Auburn-N.C. State Betting Preview: Should the Wolfpack Be Favored?

Auburn-N.C. State Betting Preview: Should the Wolfpack Be Favored? article feature image
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Rob Kinnan, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Kevin Keatts

Surprisingly, North Carolina State wasn’t ranked in the latest AP Top 25, but that continues to show the poll is absolutely meaningless until later in the season. Heck, Purdue was moved up by two voters after losing four of its last five games.

The Wolfpack will have chalkboard material for their contest against the No. 7 Auburn Tigers. Which side presents the most value? Let’s breakdown the matchup.


>> All odds as of Tuesday night. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NCAAB odds and track your bets.


Auburn Tigers at North Carolina State Wolfpack

  • Spread: N.C. State -2
  • Over/under: 157
  • Tip: 7 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: ESPN2

The Wolfpack (8-2 against the spread) will be a trendy pick, boasting the 13th-ranked Adjusted Offensive Efficiency (115.7 Points Per 100 Possessions) in Division I. Their elite offense stems from their ball pressure, owning the 7th-highest opponents’ Turnover Rate (24.7%).

While Kevin Keatts’ bunch is good for a monster upset at home seemingly every season, the Tigers (5-3-1 ATS) shouldn’t be overlooked despite a hostile road atmosphere. N.C. State has yet to face an athletic group like this one, which owns the top opponents’ Turnover Percentage (28.5%) in the country.

I’m expecting both teams to have limited miscues, but Auburn’s length inside should keep the Wolfpack’s 23rd-rated two-point percentage (56.9%), which accounts for 54.4% of their offense, from sustaining its effectiveness.

Austin Wiley, Chuma Okeke and Anfernee McLemore are three of the best rim protectors in the country, combining to lead Auburn’s DI-high 22.4% Block Rate.

They’ll also play a role on the offensive glass, as the Tigers own the 10th-highest Offensive Rebounding Percentage (38.2%) in the nation. N.C. State has been extremely sound in the rebounding department at both sides of the court, but it’s also benefited from a fairly light schedule — beyond a four-point loss at Wisconsin — that lacks an opponent with similar size to Auburn.

Considering the game should come down to which team performs runs more efficient halfcourt sets, Bruce Pearl’s crew possesses an advantage.

The Wolfpack didn’t impress me in that area vs. Penn State on Saturday, in which the Nittany Lions were turnover happy and forced shots down the stretch to open the door for the opposition to push the tempo on a consistent basis.

The Tigers’ leading-scorer Jared Harper (16.2 points per game) will be able to take advantage of Braxton Beverly, too. Beverly showcased his potential with a season-high 18 points against Penn State, but expect Harper to have a mismatch with his quickness. The 5-foot-11 guard has unlimited range from the perimeter as well, leading Auburn’s 37.0 team 3-point shooting with a 43.5% clip.

The Tigers are 11-8 (57.9%) ATS as an underdog since the 2016-17 campaign and this season. Look for Pearl’s bunch to cover in a close affair for its first true road game.

THE PICK: Auburn +2

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