NC State vs Vanderbilt Independence Bowl Spread, Expert Pick & TV Info

Posted by Kenny Bell on Friday,December 23, 2016 9:30, EDT in

In around mid-November it wasn’t looking good for either NC State of the ACC or Vanderbilt of the SEC to make a bowl game, but both schools — really, the basketball programs are much better at each — did what needed to be done down the stretch to get bowl eligible and will meet in the Independence Bowl.

NC State vs Vanderbilt Independence Bowl Spread, Expert Pick & TV Info

When: Monday, Dec. 26, 5 PM ET
Where: Independence Stadium, Shreveport, La.
TV: ESPN2
Stream: WatchESPN
RadioNC State / Vanderbilt
Opening NCAA Football Lines: NC State -4.5 (44)

Why Bet on Vanderbilt?

Vanderbilt (6-6, 3-5) is led by third-year head coach Derek Mason, who is leading the Commodores to their first bowl appearance since the 2013 season. To close the season, Vandy had a 45-34 upset of then-No. 17 Tennessee at home. The win officially made the Commodores bowl eligible, and it knocked the Vols out of the Sugar Bowl hunt. Vandy’s previously struggling offense churned out a season-high 608 yards.

Junior running back Ralph Webb has been a stalwart for the Vanderbilt offense, finishing fourth in the SEC with 1,172 yards on 229 attempts, 12 of which went for touchdowns. Sophomore quarterback Kyle Shurmur exploded in the final two games of the season, throwing for a combined 689 yards and four touchdowns in victories against Ole Miss and Tennessee to reach bowl eligibility. On the season, he threw for 2,251 yards and nine touchdowns.

Against NC State, Shurmur figures to have opportunities to keep the hot hand going as the Wolfpack allowed opponents to throw for more than 280 yards on seven occasions this season. If Shurmur continues to throw the ball effectively down the field, Vanderbilt's entire offense suddenly becomes a well-rounded attack that’s tough to stop.

All season, the Commodores have been one of the nation’s most productive red zone teams – getting points out of nearly every offensive possession inside the 20-yard line. The Commodores rank No. 1 nationally in defensive red zone efficiency and No. 2 in offensive red zone conversions. Only one other team among the 128 FBS schools – BYU – ranks in the Top 10 in both statistical categories.

Why Bet on NC State?

North Carolina State (6-6) is led by fourth-year head coach Dave Doeren, who has led the Wolfpack to bowl games in three consecutive seasons. Four of the Wolfpack’s six losses came by seven points or fewer, including a 24-17 overtime loss at then-No. 3Clemson and a 24-20 loss to then-No. 24 Florida State.

The Wolfpack are led offensively by senior running back Matthew Dayes, who carried the ball 240 times for 1,119 yards and 10 touchdowns, while finishing fourth on the team with 31 receptions for 258 yards. His rushing yardage total was third in the ACC, leading to his selection as second-team All-ACC. Sophomore quarterback Ryan Finley completed 224 of 372 passes on the season for 2,824 yards and 15 touchdowns. The Wolfpack rank 89th nationally in goal-to- go efficiency, 83rd in red-zone efficiency and a woeful 121st in field goal percentage.

Defensive end Bradley Chubb anchors a line that is among the most underrated groups in college football. Chubb racked up 20.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks this season, establishing himself as one of the ACC’s best edge rushers.

The Wolfpack were among the nation’s best against the run this season, ranking fifth in rush defense by allowing just 104.7 yards per game on the ground. it held four ACC opponents (Florida State, Notre Dame, Syracuse and Wake Forest) to 70 or fewer yards on the ground. While the Commodores’ passing game came alive late in the season, Vanderbilt remains a run-first attack. Vanderbilt had 114 more attempts rushing than passing this season

NC State vs Vanderbilt Independence Bowl Expert Pick: NC State Wolfpack

Wolfpack are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 non-conference games.
Under is 18-6- 2 in Commodores last 26 games overall.

Go NC State and under on NCAA Football odds.