The North Carolina State Wolfpack, ranked No. 25 in the AP Top 25 Poll, and Syracuse Orange will try to bounce back from tough losses when they face off on Saturday in Raleigh, N.C. The Wolfpack’s slim hopes of winning the ACC Atlantic and making an appearance in the ACC Championship Game are all but gone while the Orange just need one more win to become bowl-eligible.
The college football odds favor N.C. State big at home.
|Syracuse||+11½ (-110)||N/A||o51 (-110)|
|N.C. State||-11½ (-110)||N/A||u51 (-110)|
The Wolfpack have absolutely owned Syracuse in their head-to-head matchups. N.C. State has won six of the last seven meetings and leads the overall series 12-2.
N.C. State won the 2020 edition of the conference rivalry 36-29 by scoring the game’s final 16 points to complete a late comeback. Dave Doeren’s two-headed running attack of Ricky Person Jr. and Zonovan Knight combined to run for 118 yards and a touchdown while Thayer Thomas caught nine passes for 102 yards and three scores. Syracuse’s Taj Harris had a big day in the loss, catching 13 passes for 146 yards and a touchdown.
Next game: vs. Pittsburgh
Syracuse got roughed up by Louisville on Saturday, losing 41-3. The Orange had no answer for Malik Cunningham, who only completed 13 passes but had four passing touchdowns and a rushing score to boot. On the other end, Syracuse couldn’t get anything going on offense, posting just 184 total yards from scrimmage.
Dino Babers’ team was never close to covering as three-point underdogs. The high over/under total (56 points) never had much of a shot either considering how little Syracuse was able to move the ball.
The Orange are a little banged-up offensively. Fullback Chris Elmore (arm) and offensive lineman Chris Bleich (undisclosed) both missed the Louisville game and are questionable against the Wolfpack. Wide receiver Ja’Vontae Williams is questionable while fellow pass-catcher Trebor Pena is out for the season. With former star receiver Taj Harris in the transfer portal as well, Syracuse is undermanned on the outside.
N.C. State Wolfpack
Next game: vs. North Carolina
N.C. State dropped a wild one to Wake Forest on Saturday, losing 45-42 as its late comeback attempt fell short. The Wolfpack used a pair of touchdowns in the final minute of the first half to get within one point of the Demon Deacons, but their defense couldn’t stop Sam Hartman and Co. in the second half.
The Wolfpack barely missed covering as one-point road underdogs but the over (65 points) hit with plenty of room to spare.
N.C. State is pretty healthy and is only without a few players who were ruled out for the season weeks ago. Linebackers Isaiah Moore and Payton Wilson were big losses for N.C. State but the Wolfpack have been able to make do in their absence.
Betting on the Game
The Wolfpack probably will come out with some fire on Saturday after a tough loss. They’re a pretty well-rounded team that can score in bunches thanks to electric quarterback Devin Leary, the aforementioned running back tandem of Person Jr. and Knight, and explosive wide receivers Thomas, Emeka Emezie, and Devin Carter. N.C. State also has a stout defense, ranking 14th in FBS in scoring defense (18.9 points per game).
If you’re making college football picks, N.C. State is a safe team to side with, especially at home where the Wolfpack are 5-0.
The spread on the BetUS Sportsbook opened at 11½ points and it hasn’t moved much, which is a little surprising considering how bad Syracuse played last week. There could be some late movement in the direction of N.C. State as kickoff approaches.
The issue for the Orange is that they’re a one-trick pony on offense in that running back Sean Tucker is their only consistent source of production. He has already ran for 1,362 yards and 11 touchdowns and is Syracuse’s second-leading pass-catcher in terms of both yardage and receptions. If N.C. State can limit him, then the Orange will probably have an equally bad offensive showing as they did against Louisville.
If you’re betting online on the over/under, go with the under. The Wolfpack’s elite defense combined with Syracuse’s one-dimensional offense is a good sign that this will be a relatively low-scoring game for the ACC. Plus, even if N.C. State explodes offensively, the Orange likely won’t score enough to push the total over anyway.