: North Carolina -14.5
Free Pick: Under 60.5