NC State vs North Carolina Odds & Picks: Why to Bet the Tar Heels
Grant Halverson/Getty Images. Pictured: North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye.
NC State vs North Carolina Odds
|NC State Odds|
-110o / -110u
|North Carolina Odds|
-110o / -110u
This was supposed to be the year the NC State had all of the pieces to make a big jump. But that didn’t go quite as planned once star quarterback Devin Leary went down with a season-ending injury.
Now, Dave Doeren’s team finds itself in familiar territory, sitting at 7-4 with a chance to play spoiler to its main rival.
North Carolina has already punched its ticket to the ACC Championship after locking up the Coastal Division. Last week, the Tar Heels fell to Georgia Tech for their first conference loss of the season, ending any hope they potentially had for the College Football Playoff.
This game is meaningless for the Tar Heels on paper, but they will still want to win for a better bowl placement and gain some momentum going into next week’s conference championship matchup against Clemson.
And of course, they will also want to defeat one of their most bitter in-state rivals and secure bragging rights as well.
These two teams couldn’t be more polar opposites of each other. This will be a fun matchup to see if a good offense can defeat a good defense or if the lesser offense will prevail over a poor defense.
I think one specific side has an edge in this matchup.
NC State has the 99th-ranked offense, per SP+. Since Leary went down earlier this season, it's been even worse.
In the Wolfpack's four full games without Leary, they've failed to score more than 22 points in three of those games against the likes of Virginia Tech, Boston College and Louisville — three of the lesser teams in the conference this season.
They did score 30 and beat Wake Forest, which had three turnovers and features one of the worst defenses in the country. With how bad North Carolina’s defense is, there’s a chance we could see the Wolfpack repeat that performance, but I wouldn’t count on it.
NC State ranks 74th in Offensive Success Rate, but it's done a poor job of Finishing Drives or finding any explosiveness. It sits 111th in explosiveness and 101st in points per opportunity on offense.
The running game has been mildly successful, ranking 60th in Success Rate. However, because it's just 124th in rushing explosiveness, this offense comes in at just 99th in PPA on the ground.
Through the air, North Carolina State sits 92nd in Success Rate and 80th in PPA. The Wolfpack own the 96th-best PFF passing grade in FBS and the 115th-best receiving grade.
I know that the North Carolina defense is atrocious, but this NC State offense is so bad that it may not matter.
On the other side, this Wolfpack defense has been one of the top units in the country. It ranks 14th in SP+ and 23rd in PFF defensive grades. The Pack are also ninth in Success Rate and 27th in Points per Opportunity.
One of their issues, though, has been allowing explosive plays, as they rank 127th in explosiveness allowed. They will need to find a way to buck this trend if they want to have a chance against a very potent North Carolina team.
This NC State rushing defense is fairly stout. It ranks 15th in PFF run defense grade this season and eighth in Success Rate. North Carolina doesn’t run the ball too often, but it will certainly want to avoid doing so against this front.
North Carolina will most likely attack through the air. However, the Wolfpack still rank 16th in Passing Success Rate Allowed, 40th in PPA and 33rd in PFF coverage grade.
The Tar Heels may find a way to break off some big plays through the air, though, as NC State comes in at 104th in passing explosiveness allowed.
Tar Heels Offense
Drake Maye has been a revelation at quarterback this season for the Tar Heels. Maye ranks third in FBS with 3,614 passing yards this season despite having over 60 fewer attempts than both players ahead of him.
Maye also has 34 passing touchdowns, just one off of the FBS lead. This doesn’t even account for the 597 yards and five touchdowns that he has added on the ground.
Maye has been one of the better quarterbacks in college football and is the main reason that UNC has been as successful as it's been this season.
North Carolina has SP+’s ninth-ranked offense on the season, as it comes in at 18th in Success Rate, fifth in Points per Opportunity and ninth in explosiveness. It goes without saying, but this has been one of the best offenses in the entire country.
The Tar Heels pass the ball at the 32nd-highest rate in the country. When passing, they rank fourth in PPA and 12th in Success Rate. They've built a wildly successful passing offense on the arm of Maye, and it can score from anywhere on the field.
On the ground, the Tar Heels rank 37th in both Rushing Success Rate and PPA. This is a capable rushing attack when they do need to go to it.
Tar Heels Defense
Despite all of the success on offense, UNC's defense has caused plenty of trouble and kept opponents in games that otherwise could have been blowouts.
North Carolina ranks 125th in Defensive Success Rate and 127th in Points per Opportunity.
Both the rushing and passing defense has struggled this season. Against the pass, the Tar Heels rank 116th in Success Rate and 117th in PPA. They also sit 109th in PFF coverage grade this season, which is the second-worst mark in the ACC.
Things haven’t been any better on the ground, as North Carolina is 120th in Rushing Success Rate Allowed and 94th in PPA.
The one bright spot this defense has is that it's done well at preventing explosive runs, ranking 13th in rushing explosiveness this year.
NC State vs North Carolina Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how NC State and North Carolina match up statistically:
NC State Offense vs. North Carolina Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
North Carolina Offense vs. NC State Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||14||4|
|Seconds per Play||27.5 (91)||23.9 (20)|
|Rush Rate||51.1% (86)||49.9% (91)|
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.
NC State vs North Carolina Betting Pick
Maye will be the best offensive player on the field yet again in this game. I have faith in him finding success throwing the ball, even against this tough NC State defense.
The Tar Heels defense is troublesome, but NC State’s offense has struggled down the stretch since Leary’s injury. I think the Wolfpack will find a bit more success this week, but it won’t be enough to keep up with this stellar UNC offense.
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