2019 NC State Wolfpack College Football Odds and Expert Betting Picks
2018 Record: 9-4
2019 Las Vegas Season Win Total: 7.5
2019 Season Win Total Picks NCAA Football: 'Under'
We'll find out just how much Ryan Finley meant to this program now that the Wolfpack's star quarterback has moved on to the NFL. Finley guided the Wolfpack to an 18-8 straight up record the last two seasons, including a 9-4 mark last year when he was one of just nine returning starters on one of the ACC's youngest rosters.
Now Dave Doeren will have to find a way to keep North Carolina State relevant in the league despite a roster that is somehow even younger and less experienced than last year's group.
Finley is one of 13 N.C. State players that have gone to the NFL the last two years. League rivals like Clemson, Virginia Tech and Florida State can lose that level of talent and keep on trucking. N.C. State doesn't exactly recruit at that same level.
Besides Finley, the Wolfpack also lost their leading rusher and top two receivers, along with three offensive linemen.
Last year's defense was more lucky than good. They surrendered just 24.9 points per game despite allowing 400 yards per game. The Wolfpack have seven starters back, including most of the key contributors to the nation's No. 108-rated pass defense.
This best thing that the Wolfpack has going for it is that they have one of the easier schedules in the league. Early season layups at home against East Carolina, Western Carolina and Ball State should be in the bag. And a road game at West Virginia, facing a Mountaineers team that is completely rebuilding, is also winnable.
North Carolina State also hosts Syracuse (after a bye), Louisville and North Carolina. I don't think it is a stretch to think they can win two of those three. They also have favorable matchups on the road against Boston College, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech. That's really as easy as it gets.
Regardless of the cupcake schedule, I still think that eight wins is overly optimistic for this group considering what they lost. I can see N.C. State getting to seven wins, assuming the defense improves and they find a quarterback. But without a true go-to quarterback, there is no way I can pencil this squad in for eight wins.
Take the 'under', and remember to bet against this team in whatever bowl game it heads off to.
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