NC State vs. Texas A&M Gator Bowl Total Pick
NC State Wolfpack (9-3 SU, 6-6 ATS) vs. No. 19 Texas A&M Aggies (8-4 SU, 8-4 ATS)
TaxSlayer Gator Bowl Preview
Date/Time: Monday December 31st, 2018. 7:30PM (EST)
Where: TIAA Bank Field Jacksonville, F.L.
Point Spread:NCSU +6/A&M -6
Over/Under Total: 58.5
The final game of the 2018 calendar year will take place in Jacksonville, Florida when the NC State Wolfpack and the no. 19 Texas A&M Aggies collide at TIAA Field in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl. For both the Wolfpack and the Aggies, it has been a successful season for both programs. At 9-3 SU, the Wolfpack are seeking their 3rd straight bowl victory and have the opportunity to reach 10 wins for the first time since 2002. For the Aggies, things have been promising for Jimbo Fisher’s debut in College Station as the Aggies have remained competitive in the SEC West and possibly surpassed most expectations for 2018. Both teams will have the opportunity to build on their successful 2018 campaigns and capture a prestigious Gator Bowl victory on December 31st.
Aggies looking to build off LSU victory
A few weeks have passed since the regular season concluded and perhaps people have already forgotten about the absolute thrilling season finale between the Aggies and no. 7 LSU Tigers that produced 7 overtime sessions tying an NCAA record for the longest game in history. The Aggies not only pulled out the exhausting victory but they accomplished a huge feat by toppling one of the SEC’s elite teams. In many ways, it was the perfect conclusion to Fisher’s first season at the helm and tied the highest win total since the early years of the Kevin Sumlin era. Sure they are some missing pieces for Fisher to figure out and some much needed recruiting classes before the Aggies will contend with the likes of Alabama and Georgia. Still another big win over the Wolfpack on the heels of the awakening victory against LSU could expedite the entire process.
Wolfpack still looking for signature win in 2018
On paper, the 9-3 SU record looks great and the fact the Wolfpack could secure their 3rd straight postseason victory is an equally admirable accomplishment under Head Coach Dave Doeren. However, when we break down this 2018 season, the Wolfpack are still missing that signature or even quality victory. NC State had a pretty easy schedule this season, and they were favorites in 11 of 12 games. In their first biggest challenge against Clemson as 18 point underdogs, the Wolfpack were blown out 41-7. The next week at Syracuse, the Wolfpack suffered another loss as slight favorites and two weeks afterward succumbed to Wake Forest despite being nearly 20 point favorites.
All in all, the Wolfpack won the games they were supposed to, lost the game against Syracuse that was a toss-up, and suffered another big upset loss. Therefore when we look back at this 2018 season, will it be a product of a soft ACC schedule or can the Wolfpack end the year with an upset victory over the Aggies? Under Doeren, the Wolfpack are just 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games as underdogs. The positive news is that the Wolfpack have the talent to contend in this football game. In a lot of postseason bowl match-ups, you will see significant mismatches in terms of ability. This will not be the case for NC State against the Aggies.
NC State WR Kelvin Harmon to sit out of Gator Bowl
One of the biggest proponents for liking NC State in this match-up is because they have a ton of talent on the offensive side of the football. However, the offense will lose a key proponent to their offense as leading WR Kelvin Harmon has elected to sit out of the Gator Bowl and forego his senior season for the NFL Draft. Losing a player like Harmon will definitely have an impact, but the Wolfpack may be able to survive. Quarterback Ryan Finley is a seasoned veteran with high efficiency and effectiveness. Running back Reggie Gallaspy II is a 1,000-yard rusher, and the offense also has another 1,000-yard receiver in Jakobi Meyers. Therefore, there is enough firepower in the Wolfpack offense to challenge the Aggies and keep things competitive.
Gator Bowl - Keys to victory
Both defenses are pretty similar in their characteristics. NC State has boasted a strong defensive line for several years that remains the anchor of the defense. The Wolfpack have allowed just 109 yards on average against the run this season which ranks 13th in the FBS. The Aggies have been even better against the run yielding just 92 yards per game as one of the nation’s best “run” defenses. However, the Aggies troubles as seen in previous year’s remains in the secondary which will go against a really solid quarterback in Ryan Finley. On the other side of the ball, the Aggies will attempt to attack the weak part of NC State’s defense in the secondary with quarterback Kellen Mond. The problem is Mond is not nearly as efficient throwing the football, and that could lead to struggles for this A&M offense. Despite the match-up, Texas A&M running back Trayveon Williams remains the key asset to the offense. The Aggies are going to run the football but how much success will they have against this stout defensive line? I think it is going to be an uphill battle for both of the offenses making a couple of big plays or turnovers potential game changers.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I like the under 58.5 in this game. I don’t see the possibility of enough big plays to push this over the mark for the offenses. Take the under with confidence and guys if you don’t have a sports betting account there is no better time to sign up at Intertops where you can deposit $200 and get $100 free to bet!