College Football Predictions and Picks: Cincinnati at NC State Betting Odds
by Alan Matthews - 9/16/2010
It’s not exactly the best matchup on ESPN’s Thursday night football this week as unranked N.C. State (2-0) hosts Cincinnati (1-1). And both conferences could use a win as the Bearcats’ Big East is down to just two schools still without a loss after just two weeks and the Wolfpack’s ACC’s was fairly humiliated by the outings of conference teams like Florida State and Georgia Tech last week. All five ACC teams that started the season ranked among the AP Top 25 have already suffered at least one loss. Virginia Tech, the preseason favorite to win the league, already has two.
There is one injury worth mentioning: UC starting running back Isaiah Pead is questionable after sitting out Saturday against Indiana State with swelling in his knee. Pead, who led Big East running backs by averaging 6.7 yards per carry last year, will be a game-time call. Darrin Williams started in Pead's place last week and gained 117 yards on 13 carries. John Goebel also had 75 yards on nine carries, plus two touchdowns.
The Bearcats followed a stinker of an opener at Fresno State with a 40-7 win over the Sycamores on Saturday – but UC’s offense continued to struggle as the score was only 12-7 at halftime. By comparison, Cincinnati had 117 points in last season’s first two games.
N.C. State struggled a bit in a 28-21 win at Central Florida (that’s all the ACC would have needed – a loss to C-USA team). N.C. State had only 239 yards total offense, including just 79 in the second half but held on thanks to forcing five turnovers. It is 2-0 for the first time since Tom O’Brien arrived.
This is the first meeting between these two schools.
College football predictions: Team breakdowns
N.C. State leads the ACC in total defense, allowing an average of 248.5 yards per game. Only Boston College (eight) has more takeaways than the Wolfpack's six in the conference – last year N.C. State had just 14 takeaways all season. The Wolfpack also are third in the conference in rushing defense at 90.5 ypg.
UC rushed for 263 yards last week against Indiana State, but that FCS school is 3-54 in the past five-plus years. That was the first time since 2008 the Bearcats rushed for more yards then they passed. UC passed for 130 yards against the Sycamores, its lowest passing output in a game since Oct. 22, 2006. QB Zach Collaros has not yet looked like the same player he was in subbing for an injured Tony Pike for a few games last year. It definitely appears new coach Butch Jones is putting more of an emphasis on the run.
UC offensive lineman Alex Hoffman says the Bearcats’ offense is ready to put on a show against North Carolina State in the school’s first national TV game under Jones.
“They’re big, physical team, but I feel like we’re going to score a lot of points,” Hoffman said. “This last week in practice and in the Indiana State game in the second half we were clicking on all cylinders and I feel like our offense is finally coming together.”
Cincinnati’s rush defense leads the Big East and ranks 10th nationally, giving up an average of 71 rushing yards per game. The Bearcats are tied for second with West Virginia in total defense, allowing an average of 275 yards.
Cincinnati at N.C. State betting odds
The Wolfpack are 1.5-point favorites with the total at 55. Approximately 56 percent of the lean is on N.C. State as of this writing. The college football line for this game has stayed oddly steady, maybe moving a half-point in each direction at some books (which have it at N.C. State at -2). The total hasn’t really moved.
Cincinnati at N.C. State betting trends
The ‘over’ is 11-2 in the Wolfpack’s last 13 games
The ‘under’ is 8-1 in Cincinnati’s last 9 Thursday games
Cincinnati is 0-7 ATS in its past seven games
N.C. State is 9-3-1 in its past 13 at home
Cincinnati at N.C. State Betting Predictions and Football Picks
Every statistic seems to scream the ‘under’ here, although it’s unlikely Wolfpack QB Russell Wilson (10 of 30, 105 yards) looks as bad as he did against UCF again. Look for N.C. State to move to 3-0 for the first time since the 2002 season and fairly easily cover this spread. Also take the ‘under’ even though ‘overs’ are hitting are more than 69 percent in college football so far this season.
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