TaxSlayer Gator Bowl Prediction
The N.C. State Wolfpack will look to finish their season on a high note when they take on Kentucky in Saturday’s TaxSlayer Gator Bowl at 12:00 p.m. ET. Will the Wolfpack pull off the small upset or are the Wildcats the better play laying only 2.5 points this afternoon in Jacksonville?
492 N.C. State Wolfpack (+2.5) vs. 491 Kentucky Wildcats (-2.5); o/u 49.5
TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville, FL
12:00 p.m. ET, Saturday, January 2, 2021
N.C. State Wolfpack Game Notes
NC State redshirt junior QB Bailey Hockman completed 23-of-36 passes for 309 yards in Saturday's 23-13 win over Georgia Tech. Hockman (6'2/200) may not have throw a touchdown pass Saturday afternoon, but he also managed to avoid turning the ball over as the Wolfpack moved to 8-3 on the season. The redshirt junior, given a second chance to start after Devin Leary was lost for the season due to injury, accounted for seven touchdown passes and three interceptions in NC State's last four games (all wins). It remains to be seen if the Wolfpack will get to play in a bowl game, and if this is the end of the 2020 season then Hockman managed to go out on a positive note.
Kentucky Wildcats Game Notes
Kentucky has fired OC Eddie Gran as well as co-OC and QB coach Darin Hinshaw. In early 2019, Gran signed an extension with the Wildcats to keep him on staff for three more seasons. That deal also gave him a raise of about $25,000 per year. Later that year, after the season, Gran was in the running for a couple of smaller HC jobs, such as the FAU opening. He ultimately did not take any of them, but that he was in the running meant something. Now, just one year later, Gran is out at Kentucky following their weak 4-6 season. The offense struggled to find its footing without QB Lynn Bowden this season, which helps make sense of why the team opted to move on from Gran. Co-OC and QB coach Darin Hinshaw will also be relieved of his duties.
N.C. State vs. Kentucky Betting Prediction
The Wildcats are a perfect 7-0 against the spread in their last seven non-conference games and have covered in nine of their last 13 games when favored. They’re also 15-5-1 at the betting window in their last 21 games when facing an opponent with a winning record and are 9-3 against the spread in their last 12 games coming off a win.
On the other side, the Wolfpack are just 4-10 against the spread in their last 14 games as an underdog, are 4-13 against the number in their last 17 games following a win and have failed to cover in four of their last five neutral site games as an underdog. They’re 1-7 at the betting window in their last eight games versus SEC opponents and are winless at 0-4 ATS in their last four non-conference games as well.
TAXSLAYER GATOR BOWL PREDICTION: KENTUCKY WILDCATS -2.5