College Football Odds, Over/Under and Picks: How to Bet Liberty at NC State on Saturday (Nov. 21)
Justin Berl/Getty Images. Pictured: NV State linebacker Isaiah Moore.
- The Liberty Flames will face NC State in yet another Power Five matchup on Saturday.
- After a crazy win over Virginia Tech last week, can the Flames pull off another crazy victory to keep their undefeated season alive? BJ Cunningham breaks everything down below.
Liberty vs. NC State Odds
|Liberty Odds||+3.5 [BET NOW]|
|NC State Odds||-3.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+140 / -165 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||66 (-115 / -105) [BET NOW]|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
Liberty continues its quest for an undefeated season Saturday when it takes on North Carolina State.
The Flames are coming off an upset win over Virginia Tech in one of the craziest endings to a football game you’ll ever see:
The 21st-ranked Flames have an electric offense led by a dynamic rushing attack. However, outside of the Virginia Tech game, they’ve have had it relatively easy up to this point. That said, NC State might end up being Liberty’s toughest test to date.
On the other side, the Wolfpack’s season has been a story of taking care of business. They are 5-3 overall, with all three losses coming against ranked opponents. Entering the season, NC State was in rebuilding mode after a 4-8 season in 2019. Fortunately for the Wolfpack, it looks like they’ve turned over a new leaf under eighth-year head coach Dave Doeren.
Liberty’s offense is clicking on all cylinders, especially on the ground. The Flames rank 11th in Rushing Success, per College Football Data and carry the ball for 5.5 yards per attempt this season. The ground game is led by senior running back Joshua Mack, who is already averaging 5.2 yards per carry.
Auburn transfer Malik Willis has been very efficient under center for the Flames, throwing the ball for 9.1 yards per attempt and rushing for 7.1 yards per carry, including nine touchdowns.
Liberty should have no trouble running the ball against an NC State defense that has struggled to stop the run. That Wolfpack unit ranks 70th in Defensive Rushing Success, allowing 4.4 yards per carry.
The defensive side of the ball is where Liberty has floundered, largely due to the fact it had to replace its three top tacklers from last season. So far, the Flames have been solid against a weak schedule, ranking 54th in Defensive Success Rate and 26th in Passing Success, per College Football Data.
However, the issue the Flames face this season is the fact they are undersized. Their linebacking corps averages only 220 pounds, so that could be an issue going forward as they start to face more Power Five offenses. It showed against Virginia Tech, as they allowed 7.21 yards per play.
As for Saturday, I think there will be some issues that arise in trying to stop NC State’s rushing attack. That said, the offense will have to outpace the Wolfpack to help the Flames get to 9-0 on the season.
NC State Wolfpack
This side of the ball is the Wolfpack’s strength. Tim Beck took over as offensive coordinator and completely opened up the offense. Starting quarterback Devin Leary went down with a season-ending injury against Duke, but junior backup Bailey Hockman has filled in nicely. Hockman is throwing the ball for 7.9 yards per attempt in his three starts.
The running game has been the strength of NC State’s offense. Zonovan “Bam” Knight leads the attack, toting the rock for 5.5 yards per carry. With NC State having four of its five offensive linemen back from last season, the Wolfpack should have no trouble running on Liberty’s undersized defense.
The defensive side of the ball has been the Wolfpack’s Achilles’ heel in 2020.
NC State has allowed a whopping 5.6 yards per play, highlighted by major issues in its secondary. The Wolfpack has allowed 7.5 yards per pass attempt, ranking 72nd in Defensive Passing Success, per College Football Data.
Two of NC State’s starters in the secondary are out for the year, and it could be without a third in this contest. Starting safety Tanner Ingle is questionable, and if he’s out, the Wolfpack are going to have a long day trying to defend Wills and the Liberty passing attack.
NC State plays a 3-3-5 formation on defense, trying to emphasize its best positional area on the field: the linebacking corps. However, with injury issues in the secondary, all of the pressure is going to be put on it to anchor the defense in this spot.
Betting Analysis & Pick
The Liberty offense is humming on all cylinders right now, and I don’t think NC State will be able to slow it down, especially with the injuries in its secondary. I also don’t think the Wolfpack offense will be able to keep up with a backup quarterback.
I have Liberty projected as -4.61 favorites on the road, so I think there’s value with the Flames listed at +3.5.
Pick: Liberty +3.5 (down to -1.5)