Belk Bowl Pick: Louisville vs North Carolina State
- Updated: December 27, 2011
Louisville Cardinals vs. North Carolina State Wolfpack Gambling Odds from BetDSI
NCAA FB Betting Favorite: North Carolina State -2.5
Charlie Strong has been rumored to be leaving Louisville for many different jobs, but as of right now he is still the head coach at Louisville. The Cardinals have benefited greatly from having Strong at the helm of this team. Louisville has quickly become one of the better defensive teams in the nation. North Carolina State started slowly, but they won five of their last seven to become bowl eligible. Which team can finish off their season with a bowl win?
Teddy Bridgewater was placed right into the starting quarterback spot as a freshman for the Cardinals this year. Bridgewater wasn’t asked to do too much, but he definitely did a solid job for a first-year player. Bridgewater completed 66% of passes and had 12 touchdowns compared to nine interceptions. Dominique Brown and Victor Anderson share carries in the backfield. Louisville has been inconsistent on offense this year. The Cardinals average only 21.8 points per game.
Louisville’s defense was the best in the Big East this year. The front seven was terrific against the run. Opponents averaged only 3.05 yards per carry against this unit. The front four did a nice job rushing the passer, which allowed the team to leave more people back in coverage. How good was this defense at keeping opponents out of the end zone? This unit only allowed more than 25 points once all season.
The Wolfpack took a big hit when Russell Wilson transferred to Wisconsin, but Mike Glennon stepped in and did a nice job at the quarterback position. Glennon racked up 28 touchdown passes against just 11 interceptions this year. He threw for 2,790 yards. The Wolfpack had six players finish with at least 25 receptions this year. The running game often had difficulty getting going this year. James Washington was the team’s leading rusher with 852 yards this year. The Wolfpack averaged 28 points per game during the regular season.
North Carolina State’s improvement on defense throughout the year was the primary reason the team became bowl eligible. At the beginning of the year, this defense was getting torched on a weekly basis. The Wolfpack allowed 44 and 45 points against Cincinnati and Georgia Tech early in the year on back-to-back weeks, but that proved to be the low water point for this group. This unit blanked a solid North Carolina offense, and they held Clemson to just 13 points late in the year. The defense finished 38th out of 120 teams in the nation in total defense.
The Wolfpack should have a nice home-field advantage based on early ticket sales reports. North Carolina State has played a tougher schedule this year, and I think they’ll cover this spread.
Free College Football Pick: North Carolina State -2.5
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