NC State – ND Free Pick with Analysis

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NC State

vs.

Notre Dame

College Football

Free Pick

10/28/17

Originally an afterthought on the Schedule, this matchup has turned into one of the bigger ones of the season. NC State, still undefeated in Conference play, has a chance to upend Clemson in the ACC. As for Notre Dame, its only loss came by one point against Georgia, a team no one has beaten. Coming off a huge win, the Fighting Irish were -7.5 point home favorites early in the week at 5Dimes Sportsbook.

There’s nothing to take away from last year’s meeting as it took place in a monsoon and the Wolfpack walked away with a 10-3 win that neither team could do anything in. This one should be much more fun with NC State having won its last six and Notre Dame recently demolishing USC 49-14.

Led by one of the best offensive lines in the country, the Fighting Irish continue to run through opponents with running back Josh Adams already at 967 yards on 9.2 yards per carry, while quarterback Brandon Wimbush isn’t far behind with 508 yards on 6.2 ypc. The two have combined for 18 touchdowns and with that, Wimbush hasn’t been needed much in the passing Game. That’s actually a good thing as he’s only completing 51.3 percent of his passes. His passing deficiencies came up in the loss to Georgia and haven’t since then. If NC State can keep this one close, the play of Wimbush could be important.

For this matchup, the Wolfpack present a perfect challenge as they are allowing 91.3 rushing yards per Game, but close to 300 yards through the air. After limiting Louisville and Florida State to respectable totals, this will be NC State’s toughest test yet. And if Notre Dame can’t win on the ground, everything will be on Wimbush.

While Notre Dame’s offense has looked great, the defense stepped up last week, stopping Sam Darnold and USC from getting anything going. The Irish will have to bring that same level because while NC State isn’t as explosive, they continue to churn out points and wins. Quarterback Ryan Finley continues to manage the Game as needed for the Wolfpack, still without an interception while tossing 11 touchdowns. The ground Game has done enough for this offense to put points on the board and that’s mostly due to Nyheim Hines, who’s averaging 5.6 yards per carry and has surpassed 92 yards in the last five Games.

The Irish don’t have an elite defense, but they still haven’t given up more than 20 points. While they didn’t play a great offense before that USC Game, they really stepped up in the win and for this team to continue its upward trajectory in the standings, the defense has to continue that kind of play.

But while the Wolfpack have won six straight, their wins over FSU and Louisville don’t look like much anymore and that’s a main reason they are such big underdogs here. This offense lacks explosiveness and if Notre Dame can find room on the ground, it will be tough for NC State to keep up.

The Wolfpack have covered in their last five road Games and are 4-1 ATS in their last five vs. a team with a winning record. The Fighting Irish have also covered in their last five and are 4-1 ATS in their last five home Games vs. a team with a winning road record.

Our Pick – Notre Dame -7