N.C. State Wolfpack vs. Florida State Seminoles
Date and Time: Saturday, September 23, 2017, 12 p.m. ET
Location: Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL
Opening College Football Odds: Florida State -11.5
N.C. State vs. Florida State TV Coverage: ABC
These extra couple weeks of preparation could have meant the world for true freshman James Blackman. There's no replacement for game reps for sure, but it will have been three weeks to the day since Deondre Francois suffered his season-ending knee injury against Alabama by the time the Noles take the field.
These extra practice reps could mean a lot for freshman Cam Akers as well. Akers is clearly going to evolve into the bell cow of this offense at some point, as he's the better of the two backs for sure. Jacques Patrick will start, but Akers is the home run threat and the man the Wolfpack should truly be worried about.
To the contrary, this is going to be N.C. State's fourth game of the season. That said, it's the first road test of the year, and the Wolfpack have yet to cover a spread as well. They're 0-3 ATS after losing SU to South Carolina as 7.5-point favorites and barely missing out on covering Marshall and Furman.
Last season, Florida State had no answers for Ryan Finley and Nyheim Hines. NCSU's quarterback went 25-of-41 for 304 yards with a touchdown and a pick, while Hines was his leading receiver with 11 catches for 124 yards.
Hines is now the running back for the Wolfpack, though he can be a pain in the receiving game as well. Matt Dayes had 104 yards as a receiver and four catches for 27 yards on the backfield in that game in Raleigh last season, so the Seminoles had better be prepared for yet another tailback who can legitimately do it all.
Betting Trends of Note
This N.C. State team is always a pain in the side of Florida State. The Wolfpack actually led most of the way last year in a 24-20 loss at home, and that's nothing new in this series. The Pack have covered four of the last five games in this series, though it should be noted that they're just 1-1 ATS at Doak Campbell Stadium in that stretch.
The road is always a bit peculiar for the Wolfpack, but let's keep in mind that they've generally had at least one major scare a year they've given to an unsuspecting ACC foe. Last year, Dave Doeren's crew beat North Carolina as 10-point dogs at the end of the season and should have beaten Clemson in a 24-17 overtime loss as 20-point pups. The year prior, they were up 17-7 at the end of the first quarter against Florida State before losing 34-17. Then it was a big win over North Carolina and a near-upset of Louisville in 2014.
N.C. State vs. Florida State Free Picks
You probably get the point already.
In this game, we've got a tremendously talented Florida State team that flat out doesn't have a quarterback going against an N.C. State team that might have one of the better quarterbacks in this conference in Finley, a man who has thrown for 987 yards and six touchdowns without a pick this year.
If the Wolfpack don't shoot themselves, they have the ability to ultimately win this game. We think that Florida State will just narrowly get the job done thanks to a lot of emotion and Derwin James' defense come up big, but this is going to be tight throughout.
College Football ATS Pick: N.C. State +11.5 at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Florida State 20, N.C. State 16