NCAA Football Odds, Picks: N.C. State Wolfpack at (3) Clemson Tigers

Deshaun Watson and the 6-0 Clemson Tigers enter Week 7 as 17.5 point favorites.
Deshaun Watson and the 6-0 Clemson Tigers enter Week 7 as 17.5 point favorites.

NC St-(3) Clemson
Spread: CLEM -17.5
M/L: CLE -900; NCST +600
Total: 61

Betting odds c/o 5dimes

The Clemson Tigers improved to 6-0 last week with a 56-10 victory over Boston College in Week 6. The Tigers are ranked No. 3 nationally and find themselves 17.5 point favorites at home against N.C. State. The game is scheduled to air at Noon (ET) on ABC, and the over/under is generously set at 61 for the game.

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Clemson has been riding brilliance of Heisman candidate Deshaun Watson. He has 1,572 yards on the season, completing 60.7 percent of his passes at a 7.63 yard per attempt average. Watson has 18 TD passes and seven interceptions and a passer rating of 146.8, and he has rushed for the second-most yards on the team at 244 on 58 attempts. Watson threw 15 of 25 for 270 yards last week with four TD passes and 33 rushing yards in the big win over BC.

Watson has completed 60 percent or better of his passes the last four weeks, but he did throw three interceptions in the 42-36 win over Louisville in Week 5. The Tigers still have strong momentum after disposing of a tough Cardinals team.

Next week, Clemson faces No. 14 FSU but it has no other big tests following that this season. The chance will be there to be undefeated, and this week hardly represents a huge test in that regard, though the Wolfpack cannot be entirely underestimated.

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NC State is 4-1 after defeating William and Mary, Old Dominion, Wake Forest and Notre Dame. Week 2 was a 33-30 loss to East Carolina. The 10-3 victory over the Fighting Irish is a big win of sorts, notwithstanding that Notre Dame is struggling very badly this season. The Wolfpack held Notre Dame to just 113 total yards as the Irish averaged just 1.6 yards per carry on 36 attempts with not a single TD scored in the game. The Wolfpack were not offensively dominant in their own right, but 157 rushing yards, 126 coming from Matthew Dayes, were enough to get the Wolfpack in range, and a 16-yard punt return from Dexter Wright provided the lone TD for NC State.

The Wolfpack have the No. 15 defense in the nation, allowing just 17.6 points per game while scoring 34 points per game itself (tied for No. 46). NC State is a good balanced offensive team with 245.8 passing yards per game (No. 55) and 197.8 via the rush (No. 45).

This game will likely be closer than some expect, and though Clemson is more than two-TD favorites, the line may trend closer to that exact mark with NC State falling shy in the range of 10 to 14 points as Watson finds a way to exploit even a pretty tough Wolfpack defense.

NC State has done a good job defensively against mediocre opponents, but a tough Clemson team presents a challenge it has not faced yet nor is it likely ready for it. Clemson also enjoys home field advantage and the Wolfpack lost its only road game this season to East Carolina in Week 2.

Ryan Finley has done a good job at quarterback for the Wolfpack. He has 1,041 yards with a 69.5 percent completion ratio while averaging 8.13 yards per attempt. Finley has thrown nine TD passes with no interceptions and boasts a passer rating of 161.1.

His top target Stephen Louis has 328 yards on just 13 catches with a long 80-yard TD pass among those and a 25.2 yard per attempt average. Jaylen Samuels leads the team in total receptions with 21 and is second in yardage with 191 yards and four touchdowns.

Matthew Dayes is the big workhorse in the backfield with 98 carries this season already and 563 yards. He has three rushing TDs and averages 5.7 yards per carry. NC State should be able to get some points on the board this week, but overall Clemson just outclasses them at too many key positions, even the QB position and NC State has a very good one.

Watson is going to be too much for the Wolfpack defensive playmakers, but again this game is unlikely to be any sort of blowout given the fact that NC State has its own weapons to hang points on the board with.

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