For the first time in over 20 years, two ranked teams square off at the JMA Wireless Dome in Syracuse, New York, as the unbeaten No. 18 Syracuse Orange host No. 15 North Carolina State, whose one loss was to No. 4 Clemson two weeks ago. We have a betting preview of this big Syracuse vs. NC State matchup.

It marks the first time since Nov. 24, 2001 that Syracuse was ranked and also hosted a ranked team (Boston College).

Huge Line Shift Sees Syracuse Now Favored

Prior to last week’s action, North Carolina State was favored in early markets by four points. Syracuse enjoyed the weekend off to prepare, whereas North Carolina state had to battle from behind to beat Florida State 19-17 at home.

That was enough for the line to shift dramatically in this contest. With a sold-out crowd of around 50,000 expected to be in the corner of the home team, here’s how the odds shake out on BetMGM.

North Carolina State Wolfpack+3.543+155
Syracuse Orange-3.543-185

Syracuse (5-0, 2-0 ACC) is now expected to continue their best start in 35 years. This would put them on a collision course with fellow unbeaten Clemson next week in South Carolina. The Wolfpack’s (5-1, 1-1 ACC) slight conference title hopes hinge on this game. Falling two games behind Clemson would all put seal their fate in the Atlantic Division.

Why Is Syracuse Seen as the Favorite Now?

The key effect of the win over the Seminoles is the health of quarterback Devin Leary. He left that game with a shoulder injury, and head coach Dave Doeren has been coy about the availability of his QB this weekend. NC State would then have to rely more on its running game, which is stout, but the Orange come into this game with the ACC’s top-ranked defense and ranks in the top 10 nationally in both scoring (14.0 PPG allowed) and yards (271 yards allowed).

The Wolfpack’s defense is ranked just behind Syracuse’s in the ACC, but with the Orange having its best offensive weapons in running back Sean Tucker and quarterback Garrett Shrader (who has limited his mistakes this year), the overall advantage could shift to Syracuse if Leary isn’t playing.

Cuse Facing its Toughest Test

After dominating the season opener over Louisville 31-7, Syracuse then crushed UConn 48-14. That is the one common opponent of these teams. NC State beat the Huskies 41-10, so that comparison appears to be a push.

After that win, Syracuse hosted Purdue, surviving a wild fourth quarter to beat the now 4-2 Boilermakers 32-29. A last-minute field goal prevented an upset by Virginia, The Orange then had no trouble with FCS opponent Wagner, beating the Seahawks 59-0 on the heels of a perfect passing day from Shrader and an over 200-yard rushing effort from Tucker. Combine that with a week off, and the Orange should be well-prepared. They will also be fired up for one of the biggest home games of the past 20 years for the Orange. Fans will pack the Carrier Dome like it did for Don McPherson in the 1980s and Donovan McNabb in the ’90s.

Syracuse vs. NC State Betting Preview and Trends

Syracuse is 4-1 against the spread this season, while the Wolfpack are 1-4 ATS. Dating back to last year, Syracuse’s ATS record is 10-4 in its last 14 games.

Momentum and emotion are such big factors in college football. If NC State is coming into a potentially hostile environment at less than 100% with their quarterback injured, it could be a long day for the Wolfpack. They will have to lean on their defense and goad the Orange into some mistakes, but preventing a hot start will be the key.

The over-under total of 43 feels low, but each team was under that number in their most-recent ACC game. We’re staying away from the under. As for the game itself, if Leary doesn’t suit up, we are confident in backing the Orange at -3.5 to remain undefeated.

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