Louisville vs. NC State College Basketball Odds & Picks: Back Veteran Cardinals Against Wolfpack

Louisville vs. NC State College Basketball Odds & Picks: Back Veteran Cardinals Against Wolfpack article feature image

Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Jarrod West

  • Louisville is favored in early-season ACC action on Saturday against NC State.
  • Both schools are coming off COVID-riddled 2020-21 seasons and are off to strong starts.
  • Kyle Remillard breaks down the matchup and makes his betting pick below.

Louisville vs. NC State Odds

Saturday, Dec. 4
2 p.m. ET
Louisville Odds
-110o / -110u
NC State Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Atlantic Coastal Conference play kicks off Friday night as the Louisville Cardinals travel to face the North Carolina State Wolfpack.

Both programs missed the NCAA Tournament last season after facing multiple COVID shutdowns. NC State and Louisville both lost major production in the offseason, though, each school retooled through the transfer portal and hopes to reassert themselves in the top class of the ACC.

Louisville is 5-2 on the season, with its losses coming in overtime to Furman and last time out against Michigan State. The Cardinals had a tougher schedule to date, with two Power 5 victories coming over Mississippi State and Maryland.

North Carolina State is 6-1 and its sole loss came to Oklahoma State. Though it’s early in the season, these conferences games can prove to be pivotal late in the season.

Whether the young talent of North Carolina State can handle Louisville’s defensive pressure could be the deciding factor over who starts conference play with a victory.

Louisville Cardinals

Louisville looks to forget about last year's disappointing season in which it went 13-7 in a season that was full of COVID issues. After losing its top two scorers in Carlik Jones and David Johnson, the Cardinals are wiping the slate clean and starting fresh.

Chris Mack is no longer running an offense that is geared around Jones’ abilities, as the Cardinals are now sharing the basketball and utilizing their depth. Louisville has eight players that are averaging between six and 11 points per game this season.

Leading the charge is Noah Locke, the transfer from Florida, who is the 3-point bomber. Locke has hit 15-of-45 of his attempts from downtown through seven games.

6-foot-11 center Malik Williams is a fifth-year senior that has been a force down low for Louisville, averaging 8.9 points and 9.6 rebounds per game.

Mack finally gave the JUCO transfer El Ellis some playing time last game against Michigan State and he showed out. Ellis finished 8-for-12 from the floor, pouring in 22 points in 18 minutes. He should continue to see his workload increase from here on out.

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NC State Wolfpack

North Carolina State has been stuck in the middle-tier of the ACC standings throughout Kevin Keatts' four seasons with the program. Last season, the program suffered two shutdowns due to COVID and dealt with the injury bug during the second half of the year.

However, those injuries gave opportunities to some young talent, such as Cam Hayes and Dereon Seabron. Keatts hopes the young talent can blossom this season to help lift them to the upper echelon of the ACC standings.

The program has started 6-1, with its sole loss coming to Oklahoma State. North Carolina State snuck past Colgate by three and it took four overtimes to defeat Nebraska last time out.

Seabron is one of the young guns for Keatts who has surged through seven games. After averaging 5.2 points per game in 2020, he’s now averaging 21.7 points and 11 rebounds per contest. He’s connected on 59% of his field goal attempts and has emerged as the leader of the team.

The sky is the ceiling for sophomore point guard Hayes, who is averaging 12 points and three assists per game. He’s been struggling from behind the arc, hitting just 5-of-27 attempts for a rate of 19%.

Seabron and Hayes will have their hands full against a feisty Louisville defense that ranks among the top 20 in defensive efficiency rating.

Louisville vs. NC State Betting Pick

Seabron has emerged as one of the most efficient scorers in the country, averaging 21.7 points while shooting nearly 60%. But North Carolina State has faced only one defense that ranks inside the top 100 in defensive efficiency in Oklahoma State, the sole loss for the Wolfpack.

Louisville ranks 18th in defensive efficiency and has been specifically strong at defending the 2-point shot, holding opponents to 42% (19th nationally). The defense has held its opponents to 64 points per game, with only one team scoring more than 70 (Furman in overtime).

North Carolina State’s offense is more top heavy with its top five players contributing to 87% of the scoring this season. Louisville runs nine deep and will constantly be shuffling in fresh legs with more scoring options.

I’m backing the Louisville Cardinals to open conference play with a road victory over the young NC State Wolfpack.

Pick: Louisville -1.5 (Play up to -3)

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