On Friday (9/29/23), Louisville faces NC State in an ACC showdown. Find a full preview of the game along with Louisville Vs. NC State best bets and game predictions.
Louisville Vs. NC State Prediction & Best Bet
There were high hopes for the NC State offense this season as quarterback Brennan Armstrong and offensive coordinator Robert Anae reunited. After all, Armstrong threw for over 4,400 yards and 31 touchdowns in 2021 under Anae’s direction while at Virginia.
However, Armstrong has just 859 passing yards through four games and has five touchdowns to four interceptions. His 6.3 yards per attempt ranks 10th-worst in the Power Five while NC State has hardly generated any big plays – they rank 128th in offensive explosiveness.
Last week’s game for NC State was particularly concerning as the Wolfpack had a 19th percentile EPA per dropback rate against a horrid Virginia defense. Armstrong completed just 48.4% of his passes against a defense that ranks outside the top 100 in pass defense EPA and success rate.
Meanwhile, the Jeff Brohm era at Louisville is off to a pristine 4-0 start. Jack Plummer has thrown ten touchdowns to just four interceptions, and his 11.3 yards per attempt and 9.3% big-time throw rate rank top five in the Power Five per PFF. Running back Jawhar Jordan has also been excellent, rushing at a 9.6 YPC clip, the best rate in the Power Five.
Louisville is coming off a 56-28 shellacking of Boston College. The Cardinals’ offense was firing on all cylinders as they finished in the 99th percentile in EPA per play. They also generated 10 explosive plays with an absurd 17% explosive play rate.
NC State has a better defense than Boston College, but Louisville’s offense will give them all they can handle. More importantly, I expect Armstrong’s struggles to continue against a defense that ranks top 50 in EPA and success rate allowed. Give me Louisville with the points.
Louisville Vs. NC State Prediction & Best Bet: Louisville -3
Louisville Vs. NC State Betting Odds
Louisville is a 3-point road favorite here with a total of 55.5 points at the time I’m writing this. Both numbers are very key in college football. In fact, 3 is the most common margin of victory while 55 is the most common total number of points scored. Keep that in mind when placing wagers on this game.
Louisville Vs. NC State Key Matchups
In this ACC matchup, these teams will be reliant on their offenses to find success against defenses with playmaking talent. Here, I’ll break down two of the most important matchups in this primetime game.
Brennan Armstrong Vs. Louisville’s Secondary
Will Brennan Armstrong ever be the player NC State thought they were getting in the transfer portal? The early results say no as he’s completed a measly 59.6% of his passes. It’s not totally his fault – his receivers have dropped a whopping 11% of his passes – but it’s clear that the Virginia magic with Armstrong and Anae hasn’t followed them to NC State.
Louisville ranks 58th in passing success rate allowed this season. Corners Jarvis Brownlee Jr. and Quincy Riley each have three pass breakups while edge rusher Ashton Gillotte has also been dominant with 25 pressures per PFF, the most in the FBS. This doesn’t profile as a great get-right opportunity for Armstrong.
Virginia can consider themselves unlucky in this one – they pushed NC State close!pic.twitter.com/wc0evx87I4
— Simon Carroll (@NFLDraftSi) September 23, 2023
Jawhar Jordan Vs. NC State’s Run Defense
Louisville’s offense has been built on the back of a tremendous run game. The Cardinals rank 22nd in PFF run-blocking grades and have sprung plenty of lanes for the dynamic Jawhar Jordan. Louisville ranks in the top 30 in rushing EPA and success rate, and his eight runs of 15+ yards are tied for the third-most in the Power Five.
NC State’s run defense has mostly held up, but a major red flag emerges when you find that they rank 121st in standard down explosiveness allowed. If Louisville can generate explosiveness on the ground and make life easier for Plummer on the road, it will be a long night for the NC State defense.
Louisville RB Jawhar Jordan (@JaJo_25) is one of the most explosive and productive backs in the nation. He leads all FBS backs with 9.56 yards per carry and accelerated to 18.2 mph. #ReelSpeed @CoachCBarclay
— Reel Analytics (@RAanalytics) September 25, 2023