Texas A&M (8-4) is favored against NC State (9-3) in the Gator Bowl at TIAA Bank Field on Monday (December 31, 2018, 19:30ET).
The spread was first offered at -7.0 points for the Aggies. They’ve gone a tempting 8-0 straight up as favorites this year, and 6-2-0 against the spread. The Wolfpack are 0-1 straight up as underdogs, and 0-1-0 against the spread.
$75 million man Jimbo Fisher led the Aggies to an extremely Kevin Sumlin 8-4 in his first season, very nearly beating Clemson early on and sneaking past LSU in a seven-overtime game.
Kellen Mond completed 57.6% of his attempts this season for 2,967 yards and 23 touchdowns. Trayveon Williams gained 1,802 yards from scrimmage and rushed for 15 touchdowns, averaging a solid 6.0 yards per carry. In a year that was focused on recruiting and rebuilding the Aggies, the players on the field still managed to do pretty well.
As a squad, the team gained 465.8 yards per game and scored 34.7 points per game. The defense allowed 354.7 yards and 26.3 points per game, while Landis Durham led the way with 7 sacks this season.
NC State was undefeated at one point, in fact they were 6-0 heading into their game against Clemson. Some (perhaps overeager) NC State fans decided that the game was the de facto ACC Championship, and I guess you can’t prove them wrong. It didn’t go great, as the Wolfpack lost that game, the next game, and then the Wake Forest game.
The Wolfpack offense features QB Ryan Finley, who passed for 3,789 yards and 24 TD’s this season. Finley completed 67.9% of his passes, good for a passer rating of 151.9. Reggie Gallaspy II rushed for 1,524 yards and 18 touchdowns, averaging 4.7 yards per carry.
Altogether, NC State averaged 471.5 yards per game and 35.6 points. The defense allowed 380.3 yards and 22.7 points per game. James Smith-Williams recorded 6 sacks this season.
Gator Bowl Betting Advice
Both teams have been good on offense this season and bettors might expect a shootout. The two teams have a combined over/under record of 12-12, which isn’t as spectacular as you might think. The over/under on this game is set at 58.5, although it’s an old betting axiom that we should take the points (+7.0 for NC State, in this case) in a shootout.