The Pop-Tarts Bowl is shaping up to be a close battle between the NC State Wolfpack and the Kansas State Wildcats. AI models and traditional metrics like Pythagorean theorem slightly favor Kansas State, but don’t count out NC State with their recent winning streak. Injuries and trends could play a role, while the weather won’t be a factor in this indoor game. Read on for a deeper dive into the matchup and my final prediction!

Pop-Tarts Bowl

Date: Thursday, Dec. 28

Time: 5:45 p.m. ET

Location: Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Fla.

Pop-Tarts Bowl No. 18 NC State vs. No. 25 Kansas State

Kickoff: Thursday, December 28, 5:45 PM ET

AI Insights from the Top Models

I’ve consulted the top AI sports betting models, including:

  • BetQL
  • ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI)
  • SportsLine
  • The Action Network
  • The Prediction Machine

These models have varying methodologies, but they all leverage advanced analytics and historical data to predict outcomes. Here are their average predicted scores:

Model Predicted Score
BetQL Kansas State 28, NC State 24
ESPN FPI Kansas State 27.9, NC State 24.1
SportsLine Kansas State 27.4, NC State 24.6
The Action Network Kansas State 28.2, NC State 25.8
The Prediction Machine Kansas State 27.1, NC State 24.9
Average Kansas State 27.7, NC State 24.7

Pythagorean Theorem and Strength of Schedule

I’ve also applied the Pythagorean theorem, which estimates a team’s expected win percentage based on points scored and allowed. Considering strength of schedule, the results suggest a slight edge for Kansas State:

Team Pythagorean Win % Adjusted Win %
Kansas State 55.6% 56.2%
NC State 54.4% 53.8%

Injuries, Trends, and Weather

  • Injuries: NC State will be without wide receiver Demarcus Jones II and defensive back Rakeim Ashford. Kansas State has a longer injury list, including quarterback Christian Moore, running backs RJ Garcia II and Ben Sinnott, wide receiver Asa Newsom, and defensive lineman Daniel Green.
  • Trends: NC State is 5-0 against the spread in its last 5 games, while Kansas State is 1-4 against the spread in its last 5.
  • Weather: The game will be played indoors at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida, so weather is not a factor.

Recent News and Transfer Portal Impact

There are no reports of players from either team planning to sit out due to transfer portal intentions.

No. 18 NC State vs. No. 25 Kansas State

My Prediction

After considering all of the data and factors, I’m leaning towards Kansas State to cover the spread and win by a score of 28-24. While NC State has momentum and a solid defense, Kansas State’s overall strength of schedule and home-field advantage (despite being a neutral site game) give them a slight edge. The Wildcats also have a more experienced quarterback in Adrian Martinez, who could make the difference in a close game.

PICK: take OVER 47.5 Loss