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ACC Football Pick
NC State hosts Florida State Saturday night in a game that can be seen on ESPN2 at 8 pm est. The Seminoles are listed as a -15 point road favorite at Betonline with the early betting action at sportsbook.ag favoring Florida State with 76% of the action coming in on the FSU side.
If it wasn't for Florida State's mediocre 30-17 road win at South Florida last week, this line would have been bigger. The Seminoles are currently 5-0 and the No. 3 team in the AP polls. A couple weeks ago, they beat Clemson at their own game in a shootout 49-37. As for North Carolina State, their best win is a 10-7 road win at Connecticut. Their losses include Miami (FL) and Tennessee, teams with much lesser defenses than the Seminoles.
In last year's game, Florida State shut out the Wolfpack in Tallahassee, 34-0. That Florida State team was arguably worse and less experienced than this year's squad. EJ Manuel threw for 321 yards and two TDs while Mike Glennon only had 130 yards and two interceptions. The Seminoles covered a 18.5-point spread in that game. However, things haven't gone that way in this series as of late.
Florida State is 1-9-1 ATS in their last 11 meetings which falls right in line with the underdog being 9-1-1 ATS in those 11 games. Even though NC State are always underdogs between these teams, the Wolfpack have won four of the past 10 games.
Mike Glennon leads the team at QB. In five games he has 1,422 yards (including 440 last week) and 10 TDs, but a rather high six interceptions. That's something you can't do against Florida State, turn the ball over. Big play threat, Quintin Payton is Glennon's main target who has 19 catches and 421 yards. In three of five games, he has a reception of at least 40 yards. Because of Mustafa Greene's suspension, RBs Tony Creecy and Shadrach Thornton have taken over in the backfield. The two have combined for 88 carries, 482 yards and five touchdowns.
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Florida State should be able to contain Glennon, but their rush defense is what's been failing them after giving up over 120 yards in their past two games. Even if they can't stop the run game, the Seminoles should be fine on the offensive end. The Wolfpack allowed 44 points to the Hurricanes last week and 35 to the Volunteers in Week 1.
Compared to last season, EJ Manuel has been a lot safer with his throws. He currently has 1,147 yards and a 9-1 TD to INT ratio. Part of that reason has been his slew of receivers. The Seminoles have seven receivers who have between 10 and 13 receptions and 132 and 211 yards. With that many options, it's easier to be safe with the football. Manuel also has the ability to move on the ground as seen in his 197 rushing yards. Behind him are running backs Chris Thompson (49 carries, 431 yards, five TDs) and James Wilder Jr. (46 carries, 293 yards, six TDs) that complement the passing game well.
If the Wolfpack want to keep their 9-1-1 ATS record going, they'll have to find a way to stop Manuel and the running game. If not, the Seminoles defense will start to feast on Glennon at the other end. The under has hit four times in the past five games played at North Carolina State. Of course, that was with a less explosive Florida State offense.
We had to be careful not to drink the Florida State Kool-Aid. It's not that this team isn't good. They even have a chance to win the national title as their schedule the rest of the way really isn't all that tough, though they'll have to win at Florida the last game of the year. It's just that, this team isn't the super power many thought they were after their quick start. You have to love how people that should know better, were getting all excited about the Seminoles first 3 games, 69-3, 55-0 and 52-0 wins. They could care less that it came against cup cakes.
But the last two games brought everyone back down to earth. Can't say we were surprised. Decent teams, which is what Florida State has been for several years, rarely become unstoppable super powers overnight. This was a 9-4 team a year ago with some close wins and some bad losses. This isn't Alabama!
That being said, the numbers we like to look at suggest this one might be closer than the spot. We have NC State as having played a slightly more difficult schedule thus far, yet their yards per point numbers on defense are actually better than the Seminoles. NC State weighs in with an 18.2 and FSU with a 17.6. The Noles win on the offensive side of the ball with a 10.6, good for 8th best in the nation. Lastly, our score prediction model comes up with a predicted final of 29-19 FSU on top. We'll take the points. NC State +15
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