Syracuse vs. NC State Odds & Picks: Why to Bet Saturday’s Under (November 20)

Syracuse vs. NC State Odds & Picks: Why to Bet Saturday’s Under (November 20) article feature image
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Icon Sportswire/Getty Images. Pictured: Sean Tucker

  • Updated odds make the NC State Wolfpack -11.5 favorites over the Syracuse Orange on Saturday.
  • The Wolfpack lost a great opportunity to control its own destiny in the ACC, but they're not completely out of the Atlantic Division yet.
  • Check out Anthony Dabbundo's full betting guide with a pick below.

Syracuse vs. NC State Odds

Saturday, Nov. 20
4 p.m. ET
ACC Network
Syracuse Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+11.5
-115
49.5
-110o / -110u
+340
NC State Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-11.5
-105
49.5
-110o / -110u
-450
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Syracuse had three chances to clinch bowl eligibility with a win starting last week. The 41-3 loss at Louisville off the bye was strike one. The two remaining games on the schedule are against ranked NC State on Saturday and Pittsburgh at home next week.

The Orange are now more likely than not to miss a bowl game for the third consecutive season.

The Orange open as 11.5-point underdogs against NC State, and the Wolfpack still have a chance to make the ACC Championship if things break right for them. First, the Wolfpack need to win their two remaining conference games against Syracuse and UNC.

If the Wolfpack win both and Clemson and Boston College both beat Wake Forest, then NC State goes to Charlotte to play for a shot at a New Year’s Six bowl.

It seems like a long shot, but the Wolfpack will be favored in both of their remaining games, and Clemson is favored against Wake, so the Wolfpack only need one minor upset (BC over Wake).

NC State’s elite run defense will be tested by Syracuse’s run-heavy attack and that is likely where this game will be decided.


Syracuse Orange

Syracuse Offense

Syracuse entered last week with an offensive identity and a game plan that had produced two consecutive conference wins and nearly led to upsets of Clemson and Wake Forest.

The Orange were the best team in the country against the spread entering last week because of their rushing offense, led by quarterback Garrett Shrader and running back Sean Tucker, who was second in the country in rushing yards.

But injuries to the offensive line have added up. Louisville smothered the offense and the Orange came out of the bye with their worst offensive showing of the season.

The Orange run the ball at the 11th-highest rate in the country and they no longer play fast like seasons past. Syracuse is just 70th in pace, below average and very different from earlier iterations of Dino Babers’ offense.

Shrader is a run-first quarterback with limited passing ability and it’s shown when Syracuse has fallen behind this season. The Orange were unable to launch comebacks against Louisville or Clemson because defenses force them to pass more. The Orange are 20th in Rushing Success Rate and 44th in Line Yards, but just 99th in Passing Success Rate.

When they are able to run, the offense is quite effective and one of the most improved units in the country compared to last season. When they can’t, the Orange struggle to move the ball.


Syracuse Defense 

Last week sounded some alarm bells for a pretty solid Syracuse defense when Louisville posted 35 first-half points and broke off explosive play after explosive play. The Cardinals have owned that annual matchup for years and Syracuse had no answer for Cunningham or the off-tackle runs.

NC State presents a different challenge. The Orange’s secondary is an above average unit across the board and it’s typically very good at preventing explosive plays.

The Orange rank eighth in Big Plays allowed and 36th in Defensive Line Yards. PFF grades them out as the seventh-best tackling team in the country too, so they should be able to keep NC State’s good passing offense in front of them.

Expect Syracuse to force the Wolfpack to drive the field without the use of explosiveness. While NC State will move the ball and score, the Orange’s run defense should hold up in the red zone to prevent lots of touchdowns from being scored.

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NC State Wolfpack

NC State Offense

NC State is a pass-heavy offense that doesn’t bother much to establish the run. Syracuse hasn’t faced many quarterbacks with the passing ability of Devin Leary this season. The one that they did face in Wake Forest’s Sam Hartman threw for 330 yards.

The problem for the Wolfpack’s offense in this game is that it doesn’t generate a ton of big plays through the air and are facing one of the best big play defenses in the country.

Another issue is the pass blocking. NC State is 113th in pass blocking and is facing an experienced and improved Syracuse pass rush that has gotten production from the entire defensive line this season.

NC State will move the ball through the air, but if Syracuse can limit big plays and produce sacks, it’ll be able to reign in the Wolfpack offense enough to keep this game under.


NC State Defense

The Wolfpack have the fourth-best run defense in the country by Success Rate and the 21st-best by Defensive Line Yards. That’s a nightmare for the Syracuse offense that is one dimensional and relies so heavily on Tucker and the run game to produce yards and points.

Similar to how Clemson shut down the Syracuse offense, NC State should be able to do the same simply by limiting Tucker and holding up against the Orange’s offensive line.

Factor in the mounting injuries along the line and the Wolfpack’s ability to limit big plays, and it’s hard to see how the Orange are able to get to 20-25 points in this game.

The Wolfpack rank among the top-30 nationally in both tackling and coverage grades, per PFF.


Syracuse vs. NC State Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Syracuse and NC State match up statistically:

Syracuse Offense vs. NC State Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 20 4
Line Yards 44 21
Pass Success 99 14
Pass Blocking** 10 77
Big Play 44 22
Havoc 39 53
Finishing Drives 74 50
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

NC State Offense vs. Syracuse Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 83 66
Line Yards 48 36
Pass Success 18 46
Pass Blocking** 113 47
Big Play 58 8
Havoc 15 45
Finishing Drives 44 97
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 7 14
Coverage 65 29
Middle 8 89 44
SP+ Special Teams 119 31
Plays per Minute 70 81
Rush Rate 63.9% (11) 44.7% (121)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.


Syracuse vs. NC State Betting Pick

This is similar to the Syracuse-Clemson game in October, when Clemson’s defense shut down the Syracuse offense for large stretches of the game and the Syracuse defense stayed in the game by getting pressure on the quarterback.

NC State has a better offense than Clemson, but its defense is similarly elite at stopping the run. If you can stop the run, you can stop Syracuse and for that reason, it’s hard to see the Orange consistently moving the ball and scoring on Saturday in Raleigh.

Add in the Syracuse defense’s ability to prevent big plays and rush the passer, and the Orange should be able to do enough to limit the NC State passing offense and keep this game under 51.5 points.

51 is a key number, though, so I wouldn’t play it lower than that.

Pick: Under 51.5 (51 or better)

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