NC State vs Syracuse Odds, Picks and Predictions: Orange Juiced by Wolfpack

Syracuse has gotten off to its best start in years, but is that clouding the picture against stalwart ACC foe NC State? See why our college football picks smell an upset brewing in Week 7.

Ed Scimia - Betting Analyst at
Ed Scimia • Betting Analyst
Oct 15, 2022 • 07:49 ET • 4 min read
Devin Boykin NC State Wolfpack college football picks
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The No. 18 Syracuse Orange will put their undefeated record on the line on Saturday when they host the No. 15 North Carolina State Wolfpack at the JMA Wireless Dome.

Syracuse enters the weekend with a 5-0 record, but has yet to play an opponent at the level of NC State. Meanwhile, the Wolfpack are 5-1, with their only loss coming against Clemson on October 1. 

Are the Orange for real, or will the Wolfpack put an end to Syracuse’s dream start? We’ll dig into which of these ACC rivals has the edge in our college football picks and predictions for NC State vs. Syracuse on Saturday, October 15. 

NC State vs Syracuse best odds

NC State vs Syracuse picks and predictions

While it has been decades since Syracuse was a national powerhouse, the program has never completely disappeared from the college football landscape. In 2018, head coach Dino Babers led the Orange to a 10-3 record, and he has put Syracuse in position to enjoy a similarly successful season in 2022 with a 5-0 start.

That’s not to say that the Orange have played flawless football so far this year. It took a last-minute comeback — aided by several penalties — for Syracuse to beat the Purdue Boilermakers 32-29. They followed that up by barely holding off the Virginia Cavaliers 22-20 after leading 16-0 at the half. While Syracuse has beaten some quality Power 5 conference teams, it has also had more than its share of shaky moments. 

NC State started slow with a 21-20 victory over the East Carolina Pirates, a game in which the Wolfpack failed to score in the second half. But the Wolfpack have looked solid since then, beating the likes of the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the Florida State Seminoles on their way to a 5-1 record. Even their one loss — a 30-20 loss at the Clemson Tigers — is the kind of result befitting a Top-20 team. 

Syracuse has a lot of questions to answer heading into Saturday’s game. The Orange lead the country in the dubious statistic of penalties per game, averaging 10 flags per contest this season. Those penalties are costing Syracuse 72.4 yards per game, also among the worst totals in the country.

The Orange also haven’t been able to get sophomore running back Sean Tucker going the way he did last year, when he ran for 6.1 yards per carry and 12 touchdowns. Tucker padded his stats in a 59-0 win over Wagner two weeks ago, gaining 232 yards on 23 attempts and scoring three times. But in his other four games, he has a total of just two touchdowns and 314 yards on 87 carries. 

NC State might have to play Saturday without starting quarterback Devin Leary, who suffered a right shoulder injury against Florida State last week. If backup Jack Chambers has to play, it’s likely that the Wolfpack will rely more on their running game. That would make sophomore running back Demie Sumo-Karngbaye, who is averaging 5.8 yards per carry, the focal point of the NC State offense.

No matter who starts for the Wolfpack, this will be a close, low-scoring game between two teams that have found more success on the defensive side of the ball this year. So far this year, Syracuse has escaped in its closest games, finding ways to win despite untimely turnovers and bad penalties. 

It’s unlikely that the Orange will get away with those same mistakes against NC State. While Syracuse has been one of the best stories of the season, I’m betting on its undefeated run coming to an end on Saturday. Let’s take the Wolfpack on the moneyline, and consider it a bonus to an already good bet if Leary plays.

My best bet: NC State moneyline (+160 at bet365)

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NC State vs Syracuse spread analysis

Sportsbooks were wary of opening a line on this game early due to the Leary injury. Some sites made Syracuse as much as a six-point favorite last Sunday, but it didn’t take long for that number to come down, and the consensus line now has the Orange as a 3.5-point favorite over the Wolfpack.

Syracuse is 4-1 against the spread this season, owing to an undefeated start for a team that most ranked among the worst in the ACC heading into the year. The biggest surprise for the Orange has been junior quarterback Garrett Shrader, who has even appeared among the longshots on Heisman Trophy odds boards at some sportsbooks. 

Shrader has thrown for 10 touchdowns and just one interception, while also running for five scores. That could be an avenue of attack for the Orange, as NC State has given up big rushing games against Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis and Clemson’s DJ Uiagalelei in recent weeks.

While the Wolfpack will want Leary in the lineup, they will be in solid hands if Chambers plays on Saturday. In four years at Charleston Southern, Chambers threw 40 touchdown passes. He’s also capable of creating offense with his legs, having run for 39 yards to help spark a comeback against the Seminoles last week after Leary left the game.

With the line at 3.5 points, I do like betting the Wolfpack and taking the points as an alternate to the moneyline. Syracuse has pulled out close wins at home against its last two legitimate opponents, but both wins were by three points or less. This could easily be a game that comes down to the final possession, and the spread provides insurance if you’re skittish about a late Andre Szmyt field goal that keeps the Orange undefeated by the skin of their teeth.

NC State vs Syracuse Over/Under analysis

Most bookmakers opened this game with a total around 44, but that number has steadily fallen throughout the week. The consensus total is now 42, with some sites offering a number as low as 41.5.

There’s good reason to expect a low-scoring game. Both of these teams have performed better on defense than on offense, and that becomes more apparent when you throw out blowouts against overmatched opponents.

Limiting the data to just Power 5 opponents, Syracuse is averaging 28.3 points per game, while NC State is averaging 22. The two defenses have been even more impressive against this competition. The Orange are allowing 18.7 points to major conference opponents, while the Wolfpack are holding the same opposition to 20.3 points. 

In other words, I’m not expecting a shootout in Syracuse. That said, the number is a bit too low to jump on the Under. A total in the low 40s is just about right, so I’m staying away from this market. In fact, if the number drops another point or two, I might be inclined to bet the Over. The Orange and the Wolfpack have each played only one game below 40 points this season, and someone will probably have to break 20 to win on Saturday.

NC State vs Syracuse betting trend to know

Syracuse is 1-4 ATS in its last five conference games. Find more NCAA betting trends for NC State vs. Syracuse.

NC State vs Syracuse game info

Location: JMA Wireless Dome, Syracuse, NY
Date: Saturday, October 15, 2022
Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET
TV: ACC Network

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