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Gridiron Players Club (9/29/23)

(1 Pick)


7:00PM EST: NC State +3.5 (5 Units)

This has overrated and underrated all over it. Louisville's off to an impressive 4-0 start under HC Jeff Brohm in his first season and NC State's underwhelmed despite a 3-1 start. Louisville just hasn't played anyone yet. Handling Boston College and beating Indiana and Georgia Tech by 1 score doesn't say much. Boston College is a terrible football team. They battled FSU at Home because there were near 30MPH winds from Hurricane Lee. Georgia Tech will finish in the bottom half of the ACC and Indiana in the bottom half of the Big 10.

The Wolfpack is 0-4 against the spread. That's going to give eventually but it's the offense that's been uninspiring. At face value last weeks 24-21 win over an 0-3 Virginia team is ugly. The game was at least played in Virginia. The offense struggled but there's a ton a familiarity there. NC State QB Brennan Armstrong spent his first 5 seasons in Virginia and started for the last 3. NC State Offensive Coordinator Robert Anae was also the OC there from 2016-2021. Both Armstrong and Anae lead the way when UVA ranked 3rd in total yards per game in College Football in 2021. To say Virginia knew all about the NC State offense is an understatement. Their defense allowed just 2 touchdowns and 2 field goals in that game.

That Notre Dame final score is also misleading. We had NC State that game and lost 45-24. If you recall there was a near 2 hour long lightning delay and the first play out of the break the Irish busted an 80 yard touchdown run. They had two 3 and outs and a FG drive leading up to that. NC State also lost half their fans during that delay. Just sucked the life out of the stadium.

That was a tight game up until it wasn't in the 4th. NC State came away with a big sack fumble to give them the ball on Notre Dame's 17 yard line down 24-17 with 2 minutes to go in the 3rd. They went on to miss a 34 yard field goal. Held ND to a 3 and out. Then threw a pick on each of the following drives. Setting up ND with easy touchdown drives starting on the Wolf Packs 33 and 16 yard line. Just like that the game was over. Their defense played much better than the stats show and that's a very, very good Notre Dame team. They also had 4 sacks against the best offensive line they'll play this year.

Their offense did score more points on the fighting Irish than Ohio State did. Not that they're better but they're a capable unit. Just costly mistakes and penalties that kill drives. This NC State offense is going to put it together and play a clean game of football at some point and this is a good spot for it. Brennan Armstrong is a 4 year starter and led one of the best passing attacks in the Nation a couple years ago with Robert Anae calling plays. Anae himself has a lengthy history of success outside of his years with Armstrong. This is a very experienced group where it matters most. And it's not like they're going up against a Georgia defense tonight. They've already faced the toughest defense they're going to see this year in Notre Dame.

Louisville's defense is nothing special and they're getting them at Home. The Cardinals allowed 28 points to Boston College and 34 to Georgia Tech. They held Indiana to 14 but that offense is terrible. Other than that they blew out FCS opponent Murray State. They've also only played 1 true road game this season.

The Cardinals defense was surprisingly good in 2022 but that was under Defensive Coordinator Bryan Brown. He's now coaching for Cincinnati and 7 of their most productive defensive players left to pursue NFL careers and a couple others transferred. They returned just 50% of their defensive production from last year and have a whole new scheme in place. Switching from an attacking 3-4 to a more traditional 4 man front. They lost 28.5 of their 49 sacks from last season. They have just 5 sacks through 4 games this year. They also lost their starting Safety MJ Griffin to a season ending injury right before the season. So far this season they're allowing 424 yards per game to FBS opponents. That ranks 100th out of 132 FBS programs.

Louisville's just in for it's first true test and road game. Going into Georgia Tech to face a team that hasn't had a winning season since 2018 doesn't really count. They still struggled in that game too, going down 28-13 at the Half but pulled off a nice 2nd half comeback. Their defense allowed 488 yards of total offense, 313 passing and 175 rushing.

NC State is 34-8 at Home since the 2017 season and 14-2 the last 3 seasons. This is a Friday Night Nationally televised game at Primetime. Don't have to worry about Fans filling in late. This is going to be a packed house and this is one of the toughest places to play in the ACC. NC State was the #1 ranked defense in the ACC last year and allowed 17.3 points per game at Home. In 2021 they allowed 18 points per game at Home.

Louisville's also been careless with the Football. QB Jack Plummer's already thrown 4 interceptions and the Cardinals have fumbled it 5 times. Luckily for them they haven't lost a fumble yet but that wont last. The Wolf Pack had 22 takeaways last season and have 5 this season, 4 of which have been interceptions. Communication is going to be an issue for the Louisville offense and it's a brand new offense this year. Their new look defense won't have the crowd supporting them either.

Home Underdog at Prime Time in one of the toughest stadiums to go into in the ACC. Public Money is absolutely pouring in on Louisville and the Sportsbooks are letting it happen too. Over 70% of Tickets and $$$ are on Louisville. Great spot here.

Follow the Units. We don't release 5 Unit plays too often but it's only 1 Unit stronger than a 4. Stick to the Units. They're there for a reason.

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