Notre Dame vs NC State Odds, Picks, and Predictions: Irish Meet Hungry Wolves

This afternoon showdown between No. 10 Notre Dame and North Carolina State has plenty of intrigue. Sam Hartman goes up against a NC State team he's just 1-2 against, but our CFB betting picks expect his teammates to pick up the slack.

Douglas Farmer - Betting Analyst at Covers
Douglas Farmer • Betting Analyst
Sep 9, 2023 • 07:57 ET • 4 min read
Jadarian Price Notre Dame NCAAF
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

For a 2-0 team that has outscored its opponents by 92 points, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have proven so very little, given those opponents were Navy and FCS-level Tennessee State. An actual test may await the Irish this weekend at the North Carolina State Wolfpack.

Hardly anything is known about North Carolina State, either, breaking in a new offensive coordinator and a new quarterback by taking a rather conservative approach in beating Connecticut last week.

The college football odds may make Notre Dame a 7.5- or 8-point favorite, but finding a firm side of that number is an exercise in projection more than prediction.

Here are our free college football picks and predictions for Notre Dame vs. North Carolina State on September 9, with kickoff set for noon ET.

Notre Dame vs NC State best odds

Notre Dame vs NC State picks and predictions

As efficient as quarterback Sam Hartman has been this season — 11.1 yards per attempt while completing 82.5 percent of his passes and throwing six touchdowns in fewer than six quarters of action — Notre Dame’s passing attack has not been particularly explosive. Hartman’s longest pass in the season opener, a 35-yard touchdown to freshman receiver Jaden Greathouse, was actually a touch underthrown and the only deep pass he connected on against the Midshipmen.

Any chunk gains against FCS-level Tennessee State came after the catch.

This is not meant as disparagement: Hartman is doing everything asked of him. He has thrown two passes off target this season — some of those incompletions were drops, another was an intentional throwaway — and he has not made a single mistake in setting up a play before the snap. If those phrases sound like a game manager, that is only because there is no way to harp on them more while remaining accurate to what he has done. Hartman has bordered on perfect, but that has not shown itself in deep shots.

There are two possible reasons for that. One, Notre Dame did not want to run up the score or embarrass the Midshipmen or the Tigers. Or two, the Irish receivers are not downfield threats, at least not consistently.

Occam’s razor says to believe the yearslong trend of the latter, especially since Notre Dame kept passing the ball with backup quarterback Steve Angeli in against Tennessee State, but even those passes repeatedly become check-downs, albeit 40-plus yard touchdowns off check-downs.

Now Hartman faces a defense that has somewhat flummoxed him the last three years, going 1-2 against North Carolina State’s 3-3-5 in his time at Wake Forest, throwing three interceptions in each of the last two games against the Wolfpack and averaging 7.05 yards per attempt in the three games. Context: Hartman averaged 8.1 yards per pass attempt in his five years at Wake Forest. Those three games were a notable tickdown.

Now, of course, Hartman is working in a different offense. And the biggest difference in that offense? The ground game. In his entire Demon Deacons career, they averaged 6.0 yards per rush in a game exactly twice. Two games into his Irish career, Notre Dame’s backfield has averaged at least 6.0 yards per rush, you guessed it, twice.

And the surest way for Hartman to enjoy Raleigh redemption is to win in Raleigh, all stats aside. That defense is still strong against the pass, returning about half of the secondary that ranked No. 20 in the country last year in expected points added per pass against.

The Wolfpack is strong against the run, as well, even if Connecticut ran for 170 yards on 24 carries. Remove one 71-yard touchdown as well as the scripted drive’s success and the Huskies were down to 50 yards on 15 carries.

But Notre Dame has one of the best offensive lines in the country and a deep running back rotation, things the Huskies generally lack. And that should create some red-zone value.

The best way for the Irish to score this weekend will be on the ground, both as their greatest strength and as the weaker aspect of the Wolfpack defense. Lead back Audric Estimé’s anytime touchdown odds are too low to endorse (-210 at DraftKings), but Jadarian Price’s odds are more lucrative than Gi’Bran Payne’s (+210 at FanDuel) despite Price having scored in each game.

That stems from Payne having twice as many touches, 16 total touches for 99 total yards, but Price (eight touches for 81 yards) will pick up some opportunities this weekend with Penn State transfer Devyn Ford sidelined with a concussion. Ford has three offensive touches this season, and his spot in the rotation more closely corresponds to Price’s. If that is not enough incentive to consider this price on Price, then realize Ford also handled kickoff return duties, and Price was the first name mentioned by Irish head coach Marcus Freeman as the replacement in that gig.

Price is undervalued in the market, and with Notre Dame likely leaning on the ground game this weekend and all season, that creates a nice opportunity for the gambling public.

My best betJadarian Price anytime touchdown (+320 at FanDuel)

Notre Dame vs NC State same-game parlay

Jadarian Price anytime touchdown

Under 50.5

Brennan Armstrong Under 220.5 passing yards

The dichotomy of combining a touchdown prop with an Under bet inflates this same-game parlay value, and the Jadarian Price odds make that all the more worthwhile. If feeling greedy, adding the bell-cow Estimé to that grouping raises the parlay payout to +2872.

The Under thought stems from those running backs. Notre Dame should know its greatest advantage will come on the ground, leaning on its offensive line against the Wolfpack 3-3-5. That will eat some clock.

Meanwhile, North Carolina State struggled to gain yardage through the air against Connecticut, Armstrong going 17-of-25 for 155 yards. He ran nearly as often, taking 18 carries for 100 yards (sack adjusted). No offense to the Huskies, but their pass defense is rather wretched. Yet, that was the tact the Wolfpack needed to take to win, 24-14.

Notre Dame’s pass defense is better than Connecticut’s. Preseason All-American cornerback Benjamin Morrison has allowed only one completion thus far this season, a play that should have been negated by an ineligible man downfield penalty. Sure, the competition was vastly inferior, but that kind of consistency stands out. And it will hem in Armstrong on the rare occasions he opts to pass.

Learn how to bet a same-game parlay with these helpful tips and strategies.

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Notre Dame vs NC State spread and Over/Under analysis

This spread was briefly available on Sunday with the Irish favored by just 6.5 points, but once it moved to -7, it became only a matter of time until it reached -7.5 (at some books as soon as Monday, across the board on Wednesday). A few spots flirted with -8 on Thursday.

Obviously, that move is a notable one and anyone scared off betting this spread because of it would be justified.

The total spent much of the week at 51.5 before dropping down to 50 on Thursday, in some part because of possible thunderstorms on game day. Those do not look to be that threatening, so it is an overreaction to the weather, but the aforementioned ground-game thinking would still support an Under approach.

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Notre Dame vs NC State betting trend to know

 Notre Dame has won 28 straight games against ACC opponents in the regular season, a stretch dating back to 2017. Find more college football betting trends for Notre Dame vs NC State.

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Notre Dame vs NC State game info

Location: Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, NC
Date: Saturday, September 9, 2023
Kickoff: 12:00 p.m. ET

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Notre Dame vs NC State weather

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