NC State vs Vanderbilt Independence Bowl Prediction, 12-26-2016

NC State vs Vanderbilt Independence Bowl Prediction

N.C. State Wolfpack (6-6; 8-4 ATS; 4-7 O/U) vs. Vanderbilt (6-6; 7-5 ATS; 5-6 O/U)

Odds: Vanderbilt +6, 45

Game Time: 5:00pm EST

The Camping World Independence Bowl from Independence Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana kicks off at 5pm EST today and features the North Carolina State Wolfpack vs the Vanderbilt Commodores.

NC State opened the season (4-1) after beating Notre Dame on October 8th.  The Wolfpack appeared to be a good position in the ACC but a close overtime loss to Clemson the following week set off a domino effect of 4 straight losses. The Wolfpack clinched a spot in the Independence Bowl with a season ending victory over state rivals North Carolina and ending their season with a (6-6) record.

QB Ryan Finley threw for 2,820 yards 15 touchdowns and 8 interceptions.  The sophomore quarterback was not productive down the stretch, tossing only two touchdowns to go with two interceptions over his last four games. Finley may have tired down the stretch but they Wolfpack can rely on senior RB Matthew Dayes who had a solid season, accumulating 1119 rushing yards with ten touchdowns, and reached the 100-year mark in all but three games this season.  The offense averaged 25.8 PPG but it’s their defense that took center stage this season with a stout run defense.  The Wolfpack defense allowed 105 rushing yards per game which ranked them 6th in the nation and they allowed 23.2 PPG.  The defense will look at stopping Vanderbilt’s dynamic running back, Ralph Webb.

Vanderbilt also finished the 2016 season with a .500 record but they made strides towards improvement this season. The Vanderbilt Commodores secured their bowl berth by defeating state rival Tennessee 45-34 in the final game of the regular season. Vanderbilt’s biggest weapon on offense comes in Ralph Webb who had an outstanding season, rushing for 1172 yards with 12 touchdowns.  The junior RB rushed for 6 TD’s over the final 6 games.  Vandy is not an offensive threat only averaging 23.5 PPG but their final two games they scored 38 and 45 points, respectively.

This game boils down to whether the Commodores can run the ball against the top rushing defense in the ACC?  Will NC State be able to move the ball against a very good SEC defense after going 0-5 ATS the last 5 games vs the SEC? I am by no means wowed by Vanderbilt’s passing offense but the Wolfpack is certainly susceptible to giving up big passing yards.  I like what I saw out of Vanderbilt’s offense the final two games of the season and I think this carries over to the Independence Bowl.  I will take the +6 points and look for Vanderbilt to cover this spread in a close game.

NC State vs Vanderbilt Independence Bowl Prediction: Vanderbilt +6

Independence Bowl Pick & Prediction by Peter Trell of King Sports Picks

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