NC State Wolfpack vs. North Carolina Tar Heels Preview
Where: Kenan Stadium – Chapel Hill, North Carolina
When: Friday, November 25, 12:00 PM ET
TV Broadcast: ESPN
Writer’s Pick: NC State Wolfpack (+11.5)
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Betting on the North Carolina State Wolfpack (+11.5)
NC State head coach Dave Doeren’s job could be on the line in this upcoming Carolina-State game. After a promising 4-1 start, which included a 10-3 win over Notre Dame (that doesn’t look remotely as impressive in hindsight), the Wolfpack have gone a woeful 1-5 (3-3 against the spread) since.
Granted, three of those losses came against ranked teams: No. 3 Clemson and No. 7 Louisville on the road and No. 22 Florida State at home. However, their home loss against Boston College was unacceptable, and they were also drubbed by two touchdowns by Miami.
Quarterback Ryan Finley is coming off one of his worst games of the season, going just 20-of-44 for 210 yards with no touchdowns and one interception against the Canes.
The Wolfpack may not be playing at their best at the moment, but this is a rivalry game, where recent form is often thrown out the window. NC State is 3-1 straight up and against the spread in its last four visits to Chapel Hill.
The Wolfpack’s mediocre running game, which is averaging just 148 yards on 3.9 yards per carry, could also find some joy against UNC’s conference-worst run defense. The Tar Heels gave up 227 yards and three TDs on the ground in their 28-27 loss to Duke.
Betting on the North Carolina Tar Heels (-11.5)
North Carolina (8-3, 7-4 against the spread) still has an outside shot at winning the ACC Coastal, but it needs to win its final game and hope Virginia Tech loses against Virginia. The Tar Heels, though, should come into their big rivalry game against NC State relatively fresh after an easy 41-7 win over the Citadel.
Mitch Trubisky completed just 55 percent of his passes, but he still managed to throw three touchdown passes for the third time in four games. The Tar Heels have gone 4-1 in their last five games, with their one loss coming against another state rival, Duke.
The UNC offense should be the best unit on the field against NC State. Trubisky and the passing game, in particular, have been excellent all season long. Trubisky is either the leader or in the top three in the conference in completion percentage (69.7), touchdown passes (25), yards per attempt (8.6), and yards per game (289.8).
UNC has lost both conference games where Trubisky has thrown an interception. However, he’s set to face an NC State defense which has just seven interceptions on the season, second-fewest in the ACC.
Meanwhile, the Tar Heels pass defense has been very good and should be able to slow down NC State’s Ryan Finley. They’re allowing the fewest passing yards per game (178.5) and touchdown passes (9) in the ACC.
NC State (+11.5) finally plays up to its potential and puts up a fight against UNC. However, it’s not enough as the Tar Heels ultimately win, 28-21.
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