Top 20 Showdown Goes ‘Under’ for NC State and Notre Dame

Notre Dame QB

Willie Bee

Thursday, October 26, 2017 12:29 PM GMT

Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017 12:29 PM GMT

Boasting one of the nation’s top ground games, Notre Dame is favored by a touchdown on the NCAA football odds for a Saturday showdown against North Carolina State.

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Free College Football Pick: Under 60½ (-105)Best Line Offered: at Heritage

Here we are less than a week away from the first College Football Rankings for the season, and the talking heads are already tripping over their tongues talking about who should fill out the gridiron version of the Final Four. Alabama has been at the top of the polls all season, and the Crimson Tide will no doubt top the CFP chart when it’s released on Halloween.

But a chic pick to crash the playoffs is Notre Dame, the Fighting Irish sitting 9/10 in the latest AP and Coaches rankings. They would no doubt make an attractive 1-loss team for the selection committee to consider coming off a big win over USC and with three more top 25 teams on the schedule. First up among those are the North Carolina State Wolfpack who visit South Bend for a 3:30 PM (ET) this Saturday. Bookmaker has Notre Dame an even touchdown favorite with 60½ for the total.

 Can ‘Pack Stuff Irish Ground Game?

Dave Doeren is enjoying his best season in Raleigh after taking over in 2013, and the 6-1 start includes a perfect 4-0 ACC record that includes upset wins at Florida State and home against Louisville. The Wolfpack didn’t suffer a hangover after beating the Cardinals, coming home from Pitt with a 35-17 triumph as 11 point road chalk on the NCAA football odds. A well-balanced offense ranks 24th in the country churning out 467 yards per game and directed by junior Ryan Finley who has yet to throw an interception this season.

The Wolfpack also boast a great run defense, sixth in the country allowing just over 91 yards per game, and they’ll need that unit to shine against a Notre Dame offense that also ranks sixth (317.8 ypg). Led by Josh Adams’ 191 yards last week, the Fighting Irish steamrolled Southern Cal for their fifth consecutive cover. Quarterback Brandon Wimbush also topped 100 yards on the ground, his third such accomplishment this season.

 

Rivalry Trends, Mother Nature & A Free Pick

Last season’s meeting was only the second in this series, and like the first meeting at the 2003 Gator Bowl, the Wolfpack came out on top. Favored by 2½ in Raleigh, NC State won a 10-3 defensive battle that was played on a field made sloppy by Hurricane Matthew. The Wolfpack limited the Irish to just 167 total yards and the game’s only touchdown came via a blocked punt. The final never threatened a 56½ point total.

It looks like rain could affect this year’s contest as well, though certainly not to the same magnitude as a year ago. Passing showers are accompanied by temps in the mid-40s with a 10-20 mph SW blow. It’s a huge game for both teams, and I’m banking on both defenses doing their part to keep the final ‘under’ for my free college football pick.

 
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