The NC State Wolfpack take on the Virginia Cavaliers on Friday night in Charlottesville. Check out our college football odds series for our NC State vs. Virginia prediction and pick, and find out how to watch.
The NC State Wolfpack got off to a formidable start, taking care of two of their first three opponents, but succumbing to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. They will have their first conference test against UVA, and will aim to impress on the road as transfer QB Brennan Armstrong returns to face his former team.
On the other side of the field, the Virginia Cavaliers have struggled mightily in their 2023 campaign. They are winless in their first three games, getting blown out by Tennessee and Maryland in the non-conference. They also dropped a close battle to James Madison, who was recently elevated to the FBS, joining the Sun Belt in 2022. They are in search of their first win and will need a major upset to take down this solid NC State squad.
Here are the college football odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
College Football Odds: NC State-Virginia Odds
NC State: -9.5 (-108)
Virginia: +9.5 (-112)
Over: 48.5 (-110)
Under: 48.5 (-110)
How to Watch NC State vs. Virginia
Time: 7:30 ET/4:30 PT
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Why NC State Will Cover The Spread
The NC State Wolfpack just finished taking care of business against VMI, blowing them out 45-7. While they went down at the hands of Notre Dame, it was a very respectable loss to a top-10 team that is surging with talent and success. NC State returns a lot of talent on the defensive side of the ball that helped them go 8-5 a year ago and stifle top opponents like UNC and Florida State. That defense will have an easier task this week against a UVA offense that is ranked in the bottom 15 of the entire FBS in several major yards and scoring categories so far this season.
Brennan Armstrong has taken over at quarterback for the departed Devin Leary, who transferred to Kentucky in the offseason. He returns to his old stomping grounds at UVA for the first time since wrapping up his five-year career in Charlottesville last fall. Armstrong will look to use the knowledge of his old program against them, and put up big numbers on a field he knows very well. He has mostly excelled in his first three games with the new team, winding up as the leading rusher in two of those. He has over 150 yards on the ground with three touchdowns in addition to his aerial threat, something that will help him exploit a weak UVA defense.
The UVA defense is one of the worst in the country through three weeks, ranking 123rd in yards allowed per game and 120th in points per game at a whopping 42.3 before conference play has begun. Additionally, Virginia is hardly in the top 100 categories on either side of the ball and is going to have trouble stopping Armstrong as well as putting up points of their own. In their two Power 5 games so far this year, UVA was unable to muster more than 14 points, and don't expect a Dave Doeren defense to allow much more than that to a struggling offense, even on the road. This game has a low total of 47 points, and a large portion of that going under will be the Wolfpack holding Virginia in check.
Why Virginia Will Cover The Spread
The Virginia Cavaliers entered the year after a tragic end to 2022 that saw their season cut short. A senseless killing left several football players dead, and the school made the decision to cancel their final two games. The team honored the players ahead of their home opener against JMU and figured to play inspired ball for their fallen teammates. But this program has seemed out of sorts as the season has gotten underway and has faced many changes among key players. The emotions will still run high in their second home game back, and a Friday night conference battle is exactly what this team needs to get the juices flowing and play with some passion.
If UVA is going to step up as a double-digit underdog on their home turf, they will have to find some playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. One of those guys is WR Malik Washington, who has 289 yards receiving and a score so far this year. Washington is a grad transfer from Northwestern who caught 65 balls a year ago and will continue to gel with his new team in each passing game. That was evident in their last loss to Maryland, where Washington was the one bright spot and hauled in nine grabs for 141 yards. QB Anthony Colandrea will have to focus on feeding Washington and avoid mistakes that amounted to three picks a week ago.
NC State is only 2-8 against the spread in their last 10 games dating back to last season, and haven't done great as a larger favorite. Outside of the Notre Dame game where they didn't look great, the Wolfpack have played an easy schedule in the games that they impressed in. They beat a winless UConn team in Game 1 and took down a weak FCS squad in VMI last week. Without playing a middle-of-the-road Power 5 team, it is difficult to say how impressive NC State can be, but Virginia will have to step up far from the weak defense they have played so far if they want to cover the spread and have a chance at picking up their first victory.
Final NC State-Virginia Prediction & Pick
Brennan Armstrong and the NC State Wolfpack will continue their strong start and take the fight to a struggling Virginia team. Armstrong will be able to expose the defensive weaknesses of the Cavaliers after spending his entire career there, and UVA will not be able to correct their current woes on short notice. NC State should be able to win this game by double digits, as long as Armstrong avoids making mistakes through the air and keeps the offense moving efficiently.
Final NC State-Virginia Prediction & Pick: NC State -9.5 (-110)