The 23rd-ranked NC State Wolfpack and the Kentucky Wildcats are in for a showdown at the 2021 TaxSlayer Gator Bowl. The game will be held at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Fla., on Saturday, starting at noon ET. ESPN will provide the telecast. Get your 2021 off on a good note by doing some online betting on this contest.
Gator Bowl Betting Preview
NC State Wolfpack
The NC State Wolfpack have undergone a few roster changes. Quarterback Devin Leary suffered a broken fibula, so Bailey Hockman has stepped into the starting role.
Hockman has performed well, as the team is on a four-game winning streak heading into this matchup. Hockman has thrown for 1,820 yards, 12 touchdowns, and eight interceptions.
The Wolfpack are 8-3, while betting opportunities show them at 6-3 against the spread in their previous nine games. They have also gone over the total 10 times out of their previous 15 games.
NC State averages 129.1 rushing yards a game, led by a pair of solid running backs in Zonovan Knight and Ricky Person. The workload is evenly split, as Knight has 736 total yards with nine touchdowns and Person has 635 total yards and four touchdowns.
The Wolfpack average 31.1 points per game while allowing 29.7. This, unfortunately, does not leave a lot of room for error, so they will need to defend a lot better for this matchup.
The Kentucky Wildcats’ schedule has primarily remained in the SEC, as they went 4-6. Looking at the college football odds, the Wildcats’ record has been roughly the same at 4-5-1 against the spread and 4-6 under for the total.
The Wildcats’ recent play is difficult to go by alone, as they have gone 2-3 in their last five games. Their most recent game was against the South Carolina Gamecocks, in which the Wildcats were able to win 41-18.
Kentucky is below where it wants to be offensively, sitting 107th in the nation for total scoring offense at 21.7 points per game. On defense, the Wildcats rank 47th for points and yards allowed allowing 26.4 points per game.
When you combine those stats together, you do not get a nicely painted picture. In fact, the last time Kentucky coach Mark Stoops had a rough losing season was back in 2015, but this season arguably could have been different without the COVID-19 issues and injuries.
The Wildcats put together a decent running game with running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. He led the team with 701 rushing yards, averaging 6.9 yards per attempt, and nine total touchdowns.
Quarterback Terry Wilson has thrown for 1,095 yards, seven touchdowns, and four interceptions.
Gator Bowl Betting Odds
The market has this one at a coin flip. BetUS Sportsbook has the spread currently placed at:
- NC State: +2.5 (-110)
- Kentucky: -2.5 (-110)
* odds are subject to change
Gator Bowl Betting Prediction
NC State looks more appealing the longer you look at it. Based on its performances, you can see the Wolfpack arguably have had a lot of time to get back on track after their previous starting quarterback was injured.
Kentucky has had issues defending and scoring. In addition, they are also experiencing offensive coaching staff changes.
What could be more confusing for the offense right now than to do something different the last few games of the season? Kentucky will be using this game to get ready for next season, but not in the sense of motivation.
The Wildcats will be looking to establish the groundwork for their team and coaching staff. NC State, on the other hand, wants to finish the year off strong, and it will do so here by beating the college football odds with a win.