N.C. State +7.5 at Notre Dame
After N.C. State lost its opener this season to South Carolina, they have reeled off six wins in a row, including a win over reigning Heisman trophy winner Lamar Jackson and a win over the Seminoles at Florida State. This is a team who returned all their senior starter in the front seven of their defense and returned 8 starters in key spots on their offense. This is a senior laden team with a lot to play for. Here at Beating Vegas we spoke about running back NyHeim Hines before and his 5.6 yards yards a carry is worth mentioning again. Quarterback Ryan Finley is completing passes at a rate of 70% and has yet to thrown an interception this season. The Wolfpack have the best rush defense in the ACC, holding to opponents to 3 yards a carry and only 91 yards a game. . . Enter the Notre Dame rushing attack. The Fighting Irish are 8th in the nation averaging 318 yards a game. This is mainly due to running back Josh Adams who is still rocking out over 9 yards a carry, and dual threat quarterback Brandon Wimbush 6.2 yards a carry. Throwing the ball, Wimbush is completing barely fifty percent of his passes, although he seems to make the big throws when needed. When calculating our “clash average” the fighting Irish will be hovering around 4.3 yards a carry – which is good, but will become a point of frustration for them, and if forced into third and longs, the advantage will go to the N.C. State defense. Notre Dame has a great rush defense too but they’ve been able to inflate their numbers more, especially in the last three weeks. We picked Notre Dame last week against a very over-rated USC team and won easily. This week, we don’t think the Irish will lose. . .but N.C. State will keep it close. . .or just win straight up.
The Pick: N.C. State +7.5
Mississippi State PK at Texas A&M
Remember a few weeks ago, how the pundits on ESPN said that Mississippi State could possibly pose a threat to win the SEC? . . . that was adorable. After the Bulldogs slaughtered LSU 37-7, the world thought they were legit. Until they found out that LSU wasn’t very legit and oh yeah, the Bulldogs got pummeled by above average competition in Georgia and Auburn by a combined score of 80-13. Mississippi State rebounded with back to back wins against BYU and Kentucky. Mississippi State’s offense is averaging 33.7 points per game and most of that is due to a ground attack averaging 5.1 yards a rush. Texas A&M and head coach Kevin Sumlin are kind of where they are every year: an average team with a head coach that’s on the perennial “hot-seat.” A&M is 5-2 on the season so far and one of those losses were an 8 point loss to Alabama. Now, if you lose to Alabama by 8 points, that’s like moral-victory-heaven. This Aggies offense has four backs that have at least 70 carries this year, all averaging over four yards a carry. The advantage here, aside from coming off a bye-week and being at home; is that the Aggie’s defense against the run is allowing only 3.9 yards a carry. A&M has the athletes on their defense that will give Bulldogs quarterback Nick Fitzgerald some fits as well. The Bulldogs are a lot of hype against inferior competition, while A&M is usually a punching bag for the media. A&M at home, off a bye and being the better team – makes this one easy. Expect the line to go up to at least 2 points with A&M being the favorite.
The Pick: Texas A&M Pick
Miami -20.5 at UNC
There is a heavy lean on “The U” this week and for good reason. This UNC team is a dumpster fire. The UNC Tarheels rank second to last in total offense and dead last in total defense in the AAC. They have lost in blowout fashion to Georgia Tech, Notre Dame and Virginia Tech in their last four weeks and this number of “20.5” was cleared all three times. Miami has proven to be a very “blue-collar” 6-0. Not blowing out their opponents, but edging out good competition and looking strong when they finish. Miami is 3-3 ATS so far this year while UNC is 1-7. Publicly the Hurricanes are the third most bet on team so far with this spread. Vegas has about 85% of their plays going that way. At the start of the year UNC put up 35 and 30 against Cal and Louisville respectively but in the last five weeks they haven’t scored over seventeen points in a game. Meanwhile, against good competition, the Canes have averaged victories by a four point margin (yes we’re counting Syracuse as “good”). Against inferior competition like Duke and Toledo, they’ve looked like world beaters though. Usually, I would go against the public in a game like this, but considering the competition that the U has seen in the last three weeks, this should seem like a walk-through-practice. Expect a close cover here in the world of 41-17.
The Pick: Miami -20.5
Four Game Teaser of the Week: Georgia Tech +26.5; Virginia Tech -3.5; Texas +4.5 and Georgia -2.5
Good Luck and Wager Wisely