College Football Odds, Picks for Notre Dame vs. NC State
Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images. Pictured: Sam Hartman (Notre Dame)
Notre Dame vs. NC State Odds
Notre Dame looks to move to 3-0 on the season when it takes on NC State in Raleigh on Saturday.
Sam Hartman has taken South Bend by storm in his first two games and now has Irish fans thinking about the College Football Playoff. However, I think we need to pump the brakes given the competition they've faced.
After playing Navy and Tennessee State, this will be Notre Dame's first big test before it squares off against Ohio State in Week 4.
NC State had a real lackluster performance on the road at UConn, coming away with a 24-14 win. The Wolfpack are coming off an 8-5 season, which was a disappointment given the hype surrounding them going into the season.
They have to replace quite a bit of production on both sides of the ball, so it may take a bit for them to find their stride.
Let's dive into the odds for Notre Dame vs. NC State and find a betting pick and prediction in this college football betting preview on Saturday, Sept. 7.
Hartman has put up two outstanding games against Navy and Tennessee State. He's gone 33-for-41 for 445 yards and six touchdowns. So, as you can imagine, his PFF passing grade sits at a staggering 91.2 through two games.
Hartman has been one of the best quarterbacks in college football for a few years now after putting up fantastic numbers for Wake Forest. In his time in Winston-Salem, Hartman posted an 87.5 PFF passing grade, averaged 8.5 yards per attempt and had 70 big-time throws in three seasons.
The question with Hartman isn't so much about his talent but rather about how he would perform changing schools and offensive systems. But so far, that hasn't been an issue.
However, once he faces a decent secondary, things may not be as easy as they've been for him so far.
Coming into the season, Notre Dame returned just one of its top four pass-catchers from last season and lost one of the nation's best tight ends in Michael Mayer.
The good news for Hartman is he has a great offensive line in front of him with two NFL-caliber tackles.
The Notre Dame defense gave up a lot of chunk plays last year, but it was one of the best teams at preventing teams from scoring once they had the opportunity. The Irish finished last season fifth in the country in Finishing Drives and will have eight starters returning.
They're stacked at linebacker with their top three players coming back. Plus, head coach Marcus Freeman added transfers on the defensive line and in the secondary to help maintain the level of production they had last season.
NC State is going to have a lot of new faces on the offensive side of the ball, and one of them is a familiar one in Virginia transfer Brennan Armstrong.
Armstrong is one of the most fascinating quarterbacks in college football because of the variance he plays with.
Two years ago, he was one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the country, putting up a PFF passing grade of 90.9 with 35 big-time throws while also averaging 7.6 yards per carry on the ground.
But last season, he changed offensive systems and played behind a terrible offensive line that put him under pressure on 40.4% of dropbacks. As a result, his PFF passing grade dropped all the way down to 56.7 and he averaged only 6.6 yards per attempt.
For Armstrong to be successful, it's pretty clear he needs a good offensive line in front of him — or at least one that doesn't put him under duress on over 40% of his dropbacks.
Only two starters and 63 starts came back on an offensive line that was 31st in terms of PFF pass-blocking grade.
Armstrong found himself under pressure on 37.8% of his dropbacks against UConn, so it may be another long season if that holds up.
It doesn't help that NC State lost three of its top four pass-catchers as well.
The Wolfpack couldn't run the ball to save their lives last season. They averaged just 3.3 yards per carry while ranking 116th in EPA/Rush and 111th in Offensive Line Yards.
They do return their top back in Jordan Houston, but with only two starters back on the offensive line, it's hard to see them being effective against a solid Notre Dame front seven.
The Wolfpack defense is going to have to replace some production. They lost five of their top six tacklers from on a unit that was one of the best in the nation against the run and ranked inside the top five in Defensive Line Yards, Stuff Rate and rushing explosiveness.
The defensive line should maintain the same type of production after adding some high-value transfers, but the linebacking room and secondary took big hits, so it may be a long day against Hartman.
Notre Dame vs. NC State
Betting Pick & Prediction
Hartman could not have played better in his first two games. However, this is going to be a much better defense, and it's one he's struggled against in the past.
NC State defensive coordinator Tony Gibson has somewhat had Hartman's number, as the quarterback has thrown six interceptions and held an average PFF passing grade of 73.1 in those three meetings.
The Wolfpack aren't going to be able to run the ball, so it's up to Armstrong to beat a good Notre Dame secondary through the air. The good news for Armstrong is he's back with his old offensive coordinator from Virginia, Robert Anae.
But if he's going to constantly be under pressure, he's not going to be effective.
I only have 45.2 points projected for this game, so I like the value on under 51 points and would play it down 49.