NC State vs. Syracuse Odds, Picks: Betting Value on Over/Under
Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images. Pictured: Shyheim Battle (NC State)
Editor's Note: NC State quarterback Devin Leary will not play against Syracuse due to a shoulder injury, according to ESPN's Pete Thamel.
NC State vs. Syracuse Odds
Saturday's college football slate features six different matchups between two teams in the AP Top 25, and this matchup between Syracuse and NC State may have been the least likely when the season began.
Syracuse is 5-0 despite its preseason win total sitting at just 4.5 wins.
NC State has met expectations to this point in the year — with just one defeat at Clemson — but the performances haven't lived up to the preseason thought that the Wolfpack could challenge for an ACC title.
Now, the Wolfpack are dealing with a slew of injuries — including quarterback Devin Leary — and they are short underdogs on the road in one of the biggest Syracuse home games this century.
The Orange have effectively had two straight byes coming into this game — they beat FCS program Wagner with a second half running clock two weeks ago and then had an actual bye last week.
This spot is brutal for the Wolfpack, and now without their quarterback, it's hard to see the offense finding much success during a visit to the JMA Wireless Dome at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.
All indications are that Leary will miss this game. The Wolfpack will turn to backup Jack Chambers in his absence to try to lead them to the road win.
You can find some success running the ball on Syracuse, so I'd expect to see an extremely conservative game plan from the Wolfpack offensively.
NC State is below average from a pace perspective and only attempted one pass in the final 1.5 quarters once Leary left the game.
Syracuse is already difficult to pass against because it ranks sixth in Passing Success Rate defensively. It's hard to see how NC State finds any explosive plays or consistent passing threat given that the offense was already struggling with Leary and now will be without him.
As much as I expect the NC State offense to struggle, the Wolfpack's defense is the best Syracuse has faced all year and can cause major problems for the Orange's offense.
NC State is top-25 in Rushing Success Rate Allowed, top-10 nationally in Line Yards and top-10 in Passing Success Rate Allowed.
When you compare that to the other defenses the Orange have gone up against, I don't expect Garrett Shrader to be nearly as effective.
Another problem for the Wolfpack was turning drives into points last week. Once Leary went out of the game against Florida State, they settled for three straight field goals and weren't able to punch any of those drives in for six points.
Once the field gets condensed, teams are able to stack the box more and force Chambers to beat them with his arm. He hasn't proven an ability to do that at this point.
Because of how run heavy the game script is expected to be for NC State and the lack of explosives, that means there should be a bunch of long drives that end in field goals.
Shrader looked like a different player in the first two weeks of the season as a passer. His PFF grades were amongst the best of any quarterback in the country through those two games.
However, the Orange's offense hit a bit of a wall in the last two games against Power Five opponents.
Syracuse wasn't good offensively on a per play basis against Purdue.
The Orange finished with 32 points, but remember that Syracuse had a defensive touchdown in the fourth quarter and then a last-minute touchdown drive aided by four Purdue penalties.
The following week at home against Virginia, Syracuse wasn't able to run the ball at all despite featuring one of the best running backs in the country in Sean Tucker. Tucker was one of the nation's leading rushers last year, but hasn't been as successful the last two games.
Shrader averaged 9.6 yards per attempt and 12.2 YPA against Louisville and Connecticut to open the season.
In the last two games, he showed clear regression as a passer. He averaged 6.2 yards per attempt against Purdue and 8.4 against a porous Virginia secondary.
After three Big Time Throws and one Turnover Worthy Play in the first two weeks, Shrader had one Big Time Throw and four Turnover Worthy Plays in the last two games against FBS opponents.
Tucker only managed 3.0 and 2.9 yards per carry in the last two weeks, respectively, which is an ominous sign for an Orange offense that needs the running game to be successful in order to open up the rest of the unit.
Given how stout the NC State front is defensively, it's hard to see the Orange consistently moving the ball.
NC State vs. Syracuse Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how NC State and Syracuse match up statistically:
NC State Offense vs. Syracuse Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Syracuse Offense vs. NC State Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||25||38|
|Seconds per Play||27.2 (80)||28.7 (112)|
|Rush Rate||49.6% (87)||60.4% (19)|
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.
NC State vs. Syracuse Betting Pick
This initially looked like a great spot to sell high on Syracuse and was one that I had circled after the Orange were quite fortunate to beat both Purdue and Virginia in the last two games.
But given the injury to Leary and how one dimensional the offense appears without him, it's hard to see NC State sustaining consistent offense.
On the other side, the Wolfpack's defense has been as elite as advertised up front to begin the season. If you shut down the Syracuse rushing attack and force Shrader to beat you, he's shown some signs that he will struggle to do so.
Neither offense has been efficient in the red zone and both defenses have a top-30 rank in Defensive Finishing Drives. That likely means plenty of field goals.
Since I can't see either team going up-tempo in this game either, I'm happy to take the under at 41 or higher.
The Orange will be juiced up for one of the biggest home games for the program this century, and that will only make it more difficult for the new NC State quarterback to move the ball and run the offense on the road.