Syracuse vs NC State Odds, Picks and Predictions: Brown Helps Orange Clean Glass

Syracuse needs to get better on the boards and its only hope of doing so comes in the form of Maliq Brown. The big man averages just 6.8 rebounds per game but should be much more active against NC State tonight.

Feb 20, 2024 • 11:28 ET • 4 min read
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Maliq Brown Syracuse Orange ACC college basketball
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The Syracuse Orange search for consistency in the final month of ACC action, taking that expedition to Raleigh to face the North Carolina State Wolfpack on Tuesday night.

The Orange scored a massive resume win with an upset over North Carolina last week but followed that up with a letdown loss to Georgia Tech, dropping to 2-4 SU and 1-5 ATS in its last six games.

The Wolfpack are still in the hunt for a Top-4 seed in the conference, coming off a thrilling 1-point win at Clemson this weekend. North Carolina State, which lost to the Orange 77-65 as a 1-point road favorite in the Carrier Dome back on January 27, is hoping home court can keep that momentum moving forward.

I size up the spread and Over/Under total for this ACC clash and give my best college basketball picks for Syracuse at NC State on February 20.

Syracuse vs NC State best odds

Syracuse vs NC State picks and predictions

The Syracuse Orange went from stunning the ACC’s top team to losing to one of its worst in a span of five days. 

Syracuse battled on both ends of the floor in the 86-79 victory over UNC and then got bullied on the boards in the 65-60 loss at Georgia Tech on Saturday. The Orange were outrebounded 48-27 and allowed the Yellow Jackets some easy second-chance points and extra possessions.

With head coach Adrian Autry preaching harder efforts on the glass, all eyes go to forward Maliq Brown. The 6-foot-8 sophomore is SU’s leading rebounder (6.8 per game) and finds himself as Syracuse’s lone big man at times, with Autry recently rolling out a four-guard lineup.

The Orange will likely have to utilize that smaller set against the NC State Wolfpack, who have also found success with a four-guard look in the past five games. Wolfpack head coach Kevin Keatts is upping the tempo on both ends, looking to push the ball in transition while also pressing more and forcing opponents to play faster.

The Wolfpack weren’t a great rebounding team to begin with, sitting 246th in rebound rate (48.6%) on the year, but with a small rotation, NC State is giving up that edge on the boards (down to 48% over the last three games). And with both teams playing at a quicker pace, there will be more shot attempts and therefore more rebounding chances on Tuesday night.

Brown’s rebounding prop sits at 8.5 O/U which seems a little lofty compared to his recent rebounding efforts. He’s surpassed that 8.5-rebound total only once in the last seven contests and grabbed just seven boards in the matchup with NC State on January 27.

However, Brown’s seven rebounds against the Wolfpack came in just 28 minutes of action, as the SU forward saw his floor time trimmed due to early foul trouble. While he’s averaging 27.8 minutes on the season, his activity has spiked the past month, playing almost 37 minutes per game over the last four contests. 

Syracuse has faced some of the bigger and better rebounding teams in the ACC in that stretch, with North Carolina ranked sixth in average rebounds, Clemson sitting 66th (31st in size), and Georgia Tech at 52nd (27th in size). The Wolfpack won’t push back on the boards as much.

Player projections for Brown’s work on the glass sit as low as 8.3 rebounds for tonight’s trip to Raliegh but given the tweaks in the on-court matchup, my forecast calls for 9.25 rebounds for Brown against a smaller NC State team. 

With the Over 8.5 at EVEN money, I like the value on him snatching nine or more boards. 

My best bet: Maliq Brown Over 8.5 rebounds (+100 at DraftKings)

Syracuse vs NC State same-game parlay

Maliq Brown Over 8.5 rebounds

D.J. Horne Over 20.5 points

Over 152.5

Brown gets a break on the board after fighting bigger, stronger foes over the last few games. With NC State going small, Brown should control the glass.

Since making the switch to a four-guard set, D.J. Horne has taken off. The Wolfpack senior guard is averaging almost 27 points over the last five games.

With SU and NC State running out smaller four-guard sets, the tempo of this game could be much quicker than what we’ve seen from these programs overall. 

Learn how to bet a same-game parlay with these helpful tips and strategies.

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Syracuse vs NC State spread and Over/Under analysis

NC State opened as short as 4.5-point home chalk but early money has steamed that spread to as high as -6.5 as of Tuesday morning. According to Covers Consensus, 64% of picks are backing the home team.

The Wolfpack showed resolve in their win at Clemson this weekend, digging themselves out of a 12-point hole in the second half to score a 78-77 victory as 8-point road underdogs. 

Coach Kevin Keatts has kick-started his offense with a small lineup, rolling out a four-guard set the past five games. That’s seen NC State play a faster tempo and put up point totals of 78, 79, and 82 in that span.

Tonight’s return to PNC Arena is the team’s first home game since February 7, with the Wolfpack boasting an 11-3 SU (7-7 ATS) record as hosts. They average more than 78 points per game at home (about six points more than on the road) and allow close to nine points less on the defensive end compared to away results.

Syracuse struggles with the swap in venues, owning a 2-6 SU and ATS count as a visitor this season. The Orange score nearly 12 points less on the road then compared to the Carrier Dome which is compounded by their defensive issues no matter where they play.

Tuesday’s Over/Under total opened at 150 points and has since ticked up to 152.5 as of Tuesday morning. Covers Consensus shows 54% of early picks siding with the Under.

NC State has gone Over in three of its last five outings overall and sits 14-10-1 O/U on the year, including a 7-6-1 O/U record inside PNC Arena. 

As for SU, it owns a 13-12-1 Over/Under record, with a 5-3 O/U mark in foreign gyms. The Orange have played below the total in two of their last three games but are 4-2 O/U in their last six going back to January 30.

These ACC foes finished below the closing total of 149.5 points when they met in Syracuse on January 27, thanks in large part to a slow start from NC State. The Wolfpack managed only 22 points in the first half but rallied for 43 points in the final 20 minutes.

Syracuse vs NC State betting trend to know

Syracuse has played Over in seven of its last 11 road games. Find more college basketball betting trends for Syracuse vs. NC State.

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Syracuse vs NC State game info

Location: PNC Arena, Raleigh, NC
Date: Tuesday, February 20, 2024
Tip-off: 7:00 p.m. ET
TV: ESPN2

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