This Saturday the West Virginia Mountaineers (1-1) will play host to the NC State Wolfpack (2-0). Kickoff is set for 12:00 EST at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown and will be televised on Fox Sports 1.
Oddsmakers opened this line with NC State as a 7-point home favorite. While some books are still at the key number, several have dropped it down to the Wolfpack -6.5. The total opened at 51.5 and has been bet all the way down to 45.
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Vegas Betting Odds & Game Preview: NC State vs West Virginia
NC State Wolfpack
While NC State entered 2019 off back-to-back 9-win campaigns, few were talking about the Wolfpack as that potential second best team to Clemson in the ACC Atlantic. A lot of that had do with the team only bring back 11 starters (just 4 on offense) and having to replace quarterback Ryan Finley (2nd all-time passing yards behind Philip Rivers at NC State).
I know the competition hasn’t been the stiffest the first two weeks, but you have to be impressed with how the Wolfpack have taken care of business. First NC State whooped up on East Carolina 34-6, easily covering as a 17.5-point favorite. They then snuck out a cover as a 40.5-point favorite in a 41-0 win at home over Western Carolina.
Sophomore Matthew McKay has looked good so far in place of Finley. He threw for 308 yards in the opener against ECU and had 200 in 3 quarters of action against the Catamounts. McKay isn’t the only youngster on offense turning heads. True freshmen running backs Zonovan Knight and Jordan Houston have both looked really good.
West Virginia Mountaineers
It was expected to be a struggle for West Virginia in 2019 and after the first two games it definitely feels like this is going to be a struggle. Neal Brown was a great hire from Troy, but he’s no Dana Holgorsen. On top of that, he took over a team that lost a lot. Mountaineers lost a great talent at quarterback in Will Grier and their dynamic duo at wide out in David Sills and Gary Jennings.
West Virginia squeaked out a 20-13 win over James Madison as a 7-point home favorite in Week 1. They were tied 10-10 with the Dukes in the 4th quarter and were outgained 328-294 by their FCS counterpart. Surprising WVU was just a 13-point dog at Missouri in Week 2 and would go on to lose that one 38-7. This time they were outgained 382 to 171.
Free NCAA Football Pick & Betting Predictions: NC State -6.5
My early lean here would be to lay the points with NC State on the road. I just don’t think the Wolfpack are going to have much trouble winning by at least a touchdown here. I think we got a NC State team that was flying under the radar coming into the season against a West Virginia team that is a lot worse off than people think.
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I definitely think this line would be closer to double-digits if NC State had a better win on their resume. People just aren’t going to get excited about the Wolfpack beating the likes of East Carolina and Western Carolina. I get it, but at the same time they have dominated both of those teams.
A lot of people will be talking about their new playmakers on offense, but I’ve really liked what I’ve seen from the defense. They held East Carolina to just 269 yards and that’s a Pirates offense people were high on behind sophomore QB Holton Ahlers. Western Carolina managed just 106 yards and 6 first downs.
I think the Wolfpack defense could pitch a shutout here against the Mountaineers. West Virginia is averaging a mere 232 yards/game and 3.7 yards/play. Just to compare, NC State is averaging 522 yards/game and 6.7 yards/play.
I’m sure some are giving WVU a pass for how they looked against Missouri last week, but let’s not forget that the Tigers lost 37-31 at Wyoming in Week 1.
The big problem I see with the Mountaineers offense is their inability to run the ball. West Virginia has attempted 56 rushes in their first two games and have a mere 64 yards to account for it. That to me spells serious offensive line problems. Mountaineers will routinely be playing behind the chains, which means a lot of 3 and outs, settling for field goals and turnovers. Give me NC State -6.5