Gator Bowl Picks: Kentucky vs NC State 1/2/21 College Football Picks, Odds, Predictions

Gator Bowl Picks: Kentucky vs NC State 1/2/21 College Football Picks, Odds, Predictions Photo by Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

NC State Wolfpack (8-3) at Kentucky Wildcats (4-6)

College Football: Saturday, January 2, 2021 at 12:00 pm (TIAA Bank Field)

The Line: Kentucky Wildcats -2.5 -- Over/Under: 51.5 Click to Get Latest Betting Odds

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The Kentucky Wildcats face off with the NC State Wolfpack in college football's Gator Bowl from TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville.

The NC State Wolfpack come into this game off of a highly successful 2020 season that saw the Wolfpack finish at 8-3 overall including 7-3 in conference play, tied for 4th in the ACC standings at the end of the regular season. Bailey Hockman has thrown for 1,820 yards 12 touchdowns and 5 picks on 63.7% passing while Zonovan Knight leads NC State on the ground with 736 rushing yards and 9 TDs and Ricky Person Jr. has 635 rushing yards and 4 scores as well. Emeka Emezie leads NC State’s receiving group with 42 grabs for 694 yards and 5 scores while Thayer Thomas, Devin Carter and Cary Angeline each have 400+ receiving yards with Thomas and Angeline each logging 6 receiving touchdowns on the year. On defense, Payton Wilson leads NC State with 108 total tackles including 57 solo tackles as well as 3.5 sacks and a pair of interceptions while Daniel Joseph has a team-high 6.5 sacks and Terrell Dawkins has 4.5 sacks this season.

The Kentucky Wildcats will look to finish the season on a high note after ending the year with a record of 4-6, sitting 4th in the SEC East at the end of the regular season. Terry Wilson has thrown for 1,095 yards, 7 touchdowns and 4 INTs on 62.6% passing while also rushing for 410 yards and 5 scores. Chris Rodriguez Jr. leads Kentucky in rushing with 701 rushing yards and 9 TDs while Asim Rose Jr. has 518 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns. Josh Ali leads Kentucky’s receiving group with 49 catches for 462 receiving yards while Keaton Upshaw, Justin Rigg and Allen Dailey Jr. each had 100+ receiving yards for the Wildcats on the year. On defense, Jamin Davis leads the Wildcats with 89 total tackles including 43 solo tackles while Jamar Watson has a team-high 5 sacks and Kelvin Joseph leads the Wildcats with 4 interceptions.

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NC State is 7-3-1 ATS in their last 11 bowl games and 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games against the SEC while the over is 6-0 in their last 6 games as an underdog. Kentucky is 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games as a favorite and 15-5-1 ATS in their last 21 games against a team with a winning record while the over is 9-4 in their last 13 games following a win.

To be honest, I’m not sure where this line is coming from. The Kentucky offense had flashes where they could move the ball, but nothing consistent and while the Kentucky defense was alright, NC State was far better offensively and not far off from Kentucky on the defensive end as well. I just think that we’re getting the better team with free points, and that’s never a bad thing so give me NC State and the points in a game I see the Wolfpack winning outright.

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Chris’s Pick NC State +2.5

The pick in this article is the opinion of the writer, not a Sports Chat Place site consensus.

Mitch's Take...

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