Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#341 Ball State 58 vs.
#342 NC State -19.5
Saturday, September 21, 2019 at 7:00pm EDT
Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh
Written by Adam Rauzino

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#341 Ball State University
#342 North Carolina State University
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The NC State Wolfpack will host the Ball State Cardinals in non-conference week four action Saturday night from Carter-Finley Stadium. The Cardinals dropped a 41-31 home decision to FAU in their week three action, and the Wolfpack fell to 2-1 on the season with a rough 44-27 road loss against West Virginia last week. There are no previous meetings between these two schools.

Ball State Defense Falters in Loss to FAU

The Ball State Cardinals enter their first road game of the season on a losing note. The Cardinals were poor defensively in a 41-31 home loss to FAU in a game that had the Cardinals as 2.5 point favorites. The Cardinals passing game has been a bright spot led by QB Drew Plitt who accumulated 303 yards and three TD’s last week. The junior QB is having an outstanding season, logging 1040 passing yards with an 11:3 TD to INT ratio. Leading rusher Caleb Huntley rushed for 86 yards last week, and the junior RB has amassed 231 rushing yards on an average of 4.7 yards per attempt. He will be challenged by a stellar rush defense in this one.

Look out for Riley Miller in this game. The senior wideout has recorded 236 receiving yards in three games, after bringing in 878 receiving yards in 2018. The Cardinals will likely lean on their potent passing game especially considering the fact NC State features a terrific rush defense.

The Ball State defense was exploited in the air by FAU last week, surrendering 366 passing yards. They now rank down at 120th against the pass and 57th against the run. The Cardinals lost 34-24 to Indiana in week one. Ball State has averaged 37.3 points in two games, positioning them 35th in the FBS, while allowing an average of 34.7 points, pegging them 11th overall.

NC State Stunned by West Virginia

The NC State Wolfpack enter their non-conference finale hungry for a win. They were handed a 44-27 road loss to West Virginia last week in a game that had the Wolfpack labeled as seven-point favorites. The Wolfpack cruised to two easy wins against East Carolina and West Carolina in their first two games. QB Matthew McKay had a rough afternoon in the defeat to WVU, completing only 18 of 38 passes for 207 yards with one TD. The sophomore QB has tallied one touchdown pass in each of his three games, and he has registered 715 passing yards with a 3:0 TD to INT ratio in his first year as the starting QB.

Zonovan Knight is dangerous on the ground, averaging six yards per attempt for a combined 233 rushing yards in three games. The freshman RB rushed for 72 yards last week. The Wolfpack feature four receivers with at least 100 receiving yards through three games. Emeka Emezie has recorded a team-leading 205 receiving yards after posting 616 yards in 2018. NC State has a different look with a new QB and #1 RB this season, and so far they have fared well.

The Wolfpack defense was an issue last week after an outstanding effort in week one and two. Their rush defense has especially been a strength, ranking 12th in the FBS, while their pass defense is at 54th. NC State is averaging 34 points through three games, placing them 50th in the country. They have conceded an average of only 16.7 points, good for 35th overall.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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I am siding with NC State in this one. NC State isn’t happy with their loss at West Virginia last week, and I expect them to take their anger out on the Cardinals. The Cardinals defense was an issue last week as they surrendered 41 points to FAU. QB Mathew McKay is good enough to solve the Cardinals pass defense that ranks down at 120th in the entire FBS which is troubling considering Ball State played one of their three games against an FCS opponent.

Furthermore, the Wolfpack’ greatest asset on offense has been their running game. Zonovan Knight has piled up 233 yards in three games, and he should have his way against a Ball State defense that squandered 148 rushing yards to Indiana in week one. Lastly, the Cardinals are going to have a difficult time solving the Wolfpack defense. They rank 12th against the run, and Ball State has received minimal production on the ground, averaging only 140 rushing yards per game. Look for NC State to take control early and cover with ease.

Prediction: NC State Wolfpack

Full-Game Total Pick

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This should evolve into a high scoring game. NC State should exploit the Cardinals both in the air and on the ground. The Cardinals surrendered 34 and 41 points respectively against their two FBS opponents, and I don’t see that changing against a strong NC State offense, plus the over is now 4-1 in the Cardinals’ last five games overall.

In addition, while I definitely expect N.C. State to shut down Ball State on the ground, QB Drew Plitt should do enough to get his team on the board a few times. The junior QB has tossed 11 TD passes accompanied with 1040 passing yards in three games. Also, consider the over is 4-1 in the Wolfpack last five games following an ATS loss.

Prediction: Over

Full-Game Prop Bet

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The over on the NC State team total offered on PointsBet is a recommended option. Ball State has allowed an average of 435 total yards per game, pegging them down at 105th in the country. They even conceded 29 points to Fordham who do not even play in the FBS. The Wolfpack are averaging a sizzling 470 total yards per game, and they should have a big day offensively.

Prediction: NC State Team Total Over

Half-Time Side Pick

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I expect a convincing halftime lead from the Wolfpack. Ball State has allowed an average of 18.5 points in the first half in their two games against FBS opponents which occurred against Indiana and FAU. NC State should continue that trend with a big first half on their home field. Moreover, the Wolfpack have only conceded an average of 12 points in their two games against FBS competition. 

Prediction: NC State
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Written By Adam Rauzino

Adam has been a sports fanatic his entire life, closely following hockey, baseball, basketball and football. Adam enjoys analyzing various stats, as well as studying Sabermetrics and analytics to take his picks to a whole new level. Adam has a passion for writing about various sports as well as personal finance and has brought his talents to us here at Winners and Whiners. He graduated with a diploma in business marketing and business finance.