The Texas Tech Red Raiders take on the NC State Wolfpack. Check out our college football odds series for our Texas Tech NC State prediction and pick.

This is a fascinating Week 3 game. Both teams have some upside, but no one is sure if either team can realize its potential. Texas Tech and North Carolina State are both mysterious, and this game should give us a better indication of where each team's season is heading.

Texas Tech lost its starting quarterback when Tyler Shough, the transfer from Oregon who won the QB1 job in August, got hurt. Donovan Smith was the backup last year. He didn't get a lot of playing time until former head coach Matt Wells was fired in the middle of the season. Interim head coach Sonny Cumbie, who is now the head coach at Louisiana Tech and who had spent time as the offensive coordinator at TCU, was on the Texas Tech staff last year as offensive coordinator. Cumbie took over the Saturday game operations for the team in the final few weeks of the 2021 season while newly-hired Tech head coach Joey McGuire focused on recruiting and oversight of the program. Cumbie inserted Donovan Smith into the lineup, and Texas Tech's offense improved. Smith has not been outstanding since he took over for Shough this year, but he did just enough to help the Red Raiders beat Houston in overtime last week. Smith has to cut down on turnovers, but his ability to make plays outside the pocket gives Texas Tech a higher ceiling. It will be fascinating to see if McGuire can get the most out of him.

North Carolina State is hugely fortunate to be unbeaten. The Wolfpack played poorly in Week 1 against East Carolina. They needed the Pirates to miss an extra point and a medium-length field goal in the final minutes of regulation time to escape Greenville, N.C., with a one-point win. This is a big year for the Wolfpack. They are viewed as a team which has the talent to make a run at the ACC Atlantic Division with Clemson's offense struggling. North Carolina State has never made a New Year's Six bowl game (formerly BCS bowl, formerly a Bowl Alliance/Bowl Coalition game) in the school's entire history. This is the year to do it. The Wolfpack simply cannot trip up in the early part of the season. This is a must-win game for the program and head coach Dave Doeren.

Courtesy of FanDuel, here are the Texas Tech-NC State College Football odds.

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College Football Odds: Texas Tech-NC State Odds

Texas Tech Red Raiders: +10.5 (-122)

NC State Wolfpack: -10.5 (+100)

Over: 55.5 (-114)

Under: 55.5 (-106)

Why Texas Tech Could Cover the Spread

North Carolina State just doesn't look like a top-tier team. The Wolfpack did not handle pressure very well against East Carolina. Bad decisions and a general lack of offensive firepower limited what N.C. State was able to achieve. North Carolina State needs to be significantly better to cover the spread. If it isn't, Texas Tech should cover with a decent, moderately good defensive performance and a turnover-free stat sheet on offense.

Why NC State Could Cover the Spread

After the East Carolina game, which the Wolfpack were lucky to survive, we should see a much better, much more focused performance from the Wolfpack here. Their defense, especially their highly-touted linebackers, should be able to shut down the Texas Tech offense. State can win big even if its offense is not excellent in this game.

Final Texas Tech-NC State Prediction & Pick

North Carolina State will win outright, but the Wolfpack's offense won't function well enough to pull away from Texas Tech. The Red Raiders have a better defense than they have had in previous years. Texas Tech will manage to keep this a competitive game for 60 minutes.

Final Texas Tech-NC State Prediction & Pick: Texas Tech +10.5