Bowl Week includes what many fans and gamblers consider to be a mismatch between an Atlantic Coast Conference also-ran versus a Southeastern Conference team that is considered to be a “team of the future.” The North Carolina State Wolfpack have one of the most prolific passing attacks in the land with quarterback Ryan Finley but it was not enough for them to come close to Clemson as the top team in the ACC. The Texas A&M Aggies went through a culture change under first year head coach Jimbo Fisher. Not only are the Aggies tougher mentally but elite help is on the way with one of the top ranked recruiting classes in the nation signed up last week.
Kickoff for the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl is set for Monday, December 31, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. ET at TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville, Florida. TV coverage is on ESPN.
NCAA Football Betting at BookMaker.eu
North Carolina State +7
Texas A&M -7
Live Betting Odds Analysis
Texas A&M garnered a lot of betting attention with their noticeable improvement under Fisher this year. Additionally, NC State is simply not a team that the public gravitates towards. The Wolfpack is seen as mediocre by the masses, even though the reality does not match that impression.
Flying with Finley
The North Carolina State Wolfpack have a record of 9-3 straight up and 6-6 against the spread with a 6-6 mark on totals. The Pack finished third in the ACC Atlantic behind Clemson and Syracuse. Head coach Dave Doeren took over the program in 2013 and has led the Wolfpack to its fifth consecutive bowl. NC State was ranked as high as 16th in the nation this season. And they closed strong with three consecutive wins and two payouts in that span.
Jumbo Expectations with Jimbo
Jimbo Fisher arrived at College Station, Texas from the Florida State Seminoles where he won the 2013 national championship. Fisher has proven to be a recruiting machine, not to mention a much tougher disciplinarian than predecessor Kevin Sumlin. Texas A&M finished 8-4 both straight up and against the spread with a 6-6 mark on totals. The Aggies also won their final three games with two payouts in that streak. Perhaps the Aggies best game was the one they lost to Clemson 28-26 in week two as 12-point home dogs. That close call gave A&M instant credibility and respect as a team that could threaten the very best in the land.
Texas A&M finished 19th in the nation for total offense and 26th for points scored. Defensively the Aggies were solid and much improved with a national ranking of 34th.
NC State ranked 16th in the nation for total offense and 22nd for scoring. The Wolfpack ranked 37th in the country for points allowed.
Players to Watch
Quarterback Ryan Finley is the trigger man for the nation’s sixth ranked passing attack. Finley threw for 3789 yards and 24 touchdowns on the season with 8.54 yards per attempt and a 151.9 quarterback rating. Keeping defenses on their toes was running back Reggie Gallaspy II with 1012 yards rushing, 4.7 yards per carry and 18 touchdowns. Jakobi Meyers caught 89 passes good for 11.6 yards per catch and four TD’s. Top receiver Kelvin Harmon will not suit up for the Wolfpack.
Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond threw for 2967 yards passing with 23 touchdowns and just eight interceptions. Running back Trayveon Williams gave fans a taste of Fisher’s power offense with 1524 yards rushing, 6.0 yards per carry and 15 touchdowns. Tight end Jace Sternberger had 804 yards receiving with 10 TD’s.
Free Live Betting ATS Pick
NC State is a better than expected value here as the public is ignoring many of their attributes for this game. The Aggies are improved but a potential overlay here.
NCAA Football Odds: North Carolina State Wolfpack
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