The Thursday night football slate in the sportsbook has a college game in the Atlantic Coast Conference and an NFL game involving Andy Reid’s return to Philadelphia as the head coach of Kansas City.
Clemson Tigers @ North Carolina State Wolfpack
Odds: Clemson -13.5
This game is not going to be a predictable one. It is fraught with uncertainty. North Carolina State is just good enough to offer the threat of being able to pull off an upset at any time, but it is weak enough to play poorly and get blown out of the building as well. North Carolina State knocked off Florida State last season, but the Wolfpack could not reinforce that victory with steady and reliable performances in the rest of their schedule, especially in the Atlantic Coast Conference and even more particularly in the ACC Atlantic Division. North Carolina State has been a very up-and-down program over the years, which makes the Wolfpack a tough team to figure out. The most predictable thing about this team is and has been its unpredictability. Guessing when North Carolina State will or won’t be at its best is a hard thing to do. College football observers have been able to conclude that the Wolfpack will undergo mood swings during a season, but those same observers don’t quite know when those mood swings will occur.
All in all, Clemson is the team that should be the focus here. The Tigers used to be wild and unpredictable in the same ways that North Carolina State currently is. However, Clemson has gained some backbone in recent years and does not lose as many games as it once did. The Tigers don’t suffer as many upsets, either – they have learned to take care of business, so they should be trusted with this game on Thursday.
Pick: Clemson -13.5
Kansas City Chiefs @ Philadelphia Eagles
Odds: Philadelphia -3
This game should be very close, not just because it will be an emotional game with Andy Reid returning to Philadelphia for the first time since he was pushed out as the Eagles’ head coach, but because the matchups between offenses and defenses should not yield clear results. Philadelphia is strong on offense and not so much on defense, at least through the first two weeks of the season. The Eagles got shredded by both Washington and San Diego in the second halves of their first two games, creating a lot of worry that the team will not be able to create enough of a cushion for an offense that might not physically hold up through the course of the full season. Kansas City is the opposite of Philadelphia. The Chiefs are tough and resilient on defense but have not yet put the pieces together on offense.
Ultimately, the Chiefs look like a team that is not yet ready to be part of the NFL’s elite. Expecting Kansas City to go to 3-0 is not the wise choice in this situation. Take Philadelphia on the NFL spread if you find yourself torn in two directions with this pick.
Pick: Philadelphia -3