NC State at Virginia Betting Odds & Pick: Expect Plenty of Points in Charlottesville (Saturday, Oct. 10)
Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images. Pictured: Noah Taylor.
- After a big win over Pitt, the NC State Wolfpack travel to Charlottesville, Virginia, to take on the Virginia Cavaliers in an early ACC battle.
- With the way both offenses match up against both defenses, BJ Cunningham sees both squads lighting up the scoreboard often.
- Check out Cunningham's full betting preview with updated odds below.
NC State at Virginia Odds
|NC State Odds||+7.5 [BET NOW]|
|Virginia Odds||-7.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+220/-278 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||58.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Saturday, noon ET|
NC State finds itself at 2-1 after a couple of late game-winning drives against Wake Forest and Pittsburgh.
The Wolfpack came into this season in rebuilding mode after a 4-8 record in 2019. However, NC State now is looking to pull off another upset as an underdog and move to 3-1 behind a lethal rushing attack.
Virginia took care of business in its opener against Duke but was routed by Clemson last weekend. For Cavaliers head coach Bronco Mendenhall, making a transition from a star quarterback like Bryce Perkins is always going to come with growing pains. But the Cavaliers are loaded again on both sides of the ball and should be competitive this year.
NC State Wolfpack
The offensive side of the ball is the strength of the Wolfpack. Last year they struggled to move the ball through the air, ranking 106th in passing success. However, Tim Beck took over as offensive coordinator and completely opened up the offense for quarterback Devin Leary. He didn’t play in the opener, but he’s shined his last two games, throwing for 8.33 yards per attempt and five touchdowns with no interceptions. With a healthy group of wide receivers back in 2020, the NC State passing game should be effective against Virginia’s secondary on Saturday.
The running game was NC State’s strength last year, as the Wolfpack ranked 19th in the country in rushing success. It brings back running back Zonovan “Bam” Knight, who toted the rock for 5.5 yards per carry in 2019. He’s continued that through his first three games this season, averaging a ridiculous 6.9 yards per carry.
NC State also brings back four of its five offensive linemen from last season and bring back two other offensive linemen from injury. With a solid back and experience in the trenches, the Wolfpack should find a way to run the ball at will against Virginia’s weak defensive line.
The defensive side of the ball was the Wolfpack’s Achilles heel in 2019, and so far, those issues haven’t been fixed.
NC State has allowed a whopping 6.0 yards per play this season and has major issues in its secondary. It’s allowed 8.9 yards per pass attempt, and things aren’t going to get better any time soon.
Two of NC State’s starters in the secondary are out for the year, and it could be without a third on Saturday. Top cornerback Chris Ingram is questionable, and if he’s out, the Wolfpack are going to have a long day trying to defend Virginia’s passing attack.
NC State plays a 3-3-5 formation on defense to try to emphasize its best position 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 on Saturday.
The Cavalier offense was no doubt going to take a step back with the loss of Perkins at quarterback.
Brennan Armstrong has shown he’s a capable replacement both as a runner and passer so far in 2020, but he’s not his predecessor. It helps that Mendenhall runs an offensive similar to the one BYU ran when Taysom Hill was the starting quarterback, which is a run-first unit.
The Cavalier offense has a chance to be just as good as it was in 2019 because it has seven offensive linemen with at least two games of starting experience returning. It also returns top running back Wayne Taulapapa from last year, so its rushing attack should be effective against NC State.
The Cavaliers’ top-two targets from last year are gone, but they have a lot of young talent around Armstrong. With NC State’s injury issues in the secondary, the Cavaliers will likely be able to throw the ball all over the yard on Saturday.
Despite giving up 41 points to Clemson — which is relatively acceptable given the Tigers’ offensive firepower — the defensive side of the ball will be Virginia’s strength this year.
It returns all four starters at the linebacker position for a defense that ranked 36th in defensive success rate in 2019. Its secondary loses All-American Bryce Hall, but they have a couple of young capable replacements at cornerback. Both safeties also return, so the back end of the secondary should be a strength.
The first two games for the Cavaliers’ secondary have been polar opposites. In their home opener, it picked off Chase Brice five times and limited the Duke offense to only 246 yards through the air. However, Trevor Lawrence carved it up for 329 yards and three touchdowns through the air. NC State’s passing attack is somewhere in between those two, so it’ll be interesting to see how well Virginia’s secondary plays on Saturday.
The weakness in the Virginia defense is up front. It lost its rock in Eli Hanback in the center of their defensive line due to graduation, and so far, the Cavaliers don’t have stable replacements. That could be an issue against NC State’s efficient rushing attack.
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Betting Analysis & Pick
Much like both of these teams’ first few games of 2020, I think Saturday will be a high-scoring affair. NC State’s issues in the secondary leave it exposed to Virginia’s capable passing attack, while the Wolfpack’s rushing attack should have a good matchup against Virginia’s weak defensive line.
I have 70.75 points projected for this game, so I think there’s substantial value on the over at 59.5 points. However, I would only play that number up to 65.
Pick: Over 59.5. (up to 65)