Notre Dame vs North Carolina St: Irish Levels Up!

Notre Dame QB Sam Hartman climbs Heisman board with strong start

After back-to-back blowout victories for No. 13 Notre Dame, the Fighting Irish’s schedule picks up in intensity this weekend. Up next is the first legitimate road test of the season for Marcus Freeman and Co., with a trip to North Carolina St. The Wolfpack are coming off a 10-point victory at UConn.

Notre Dame is a 7.5-point favorite (-110) and -340 to win outright, while North Carolina St. is +275. The projected total is 50 (-110). Read on as we break down both teams and dissect the odds in our Notre Dame vs North Carolina State preview.

🏈 Fighting Irish at Wolfpack 🏈

Day/Time:
Location: Carter-Finley Stadium; Raleigh, N.C.
Streaming: ABC

It’s Been a Breeze for Fighting Irish

So far, so good for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, who have strung together blowout victories over Navy and FCS product Tennessee State. The Fighting Irish clobbered both schools by a combined 98-6, easily covering the spread each time.

Wake Forest transfer Sam Hartman has been as good as advertised, completing 33-of-40 passes for 445 yards, six touchdowns and zero interceptions. Hartman’s currently +1400 to win the Heisman Trophy, matching Oregon quarterback Bo Nix and Clemson quarterback Cade Klubnik for the fourth-best odds on the board. But the 13th-ranked Fighting Irish have also gotten 211 yards on the ground (7.3 yards per carry) from Audric Estime.

How dominant has Notre Dame been? This marks the first time since 1975 that the Fighting Irish have held opponents without a touchdown through the first two games. North Carolina St. will obviously present a much tougher test, but it’s hard to find much fault in the Fighting Irish’s performance to date. Keep that in mind when assessing the odds in our Notre Dame vs North Carolina State preview.

In fact, with Hartman, they look every bit like a big-time contender. The Fighting Irish were projected for 9.0 wins (+110 Over, -130 Under), and beating North Carolina St. would go a long way toward helping them hit that total. Meanwhile, their national championship odds have remained relatively steady, dropping slightly from +2500 to +2800.

Armstrong at Home for ‘Pack

The North Carolina St. Wolfpack took care of business against UConn, though they failed to cover the 14.5-point spread in their 24-14 victory. Virginia transfer Brennan Armstrong threw for 155 yards and ran for 96 more in his Wolfpack debut.

Coming off an 8-5 finish, in addition to an appearance in the Mayo Bowl, expectations are modest for North Carolina St. The Wolfpack are projected for 6.5 wins (-125 Over, +105 Under) with ACC odds of +650, leaving them comfortably behind heavyweight favorites Florida State and Clemson. But anything short of another bowl trip for Dave Doeren’s squad will be a disappointment. Most college football bowl projections say as much.

Much of the focus is on Armstrong, who has reunited with his former offensive coordinator, Robert Anae. He replaced Devin Leary, who transferred to Kentucky. After a breakout 2021 season, in which he threw for 4,449 yards, 31 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions, Armstrong’s production dipped precipitously in 2022. He passed for seven touchdowns compared to 10 interceptions as Virginia sputtered to a 3-7 record.

Should he struggle again, Armstrong at least has a dominant defense to fall back on. Last season, the Wolfpack tied for the ACC lead in fewest points allowed (19.2 per game). A bulk of talent from that side of the ball is back, including linebacker Payton Wilson, who had a team-high 10 tackles and an interception in the victory over the Huskies. That bodes well for North Carolina St.

Handicapping the Game

How far can Notre Dame go under Marcus Freeman? It has a pair of blowout wins on its resume, but neither will really move the needle when everyone’s resumes are being compared. This game, however, should carry a bit more weight. North Carolina St. is a legitimate bowl contender, with a 25-12 record over the last three seasons, and getting them on the road presents a strong opportunity for the Fighting Irish.

For what it’s worth, Hartman is plenty familiar with North Carolina St. He threw for a season-high 397 yards against them in 2022, albeit in a 30-21 loss. The good news is, he’s now surrounded by more talent.

While North Carolina St.’s defense is formidable, Hartman has enough at his disposal to comfortably lead the Fighting Irish to a 3-0 start. Look for them to cover the college football line in our Notre Dame vs North Carolina State preview.

For college football betting news, odds, analysis and more, visit Point Spreads Sports Magazine.


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