Free College Football Picks: NC State at North Carolina

North Carolina State Wolfpack at North Carolina Tar Heels
Saturday, 11/20/10, 12:00 PM EDT, TV:  ESPN3
Opening Point Spread:  North Carolina -2
Current Betting Line:  North Carolina -2.5
Opening Total:  52.5
Current Total:  53
Current Moneyline:  North Carolina -140 / NC State +120

The North Carolina Tar Heels defense must get up for the challenge of facing the No. 2 offense in the ACC

North Carolina State is set to travel to Kenan Stadium to take on the Tar Heels for the 100th time in a rivalry that started back in 1894.  The Wolfpack have won the last three meetings, but still trail 30-63-6 overall, including a 17-34-2 mark in Chapel Hill.  Of the Wolfpack’s six wins in the last 10 years, four have been decided by double-figures, with the largest margins coming in games played at today’s venue.  The team controls its own destiny for the ACC’s Atlantic Division crown and will play in the conference title game in Charlotte if it can win against its rival and at Maryland on Thanksgiving weekend.  NC State is 5-1 ATS versus conference opponents this year and 16-6 ATS over the last three years.  The college football lines page has them as a surprising underdog.

The Wolfpack are led by junior quarterback Russell Wilson, who is making a strong case for ACC Player of the year honors.  He currently leads the league in passing with 281.3 yards per game, 25.9 yards per game more than any other league quarterback.  Wilson has also thrown for 22 touchdown passes, which is four more than Virginia Tech’s Tyrod Taylor to lead the conference.  Head coach Tom O’Brien has maintained a disciplined team throughout the year, leading the ACC in fewest yards penalized per game this season, averaging just 36.3 yards a contest.

North Carolina will be playing its last home game of the season and is coming off a disappointing 26-10 loss to No. 16 Virginia Tech.  “You turn the ball over six times and don’t create any yourself, it’s almost impossible to win a game,” said head coach Butch Davis.  With the loss, the Tar Heels saw their division title hopes erased, but will be focused on doing similar damage to their rivals on Saturday.  The team can also assure itself a winning record for the third consecutive season with a win, something that hasn’t been accomplished in the program since notching nine straight winning seasons from 1990-98.  North Carolina is 10-10 ATS as a favorite the past three years.

The Tar Heels will be saluting 17 seniors on Saturday afternoon, a group that actually includes 12 fifth-year players.  Over the last four years, those 17 players have turned around the fortunes of the football program.  “I don’t think you ever have to worry about in a rivalry game that there’s an emotional factor.  I think the kids get up for it,” said Davis.  North Carolina’s defense will have to be up to the task from the start, ranking eighth in the conference in total defense, going against a unit that is second offensively by gaining 417.1 yards per game.

Bettors will likely play the Wolfpack due to their 20-8-1 ATS mark as an underdog, while the Tar Heels are 7-1 ATS in their last eight games following a double-digit loss at home.

The college football handicappers at Maddux Sports are releasing a 20-Unit Game of the Year on Saturday – something you won’t want to miss!

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