Since they joined the ACC a few seasons ago, the Louisville Cardinals are 3-0 straight up and 2-1 against the spread in three meetings with the North Carolina State Wolf Pack, including a blowout victory/cover last season. The Cardinals are short road favorites for their fight with a hungry Wolfpack on Thursday night in Raleigh.
College football point spread: The Cardinals opened as 3.5-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)
College football betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 35.6-32.4 Cardinals (College football picks on every game)
Why the Louisville Cardinals can cover the spread
Since suffering that loss to Clemson three weeks ago, Louisville is 2-0, with a pair of easy victories. Two weeks ago, the Cardinals crunched Kent State 42-3, and last week they mauled Murray State 55-10. Unfortunately for its financial backers, Louisville couldn't cover the spreads on those two games because they were favored by so much—42 and 49 points.
The Cardinals jumped out to a 21-0 lead on the Racers, bumped that to 35-3 by halftime and never let up, even tacking on one last touchdown with under a minute to go. But a Louisville fumble on the first play of the third quarter that was returned for a Murray State touchdown proved the difference in who took home the cash.
The Cardinals outgained the Racers by the ridiculous margin of 676-80. Quarterback Lamar Jackson, as usual, led the way, throwing for 249 yards and three touchdowns while running for 100 yards and another score in just over one half of play. Meanwhile, the Louisville defense held Murray State to just 1.9 yards per play.
The Cardinals have now outgained and outrushed four of their five opponents this season.
Why the NC State Wolfpack can cover the spread
Since opening its season with a tough loss to South Carolina, the Wolfpack are 4-0, including a 33-25 decision over Syracuse last week. North Carolina State led 13-0 after one quarter and later had the 14-point spread covered at 33-17. But they gave up an Orange touchdown with just under five minutes to go, then ran out the clock and missed out on the cash.
For the day, the Wolfpack outrushed Syracuse 256-59, held the ball for over 36 minutes and, for the fourth game in a row, did not commit a turnover.
North Carolina State has now outgained four of its five opponents this season and outrushed all of them by a per-game margin of 169-86.
The Wolfpack showed character by avoiding a letdown last week, following their victory over Florida State. They already own one key ACC victory, and they think this might be their year. Yes, Jackson can be a handful, but the smart bet here plays the home dog, and they might not even need the points on the college football point spreads.
College football betting trends
The total has gone under in seven of North Carolina State's last eight games on a Thursday.
North Carolina State is 3-9 ATS in its last 12 games at home against teams with winning records.
The total has gone over in seven of Louisville's last nine games on the road.
All college football odds and betting trends courtesy of Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, OddsShark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line-movement updates and the OddsShark YouTube page for picks and analysis, or download the free odds tracker app.