Music City Bowl Odds
The ACC’s NC State Wolfpack (7-5) and the SEC’s Vanderbilt Commodores (8-4) will meet Monday, Dec. 31 in the Music City Bowl. The action gets kicked off at 12:00 PM ET inside Nashville’s LP Field with ESPN having the television coverage. Oddsmakers have listed Vanderbilt as a seven-point favorite and have set the total at 52.0.
Why Vanderbilt Covers
It is hard to ignore the type of investment Vanderbilt has been. The Commodores enter the postseason riding a six-game winning streak. These six wins came by an average of 24.0 points. Vandy has covered the number in each of its last five games and is 8-4 against the spread in all games this season.
The Commodores, who hail from Nashville, should benefit from playing this one in their own backyard. It won’t be played at Vanderbilt Stadium, but the ‘Dores have been an outstanding investment when playing away from home. They are 4-0 straight up and against the spread in their last four games outside Vanderbilt Stadium. They won these by an average of 19.8 points.
NC State hasn’t fared as well when stepping away from the comforts of its home stadium. The Wolfpack are 2-4 straight up and 1-4-1 against the spread outside Raleigh this season.
Vanderbilt is the superior defensive team. The Commodores rank 15th in the nation in scoring defense with 18.2 points allowed per game while the Wolfpack rank 45th with 24.6 points allowed per game. Vandy ranks 17th in total defense with 326.4 yards allowed per contest while NC State ranks 81st with 419.7 yards allowed per game.
These two schools faced off against two like opponents this season, and Vanderbilt was more impressive in both games. Both schools handled Wake Forest, but the Commodores beat the Demon Deacons by a few more points and racked up a few more yards than NC State did.
Also, Vanderbilt crushed Tennessee 41-18 while NC State lost to the Volunteers 35-21.
These results of these head-to-head matchups suggest Vanderbilt is the better team.
Why NC State Covers
The Commodores don’t really have an impressive win on their schedule. A 27-26 win at Ole Miss (6-6) is Vanderbilt’s best win and it pales in comparison with NC State’s best win.
The Wolfpack erased a 16-0 deficit in a 17-16 victory over Florida State (No. 12, 11-2), proving they could can back against an elite team. That victory was impressive to say the least considering the Seminoles are one of the very best defensive teams in the nation. Clearly no lead will be safe for Vanderbilt in this game, especially since it leaves plenty to be desired on offense.
NC State ranks 51st in the nation in total offense with 420.9 yards per game while Vanderbilt ranks just 69th with 392.6 yards per game.
There are also a number of solid trends in support of NC State. The Wolfpack are an impressive 7-3-1 against the spread in their last 11 games versus teams that have a winning record. They are also a solid 5-1-1 against the number in their last seven neutral site contests. It is also worth noting that they are on a 4-0-1 against the spread run in bowl games.
I have picked Vanderbilt to win this game. You can view the rest of my bowl predictions by following the link. See what other experts have to say about the game by checking out picks by Brandon Lee, Vegas Top Cappers, Carolina Sports and Jack Jones.