NC State Wolfpack vs. Virginia Cavaliers Betting Picks and Predictions

October 5, 2020

Date:Saturday, October 10th
Time:12:00 PM ET
Venue:Scott Stadium
Network:ACC Network
Spread:Virginia -9.5
O/U:63.5

The 2-1 NC State Wolfpack will go on the road Saturday to face off with the 1-1 Virginia Cavaliers at 12:00 PM ET in Scott Stadium. This is going to be an exciting shootout and you can catch the game on the ACC Network. Both teams have early season losses, but the winner of this game jumps right back into the top of the conference. The Cavaliers come in as 9.5-point favorites and we’re expecting a high-scoring battle with a 63.5 over/under. Let’s dive into who will win this game and cover the spread.

When the NC State Wolfpack Have The Ball

The Wolfpack have been up and down through the last three weeks, which is exactly how they’ve been for the past few seasons. Their two wins came against Wake Forest and Pittsurgh. The Panthers are a very tough team and they went into Pittsburgh and grabbed a W as an underdog. Devin Leary threw for 336 yards and four touchdowns against one of the best defenses in the country.

On offense, Leary has given NC State an entirely new look and he’s also proven just how bad Hockman really was. Emeka Emezie has prospered with Leary under center and you can expect him to see double-digit targets once again. Devin Carter leads the team with 181 receiving yards on 10 catches, so Virginia won’t be able to bracket just one receiver. Leary has been nothing short of miraculous after taking over a game ago and he’ll have another opportunity for a big game against Virginia.

When they run the ball, Zonovan Knight and Ricky Person share the load. Knight is an extremely talented back and he can take it to the house on any given play. Person is a bulldog of a back and he has three scores already. Leary doesn’t run much for yardage, but he has a big enough body to be a threat near the end zone.

NC State lost to Virginia Tech two weeks ago in a game that was never very close. They allowed the Hokies to run for over 300 yards as a team and Bailey Hockman threw two picks before Leary stepped in. Against Virginia Tech, NC State will have to figure out how to stop the run game. If they don’t, the Cavaliers will hold the ball all game and control the pace.

When The Virginia Cavaliers Have The Ball

The Cavaliers had the unfortunate draw of playing the Clemson Tigers in week two, and they actually put up a better fight than most other teams will in 2020. While the Tigers led throughout, QB Brennan Armstrong impressed with 270 yards and three scores through the air on top of 89 yards on the ground. He threw two picks, but you have to give the kid some leeway against a Clemson defense that has nothing but NFL talent.

The sophomore QB has a lot of talent and while his risk-taking has led to four interceptions through two games, he’s also opened up the offense and given them much-needed versatility. He’s thrown for 539 yards and five touchdowns while adding 136 yards and a score on the ground.

Armstrong is joined by Wayne Taulapapa in the backfield, who started last season and ran for 473 yards and 12 TD’s. He won’t pick up a ton of yards, but is a phenomenal back near the goal line and on third downs. Look for Armstrong to run the ball more on first and second downs. The offensive line has to move the trenches consistently here.

The real weapons on this offense come at receiver and they make things a lot easier on Armstrong when he does let if fly. Billy Kemp IV is one of the best slot receivers in the country and he’s caught 17 balls for 159 yards. Lavel Davis Jr. is a six-foot-seven freshman and two of his six catches have been touchdowns. He’s averaging a crazy 26.5 yards per catch with a long of 39, meaning he is consistently catching the ball down the field. Terrel Jana is the veteran of the group and an excellent option on third downs.

Virginia has a ton of weapons on this team and that’s without mentioning the aggressive defense. If they want to beat NC State, they have to establish the run game at least a little bit. NC State isn’t terrible defensively and they can’t allow them to hone in on the passing game.

Spread Prediction

The Pick: NC State +9.5

While the Virginia Cavaliers are the better all-around team and they will likely win the game, Devin Leary has given NC State a new look on offense and he’s going to have more success than expected against Virginia. Brennan Armstrong has been phenomenal in his own right, but he’s also turned the ball over four times in two games and the Wolfpack is strong in the secondary.

I fully expect NC State to keep this game close throughout and get worn out in the second half. You can wait until closer to game time as the number will likely move to 10 or more. The public is on the favorite and it’s only a matter of time before we see movement. The Wolfpack are going to give a lot of teams trouble with Leary at the helm and Virginia is the first of the bunch.

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Total Prediction

Both of these offenses are going to air it out. While neither of these teams has been very explosive in years past, it hasn’t been the case this season. Devin Leary has turned this NC State into a lethal air attack and Virginia has been automatic on the ground. This is a high number, but the public is on the under because of these teams’ reputations. Wait for the number to drop a bit and take the over. I don’t trust either of these defenses to make much noise in this game and the second half will be back and forth.

The Pick: Over 63.5 Final Score Prediction: Virginia 35, NC State 30
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