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Spread: Kentucky -2.5
Moneyline: Kentucky -140 | NC State +114
The Kentucky Wildcats and NC State Wolfpack will face off in the 2021 Gator Bowl. While there’s a sense optimism around the Wolfpack, who went 8-3 on the year, the 4-6 Wildcats left a bit to be desired after some strong campaigns in 2018 and 2019. That makes this matchup all the more intriguing to say the very least.
Kentucky’s offense of course is a primarily run-based one. They will chew you up on the ground, though obviously that led to varying and mostly poorish results this past year. Chris Rodriguez Jr. is the star of the bunch, as the Wildcat running back averaged 6.9 yards per carry and finished one touchdown shy of double digits. The ground game has been the hallmark o this team the last few years, as has hte defense. But the defense didn’t play up ot par in 2020. They allowed 5.5 yards/play, 4.4 yards per carry and have allowed at least 100 rushing yards in seven straight games, and allowed over 200 on four such occasions.
NC State roughed up some weak competition in the ACC, but still performed strongly when needed. Their defense has been strong, allowing a decent mark of 5.5 yards/play. That mark is pretty inflated from showings against VaTech, UNC and Miami (coincidentally, all three were losses). They have been otherwise pretty strong, and have tackled the run pretty well with only a few exceptions. Which, in turn, could spell trouble for UK in this one.