NC State Wolfpack Odds to win the College Football National Championship with Expert Betting Predictions
The Wolfpack finished last season with nine wins, a three-touchdown victory in their bowl game, a postseason ranking, and a coach with a new extension after flirting with other teams. There are a lot of positives. But I can't be the only one who struggles to believe that they have really turned a page like people want us to believe. Sure, they could be a strong and dangerous team this year. Or they could just as easily be the 6-6 afterthought they were as recently as 2016. I don't know what to do with this team, and I hate that feeling.
2017 in a Nutshell
They lost their opener in Charlotte against South Carolina by a touchdown, but it wasn't a disastrous outing - they mostly played fine. And it was obviously something to build off of, because they reeled off six straight wins, including impressive ones at a Florida State team then ranked 12th and not yet fully finished their implosion, against a 17th -ranked Louisville team, and at Pitt. They were ranked 14th after that stretch, but then they entered the toughest part of their schedule and faltered. Badly. They lost by three touchdowns at Notre Dame, lost at home to Clemson, narrowly beat Boston College, and then lost at Wake Forest. The losing was over, though, as they soundly beat struggling rival North Carolina to close the season then trounced an Arizona State team in turmoil in the Sun Bowl. So, what do you say about the season? To me they were pretty good as long as they didn't have to play good teams, and that's not great.
Key Additions and Departures
The team saw a team-record seven players drafted, with four coming from the spectacular defensive line, highlighted by Bradley Chubb going fourth overall. The only guy with a new start on the line got it because Chubb skipped the bowl game. It's a whole lot for any program to overcome, never mind one that lacks high-end depth like this one. They have some guys around - raw but able to learn by being around four future NFLers last year. And additions like Juco transfers Joe Babros and Larrell Murchison and true freshman Alim McNeill are going to have to step up. A step back seems inevitable, and despite having so much talent the line wasn't as productive as you might expect last year. The top two linebackers are also gone, so youth will be on display there as well. Payton Wilson, a four-star recruit who enrolled early, will be given every opportunity to grab a job. The team returns six safeties, so at least there is stability somewhere. But two top corners transferred, so there are issues outside. Stephen Griffin is eligible after transferring from Tennessee last year, and he'll need to step up.
On offense, Ryan Finley comes back for what feels like his 20th year but is actually in his sixth - and third as starter here after briefly starting his career as starter at Boise State. He's solid, and he needs to be durable as no one behind him has thrown a collegiate pass. Thousand-yard rusher Nyheim Hines was drafted, but second-leading rusher Reggie Gallaspy is back, and true freshman Ricky Person Jr. and UNC-Pembroke transfer Damontay Rhem are being counted on as well. Receivers are in good shape as the leading receiver is gone, but the next three best in this relatively democratic group return. Tight end is solid, and Tony Boselli's son Adam could step up after redshirting last year. Right tackle Will Richardson was drafted, but the depth and experience is good on the line. It's much easier to the like the offense than the defense at this point.
The coaching staff is stable, with the only change the addition of longtime coach Ted Roof as the 10th coach. He'll be on the defensive side of the ball.
Biggest Area of Concern
Defensive depth, obviously. They have to replace nine guys who played starter minutes, including by far their best player. It could all work out, or it could easily be ugly.
NC State Wolfpack Schedule Analysis
Things start out as good as they could for a team facing changes like this one. They play James Madison and Georgia State in two de facto exhibition games that should be easy wins. Then they host a West Virginia team I don't much like, though QB Will Grier should be able to exploit this defense. Then it's Virginia and Boston College - two conference games just waiting to be won. At Clemson will be brutal, but at Syracuse shouldn't be. We don't know what Florida State will be this year yet. Then Wake Forest is beatable, Louisville has to find a QB, and North Carolina is probably still a bit of a hot mess. It is a long, long way from the toughest schedule out there.
2018-19 NC State Wolfpack Betting Odds and Trends
The team is +40000 to win the national title at Bovada , which obviously puts them well down the list of contenders. They are the third choice to win the ACC Atlantic at +2000 behind Louisville and prohibitive favorite Clemson. And they are tied with Louisville as the fifth choice to win the ACC, though at a price of +3300 that suggests the gap between them and the better teams is very large. The season win total sits at 7.5, with the "under" solidly favored.
2018-19 NC State Wolfpack Predictions and College Football Picks
I don't like where the defense is at all, but there are six games they should win, and all but one of the rest are a coin flip - unless Florida State really takes to Willie Taggart. I think about eight wins is reasonable, so there could be mild value in the over on the season win total, but I'm not rushing out to mortgage my house to bet it.
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