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How and what to watch for Gator Bowl: NC State vs. Kentucky

NC State is looking to extend its winning streak to five games against a stingy Kentucky defense.

NCAA Football: North Carolina State at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 23-ranked NC State Wolfpack will be looking to extend their winning streak to five games when they played the Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday at the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, FL.

The Wolfpack (8-3) come into the postseason with a 23-13 victory over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the regular-season finale on December 5. NC State’s defense gave up 261 rushing yards and a touchdown to Georgia Tech, however it wasn’t enough as the Wolfpack’s running game posted two rushing touchdowns, despite only producing 88 yards.

As for the Wildcats (4-6), they humiliated South Carolina 41-18 in the regular-season finale earlier this month. Kentucky received a tremendous performance from running back Chris Rodriguez Jr., who had 139 yards on 14 carries and three touchdowns. As a team, the Wildcats ran for 291 yards and five touchdowns. Defensively, Kentucky struggled to stop the run as they allowed Gamecocks running back Kevin Harris Jr. to run for 210 yards on 21 carries and a touchdown.

Game Time/TV Channel/Streaming

You can watch NC State vs. Kentucky in the Gator Bowl on Saturday, January 2 at 12:00 p.m. ET on ESPN. You can stream it via WatchESPN or the ESPN app with a cable or streaming service login.

Point Spread, Totals, Odds, Trends

Point spread: Kentucky -2.5
Point Total: 49
Money line: Kentucky -129, NC State +106

  • NC State has been good to bettors this season, going 6-3 ATS in their last nine games
  • Wolfpack games are usually high scoring too, hitting the over in 10 out of their last 15 games
  • The total has gone over in six of Kentucky’s last eight games against ACC opponents.
  • The Wildcats are 2-4 straight up in their last six.

Gator Bowl Betting splits

NC State: (32% of handle, 42% percent of bets)
Kentucky: (68% of handle, 58% percent of bets)

The Best Bet

Kentucky’s defense was very good to start the season but has fallen off a bit over the last month and a half. The Wolfpack are pretty weak when defending the run and that’s what UK does very well. Plus, none of NC State’s last four wins have been very convincing against very bad teams like Syracuse and Georgia Tech.

Pick: Kentucky -2.5

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