The Tennessee Volunteers and the North Carolina State Wolfpack will square off at a neutral site in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome. The stakes are especially high for Tennessee, a program in turmoil.
Tennessee Volunteers vs. North Carolina State Wolfpack – Friday, August 31
Online sports betting line: Tennessee -3.5
Why Tennessee Will Win
No matter what kind of scenarios you encounter when you first become a bookie, you are going to eventually experience the full gamut of sports betting scenarios. In this specific game, the context is one of urgency for Tennessee, more so than for North Carolina State. The Volunteers have a coach, Derek Dooley, who will almost certainly be fired if he cannot lead his team to at least eight wins (including a bowl game). Tennessee is too proud a program to live with yet another mediocre campaign, especially after missing a bowl game in 2011. Dooley has endured a lot of bad breaks in his first two seasons on the job, but he can’t have very many negative twists of fortune this year. This pressure could topple Tennessee against N.C. State, but it is more likely to work in the Vols’ favor by giving them the focus and concentration they need. What helps the Vols is that quarterback Tyler Bray – widely acknowledged as one of the SEC’s best pure passers – got injured early in 2011 but is now healthy and physically fresh. Without Bray, the Vols were hamstrung on offense in 2011. Their defense did well to keep them competitive in many games, but the offense withered on the vine. Tennessee scored 12 points or fewer in six of its last seven SEC games, the only exception being a 27-21 win over Vanderbilt. At any rate, the calculus is clear in season three for Dooley: If Bray remains healthy, this offense will be expected to deliver big numbers. The defense should be in good stead; as mentioned above, it actually held its part of the bargain last season, but the lack of any offensive production weighed down the Vols. If the defense gets a merely reasonable amount of help from the offense against North Carolina State, there’s little reason to think Tennessee can’t prevail.
Why North Carolina State Will Win
When perusing bet online reviews, you will find that there’s a convincing argument to be made for N.C. State in this game. Head coach Tom O’Brien will get senior quarterback Mike Glennon for another season. Glennon received ample playing time last season as a junior, thanks to the departure of former quarterback Russell Wilson, who spent the season playing for the Wisconsin Badgers. Glennon found his stride in November, shaking off a difficult two-month start to the season by throwing for over 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns (he finished with 31). Glennon has four returning starters on the offensive line this season, giving North Carolina State the tools needed to light up the scoreboard. If the offensive line can rise to the occasion against Tennessee, the Wolfpack should feel confident about their chances.
Who Will Win
It’s going to be a close contest in Atlanta, but Tennessee should have more fans in the Georgia Dome plus a strong effort from its defensive line, which will overpower North Carolina State’s offensive front. That will be the key ingredient in a Volunteer victory.
Read more on the latest sportsbook odds for college football in 2012.
College Football Betting Pick: Tennessee -3.5