Welcome to the party, Kentucky! The Bluegrass State welcomed mobile sports betting on Thursday, just in time for this standalone game on Friday night. It would be sweeter only if the Louisville Cardinals were on home field instead of traveling to Raleigh to battle the North Carolina State Wolfpack.
Louisville's even favored by 3.5 points in the college football odds for this conference road game. Is that where Kentuckians should invest their bankrolls on their new sportsbook apps?
Here are our free college football picks and predictions for Louisville vs. North Carolina State on September 29.
Louisville vs NC State best odds
Louisville vs NC State picks and predictions
This thought began late Saturday afternoon, sometime around halftime of Louisville’s rout of Boston College. Boosting the stats courtesy of the Eagles’ wretched defense creates expected value in fading the Cardinals’ offense a week later.
Coming into the season, it was anticipated new Louisville head coach Jeff Brohm would impose his offensive wants on the Cardinals’ otherwise-designed roster. Brohm’s Purdue teams threw the ball more than the vast majority of the country, ranking in the Top 10 in pass attempts per game in each of the last five seasons. Louisville, meanwhile, ran the ball more than 104 of the country’s 131 teams last year when considering game state (down, distance, time, score).
Brohm’s offensive philosophy did not fit the Cardinals roster, so he brought in a fleet of transfers, and yet, Louisville is still running the ball. If it wants to win, it needs to. The Cardinals are about country-average in how often they rush, considering game state, effectively a midpoint between last year’s rushing dependence and Brohm’s preferred rushing avoidance. Louisville’s most passing attempts came in a rout of FCS-level Murray State.
To jump out to a 28-0 lead at Boston College, Louisville rushed 16 times on its first four possessions, compared to dropping back to pass 14 times. Brohm knows, if he wants to win, he has to suppress his inner Purdue gameplan.
That will be emphasized against North Carolina State. The Wolfpack has been disappointing in all facets this season, but its pass defense has largely held up, ranking No. 37 in the country in expected points added per dropback against, per cfb-graphs.com. When choosing between testing that pass defense or NC State’s rush defense, the choice is easy. Connecticut ran for more than six yards per carry against the Wolfpack to open the season. Notre Dame followed that up a week later with 170 yards on 37 carries. North Carolina State’s rush defense ranks No. 93 in the country in EPA against.
So Louisville will run, both because it needs to and because the Wolfpack provides ample opportunity to do so successfully.
NC State’s offense fits into that aforementioned description of “has been disappointing in all facets this season.” Quarterback Brennan Armstrong’s reunion with offensive coordinator Robert Anae has been a letdown.
All in all, that’s discounting the offense that just ran up the score against Boston College, assuming that same offense will run the ball and only run the ball on Friday, and doubting the host offense that is putting together a quality possession on fewer than 40 percent of its drives.
My best bet: Under 55.5 (-110 at DraftKings)
Picks made at time of writing may not reflect live odds.
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Louisville vs NC State same-game parlay
Looking at the math, this spread should be closer to a touchdown, yet it sits at Louisville by 3.5. Why? Most likely because the Cardinals may be liable to look past the Wolfpack to next weekend’s visit from No. 11 Notre Dame. Assessing a lookahead moment is difficult enough; assigning a numerical value to it is a step beyond logic.
This spread has already attempted that second step. It may not have been enough, it may have been too much. That’s the step beyond logic. Regardless, the lookahead moment can have a countereffect. The moneyline on the better team is suppressed. A touchdown favorite would usually have a moneyline around -280. As a 3.5-point favorite, Louisville’s moneyline is only -170. That is delightful value.
Adding in Jawhar Jordan’s odds of scoring a touchdown makes a bounty of sense since he has six touchdowns through four games, including at least one in each game and two last week in that rout of the Eagles.
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Louisville vs NC State spread and Over/Under analysis
This spread opened at -3 on Sunday and has not moved beyond -3.5 through the week, while the total hit the market at 56 and has not budged down much, either.
Louisville’s best chance of pushing this game toward the Over hinges on explosive plays yielding touchdowns. The Cardinals used four of them last week to run up that score against Boston College, including passing touchdowns of 42 yards, 55 yards, and 75 yards. Trusting North Carolina State to limit those passing successes should embolden faith in an Under bet.
Furthermore, Louisville notched such touchdowns twice against Georgia Tech and Indiana, as well. No, this handicap did not consult the scoring summary from the Cardinals’ 56-0 win against Murray State.
If those big-play tallies do not show up for Louisville, reaching the 30 points needed for an Over on Friday night would rely entirely on long drives made up of consistent rushing successes, never a reliable recipe for an Over.
Louisville vs NC State betting trend to know
The Wolfpack is 0-4 against the spread this season, falling short of bookmakers’ expectations by an average of seven points per game. Find more college football betting trends for Louisville vs NC State.
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Louisville vs NC State game info
|Location:||Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, NC|
|Date:||Friday, September 29, 2023|
|Kickoff:||7:00 p.m. ET|
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