Wake Forest at Syracuse Betting Odds & Pick: Fade the Orange in Saturday’s ACC Matchup
Brett Carlsen/Getty Images. Pictured: Dontae Strickland and Moe Neal.
- Wake Forest travels to the Carrier Dome on Saturday to take on Syracuse in an ACC matchup.
- The Orange are severely depleted with quarterback Tommy DeVito sidelined, leaving an opportunity for the Demon Deacons.
- Check out Pat McMahon's full betting guide with updated odds below.
Wake Forest at Syracuse Odds
|Wake Forest Odds||-14 [BET NOW]|
|Syracuse Odds||+14 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-500/+370 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||59.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Saturday, 12 p.m. ET|
The Wake Forest Demon Deacons have won three straight games and are looking to build on that streak Saturday with a trip to the Carrier Dome to face the Syracuse Orange.
After an 0-2 start, Wake Forest has turned its season around, thanks to stellar play from quarterback Sam Hartman and a stingy defense that’s forcing turnovers with great success. Last week’s upset win over a ranked Virginia Tech team was especially impressive, as the offense struggled while the defense forced three key Hokie turnovers en route to a 23-16 victory.
Syracuse comes into this game struggling, to put it lightly. The Orange are 1-5, with their lone win coming over Georgia Tech at home in late September.
Starting quarterback Tommy DeVito went down with an injury against Duke two weeks later, which proved to be a brutal blow to an already struggling offense. Syracuse did hang around for a while at top-ranked Clemson last week, trailing by only six points in the third quarter before Clemson eventually pulled away for a 47-21 win.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons
The Demon Deacons are playing really good football right now, and the winning formula during their win streak has been simple: win the turnover battle and run a balanced offensive attack.
The defense hasn’t been spectacular in terms of yardage allowed, but it’s forcing turnovers and playing well in the red zone. Last week against Virginia Tech, the Deacons intercepted three passes while committing zero turnovers of their own. They also held Virginia Tech to just six points in four red-zone trips.
As long as they’re not turning the ball over themselves, this type of bend-don’t-break defense can work. It may not be the best winning formula long-term, but it’s a good bet that the Wake Forest defense will find a way to come up with some takeaways on Saturday against Syracuse’s backup quarterback and poor offensive line. If Wake Forest can build a lead early, expect star defensive end Carlos Basham Jr. and the rest of the Deacons pass rush to create Havoc all day in the Syracuse backfield.
Despite losing his top target in the offseason when star receiver Sage Surratt opted out of the season, Wake Forest’s Hartman has been impressive. Hartman’s numbers don’t jump off the page, but he’s been extremely efficient, completing over 63% of his passes with no interceptions through the first five games.
Offensive coordinator Warren Ruggiero is committed to having a balanced attack that establishes the run first. The Demon Deacons have a strong 1-2 punch at running back, as Kenneth Walker III and Christian Beal-Smith have combined for over 800 yards and 12 touchdowns, with each averaging over five yards per carry.
They should have a field day against a Syracuse run defense that’s one of the worst in college football and was gashed for 338 yards against Liberty in their last home game.
Amazingly, Syracuse has been an underdog in every game it’s played so far, and it looks like that will be the case for every game going forward as well. The Orange did outperform expectations and covered a historic spread as 47.5-point underdogs last week at Clemson, but there’s not a ton of reason for optimism moving forward.
The Syracuse offense has been downright dreadful. While there are a number of factors contributing to its struggles, the bottom line is that the talent just isn’t there on this side of the ball.
Rex Culpepper is a tough quarterback with a strong arm, but he has serious accuracy issues and is completing just 43.5% of his passes. Outside of Taj Harris, he’s not getting much help from his receivers, who are struggling to create separation as a unit.
Perhaps the worst part of this Syracuse offense has been the line play. The Orange are so thin and inexperienced up front that they start a former fullback at left guard. The group hasn’t given its quarterbacks time to throw and has also struggled to pave the way for running backs, evidenced by a team average of 2.9 yards per carry.
The defense can’t stop anyone from moving the football but is excelling in one area: causing turnovers. No team in college football has forced more turnovers than the Orange, who have 17 takeaways through the first six games. The Syracuse defensive backs have been ballhawks, picking off nine passes and doing everything they can to help the offense by setting it up with good field position.
Unfortunately for the Orange secondary, the injuries are piling up. Syracuse’s best player, star safety Andre Cisco, was injured before the Georgia Tech game and will miss the remainder of the season. On Saturday at Clemson, cornerback Neil Nunn suffered a torn ACL, becoming the fourth defensive back from Syracuse’s opening week two-deep to miss time with an injury.
The Syracuse front seven has been a turnstile, giving up an average of 235 yards per game on the ground and allowing over five yards per carry. The Orange have given up over 300 rushing yards in three straight games and now face a Wake Forest team that likes to establish the run early to open things up downfield for its star quarterback. This has the recipe to be a long day for the Syracuse defense.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Both defenses have a knack for causing turnovers, but Hartman’s the far more trustworthy quarterback in terms of taking care of the ball. Expect Wake Forest to establish the run and control the clock early. This will put pressure on Culpepper to make some big plays through the air, something he hasn’t done consistently. Even if the Orange move the chains, they’re one of the nation’s worst red-zone offenses, scoring only four touchdowns in 13 trips this season.
With an unreliable offense and a continuously-growing injury report for Syracuse, it’s difficult to see the Orange righting the ship against a well-coached and disciplined Wake Forest team.
Pick: Wake Forest -11 (up to -13)