NC State vs. Kansas State: Prediction & Odds (12/28/23)

NC State faces Kansas State in the Pop-Tarts Bowl on Thursday (12/28/23) . In this article, find the latest betting odds for the game and a full matchup preview. In addition, find our NC State vs. Kansas State best bet which is NC State +3.

NC State Wolfpack vs. Kansas State Wildcats Prediction

Before placing a wager on this game, let’s head over to the Bowl Game Tracker where we can find the latest opt-outs, transfer portal updates and injuries. There are significant players on both teams here, especially on the Kansas State side. The Wildcats will be without quarterback Will Howard, who is in the transfer portal, and their top two pass-catchers WR Phillip Brooks and TE Ben Sinnott who are both opting out to prepare for the NFL Draft.

With Howard out, freshman quarterback Avery Johnson will get the start, but he didn’t show much as a passer throughout the year. He did, however, run for a whopping five touchdowns against Texas Tech earlier this season. We can expect a run-heavy approach from Kansas State here, which plays right into the hands of a stout NC State front seven that ranked 5th in tackling according to PFF.

NC State will be without star linebacker Payton Wilson, but the rest of the team is mostly intact. Quarterback Brennan Armstrong gets the start after a rocky beginning to the season that resulted in him getting benched. However, he threw for six touchdowns to no interceptions in his three games after returning to the starting lineup, and he started to show the confidence we expected to see as he reunited with his former offensive coordinator Robert Anae.

Armstrong has an opportunity to continue to succeed against a Kansas State defense missing multiple key players including edge Nate Matlack, cornerback Will Lee III and safety Kobe Savage. The Kansas State defense had plenty of issues this season, ranking 122nd in PFF’s tackling grades and allowing too many explosive plays. NC State can exploit that.

NC State ended the season with five straight wins, and Dave Doeren should have his team highly motivated to reach ten wins for just the second time in program history. NC State had a chance to hit that mark in 2021, but the Holiday Bowl was canceled late due to COVID-19 concerns. I’m happy to bet on NC State finally getting their much awaited tenth win here as the more intact team with much fewer departures from their roster.

NC State vs. Kansas State Prediction: NC State +3

NC State vs. Kansas State Best Odds

I’d highly encourage you to try to find the full 3 points with NC State in this game as that’s a key number, but at the time of writing, most of the market has shifted to -2.5 or -2 in favor of Kansas State. The over/under currently sits at 47.5 points, so with the current numbers, the odds are implying a final score of around 25-22.

NC State vs. Kansas State Key Matchups

While there have been some significant opt-outs from both teams in this game, there are still some fun players to watch here. So who will be indulging in the edible Pop-Tarts mascot on the sideline? Let’s take a look at some of the key matchups.

Avery Johnson vs. NC State’s Defense

After being used in designed packages in certain spots this season, freshman Avery Johnson gets his first full start in this game with an opportunity to prove he should be the starting quarterback next season. He’s being thrown straight into the fire, though, against an elite NC State defense that ranks 20th in points per drive allowed.

The Wolfpack also forced 24 turnovers this season, the fifth-most in the country, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them force the young passer into mistakes in this game. Kansas State is without offensive coordinator Collin Klein, who is joining Mike Elko’s staff at Texas A&M, so that could impact their play calling.

Brennan Armstrong vs. Kansas State’s Defense

Brennan Armstrong was benched for MJ Morris earlier this season, but Morris has since transferred to Maryland and Armstrong will be getting the start here. Armstrong looked like a different quarterback once he re-entered the starting lineup, and the senior passer will be highly motivated to end his season on a high note.

Armstrong should have plenty of success against a Kansas State missing two key starters, especially cornerback Will Lee III, their highest-graded player in coverage per PFF. NC State’s Kevin Concepcion is a dual threat skill player who finished with over 1,000 yards from scrimmage and ten touchdowns, and I love his opportunity to make some big plays in this game.

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I've been a huge sports fan for as long as I can remember and I've always loved writing. In 2020, I joined the Lineups team, and I've been producing written and video content on football and basketball ever since. In May 2021, I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in sport management. My goal is to tell enthralling stories and provide meaningful insight on the sports I write about while helping you cash some bets along the way.

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