NC State vs. UConn Prediction, Odds, Trends and Key Players for College Football Week 1

There's a new quarterback for the Wolfpack in Brennan Armstrong, can he get the team off to a strong road opening performance?

Jul 27, 2023; Charlotte, NC, USA; N.C.State quarterback Brennan Armstrong answers questions from the
Jul 27, 2023; Charlotte, NC, USA; N.C.State quarterback Brennan Armstrong answers questions from the / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
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North Carolina State ushers in a new era on Thursday in Week 1 action, hiring Robert Anae to be the team's offensive coordinator and bringing on transfer quarterback Brennan Armstrong.

Armstrong and Anae worked together at Virginia two seasons ago, creating a top 10 offense with the Cavaliers. The two will look to make an elite ACC tandem yet again in Raleigh with North Carolina State. The Wolfpack open at Connecticut to face a Huskies team that had a banner season in 2022 under head coach Jim Mora Jr, making a bowl game.

Can the Wolfpack emerge as an offensive juggernaunt? Can UConn get off to a strong start and follow up the success of last season?

Here's everything you need for Week 1 action:

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North Carolina State vs. Connecticut Odds, Spread and Total

Connecticut vs. North Carolina State Betting Trends

  • North Carolina State went 8-4 straight up, 4-8 against the spread (ATS)
  • North Carolina State went 2-5 ATS as a favorite last season
  • UConn went 9-3 ATS last season
  • UConn covered as 38-point underdogs at North Carolina State last season

North Carolina State vs. Connecticut How to Watch

  • Date: Thursday, August 31
  • Game Time: 7:30 PM
  • Venue: Pratt and Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field
  • How to Watch (TV): CBS Sports Network
  • North Carolina State Record: 0-0
  • Connecticut Record: 

North Carolina State vs. Connecticut Betting Trends

North Carolina State

Brennan Armstrong: A former Maxwell Award finalist, Armstrong headlines the Wolfpack offense that will look to bounce back after falling short of expectations in 2022. Armstrong rejoins former OC Anae and this offense should be far better, even if not reminiscent of Cavaliers 2021 season that saw the team finish inside the top 10 of SP+ offensive rating.

Armstrong was limited last season due to lack of weapons on hand in Charlottesville under a new head coach and injuries, but in 2021 he passed for 4,449 yards and 31 touchdowns. He also is a capable rusher, posting 15 rushing touchdowns over the last two seasons.

Connecticut

Joseph Fagnano: The Main quarterback transfer beat out Ta'Quon Roberson and ZIon Turner for the Week 1 starting quarterback job. He'll hope to give the Huskies more pop in the passing game. He passed for 2,231 yards last season with 15 touchdowns and six interceptions and has experience playing with UConn OC Nick Charlton.

North Carolina State vs. Connecticut Prediction and Pick

UConn was a great story last season, and I expect the team to be competitive once again, but this isn't the proper matchup for Mora's bunch.

First off, the Wolfpack won this game 41-10 last season as 38-point favorites. While UConn is better than the market gave them credit for last season, this is a three touchdown leap (granted we are accounting for a home field change as well).

I'm not sure the gap has closed that much. Looking at the Huskies other games against Power Five foes, the team lost to Syracuse by 34 (48-14), Michigan by 59 (59-0) and beat Boston College by 10 (13-3), even though the Eagles were nearly an FCS school by the end of the season.

The key takeaway from last season is that UConn couldn't score when playing up in competition. Even if Roberson raises the team's offensive ceiling, North Carolina State's defense has been an elite unit under defensive coordinator Tony Gibson, I expect the same in 2023.

NC State allowed the 18th fewer points per drive last season and were top 10 in defensive line yards. Overall, this was a team that was seventh in success rate. UConn ran the ball at a top 25 clip last season, but will need to pass to stay competitive in this one against a formidable Wolfpack defensive front.

Meanwhile, Armstrong raises the ceiling of this offense when factoring in the massive upgrade at OC. With better play calling and a veteran passer, I expect NC State to put up a big number on the scoreboard and I struggle to see UConn staying within shouting distances.

I'd lay the points with the visitors up to -17.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.