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Pop-Tarts Bowl Predictions | North Carolina State vs Kansas State

Last Updated: Dec 19, 2023

The No. 19 North Carolina State Wolfpack will meet the unranked Kansas State Wildcats at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida, for the first-ever Pop-Tarts Bowl on Thursday, December 28.

Formerly known as the Cheez-It Bowl, the Pop-Tarts Bowl will feature two strong offenses that helped their teams finish towards the top of both the ACC and Big 12, respectively.

This game could go either way, with both teams missing several key players as a result of students entering the transfer portal for the upcoming season.

Let’s look at the NCAAF odds for NC State vs Kansas State.

NC State vs Kansas State Odds

Track our latest CFB odds for Wolfpack vs Wildcats:

NCAAF lines used for North Carolina State @ Kansas State were current as of Dec. 18 at 2 p.m. ET on FanDuel Sportsbook.

  • Moneyline: Kansas State (-150) • NC State (+125)
  • Spread: Kansas State -3 (-110) • NC State +3 (-110)
  • Total Points: Over 47.5 (-110) • Under 47.5 (-110)

With still over a week until kick-off, there hasn’t been much movement from the book’s original 3.5-point spread.

While Kansas State has been arguably the better overall team this season, missing seven starters – including starting quarterback Will Howard – will be tough to overcome.

NC State vs Kansas State Prediction

SCORE PICK: NC State 31, Kansas State 24

I’m giving the Wolfpack the edge at the 2023 Pop-Tarts Bowl to win outright and finish the season with 10 wins for the first time since 2002.

“The early bird gets the worm,” as the saying goes. You can apply that same logic here when getting NC State as a three-point underdog before the public realizes how undermanned Kansas State truly is.

The Wildcats offense was undoubtedly one of the best in the country in terms of yards per game and touchdowns scored. We can only imagine that Chris Klieman’s offense will look drastically different with Howard, among several other starters, already ruled out.

True freshman Avery Johnson will get the nod at quarterback. The 19-year-old appeared in five games this season, throwing for 301 yards and three touchdowns.

Kansas State will likely have to depend on sophomore standout DJ Giddens to carry the load offensively. The 6’1” running back rushed for 1,075 yards and found the end zone nine times during the regular season.

Giddens is one of the few Kansas State skill players who started throughout the regular season and is expected to participate in this game.

On the other hand, North Carolina State heads into the Pop-Tarts Bowl after winning five straight games to finish the season. Additionally, head coach Dave Doeren has already released the depth chart for the upcoming contest, which features many familiar faces that helped lead the Wolfpack all year.

At the forefront is starting quarterback Brennan Armstrong. He dealt with injuries for several weeks during the season, but the senior managed to rack up 1,621 yards and 11 touchdowns.

The 24-year-old finished the season on a strong note, throwing for 334 yards and three touchdowns in a 39-20 victory over the University of North Carolina.

Overall, the inexperience that Kansas State will now have at quarterback will be a serious issue against a strong NC State defense.

The Wolfpack have not been as good offensively as Kansas State this year, but the unit was coming into its own towards the end of the season.

If the NC State defense can force the Wildcats into some mistakes, Johnson and the offense should have enough to pull off the upset.

NC State vs Kansas State Best Bets

NC State (+130)

DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 2 units

Getting NC State as underdogs will likely age well as we get closer to kick-off. These odds should change in favor of the Wolfpack after Kansas State releases its official depth chart.

How North Carolina State finished the regular season gives me a ton of confidence heading into the Pop-Tarts Bowl. This team has been itching for a 10-win season, and it has a chance to win six in a row and achieve that feat.

In the end, Kansas St. will not have the firepower to keep up with the Wolfpack.

Over 47 (-110)

DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 unit

Both of these squads are prone to getting into shootouts, and we could see a good amount of points scored.

Kansas State’s defense has not been nearly as strong as NC State’s, and that was particularly evident towards the end of the season. The Wildcats allowed 127 points to their opponents over the last four games of the season and easily surpassed the 47-point total we have here.

For NC State, some dominant defensive performances during the regular season on its part kept many of its games from surpassing this total. However, the offensive explosion by the Wolfpack towards the end of the season helped them surpass this total in the final two games easily.

The groove NC State found offensively will carry over, and the Wolfpack will do the brunt of the heavy lifting to surpass 47.

NC State vs Kansas State Same-Game Parlay

NC State vs Kansas State SGP (+323)

FanDuel Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 unit

  • NC State Over 22.5 (-111)
  • NC State (+125)
  • Over 49.5 (+114)

FanDuel Sportsbook is one of the few books with same-game-parlay options already available for this contest.

With limited selections to choose from, I used the logic discussed in our prediction to concoct a three-leg SGP with some relatively high odds.

Getting NC State at over 22.5 is great value given what we saw from this squad at the end of the regular season.

The Wolfpack surpassed this total in four of their last five contests, averaging 28.8 points per game during that span. On top of that, they will be up against a defense that allowed over 370 yards of offense per game to its opponents this season.

NC State putting up points is truly the key for this SGP, as a strong offensive output by the Wolfpack will likely result in all three legs cashing.

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