NC State is an underdog to Notre Dame in the eyes of Vegas oddsmakers, but not by a significant margin. The Irish opened as 3.5-point favorites over the Wolfpack on Sunday, per Vegas Insider, though in some places that line is already down to ND -1.
The Irish have stumbled to a 2-3 start with wins over Nevada and Syracuse, so they are not quite looking like the top-15 team everyone expected. Their offense has been fine, but the defense has been awful—so awful that Brian Kelly fired his defensive coordinator last week.
Which did not seem to help a whole lot against Syracuse on Saturday. Notre Dame is allowing 6.0 yards per play on the season, and its secondary has been shredded. Four of their five opponents have scored at least 33 points on the Irish. (Nevada, which managed only 10 points, being the exception.)
Does Notre Dame have better talent, overall, than NC State? Yep. Is Notre Dame more efficient or functional, overall, than NC State? Nope. That makes for an interesting week.