Back Syracuse at Home, Can Drake Cover Again?

Vaughn Dalzell
·4 min read

NC State at Syracuse (-5)

NC State will be without Devon Daniels for the first time this season for this matchup. Daniels averages 16.5 points per game for the Wolfpack and ranks second on the team in usage rate (24.9). Daniels owns the third-highest offensive rating on the team (108.5) and the second-highest offensive field goal percentage (54.8%).

NC State has lost four straight games by an average of 12.7 points before the win versus Wake Forest. NC State lost by four, five, 10 and 32 points in four of the last five games. On the road this season, the Wolfpack are 0-4 SU and have lost by an average of 14.2 points. In those road games, NC State has lost by four, 10, 11 and 32 points.

Syracuse has won three straight games at home by an average of 16.3 points. The Orange are 8-1 SU at home this season with a 63-60 loss to Pittsburgh. The last three wins at home were against Georgetown, Miami and Virginia Tech. Syracuse is coming off an 81-58 loss to Virginia, and NC State's defense should be much easier to score on. Syracuse has scored 74 or more in four of the previous five home games and four of the last five overall.

NC State's defense has struggled this season, ranking 231st and 240th in allowed two-point and three-point percentage. The Wolfpack's defensive effective field-goal percentage allows a 52% conversion rate, 244th overall. Both offenses play fast, ranked in the top 100 for average possession length and top 126 in adjusted tempo. NC State's defensive numbers are a little surprising, considering they have two players 6-foot-10 and taller. NC State should try and slow down the game with their size, but I think Syracuse's talent will be too much on their home floor.

I believe Syracuse will continue its impressive home stretch that has seen seven-of-eight games feature wins by five or more. There have been only two games Syracuse has not won by more than five at home this season. The first was a season-opening one-point win versus Bryant and the three-point loss to Pittsburgh.

NC State is 0-5-1 ATS in their last six games overall and as a road underdog. The Wolfpack are 0-6-1 ATS in their last seven road games. Back Syracuse to keep the good times rolling in the Carrier Dome versus a slightly renovated NC State squad with Daniels out.

Game Pick: Syracuse -5 (1u)

Sunday Notes/Leans

Michigan State at Ohio State (-6.5)

Michigan State was dominated all-around versus Rutgers in the previous game and Ohio State survived a hungry Penn State squad pulling through in the final minutes. MSU looked rusty beyond belief returning from the COVID layoff, and there is not much hope in them covering from me. The home team is 7-2 ATS in the last nine meetings between the two programs and the favorite is 10-2 ATS in the last 12 overall.

However, MSU has a favorable track record against OSU, winning four straight. MSU won 11 straight over Rutgers and lost by 30 on Thursday. This a back Ohio State or live bet situation, in my opinion. Ohio State's Moneyline parlayed with Syracuse's Moneyline is -106 on FanDuel and that could be worth a play if you want some action on this Big Ten rivalry. Sharp money is coming in on Ohio State and rightfully so as the Buckeyes are clearly the better team. The question is, what Michigan State team will we see?

Illinois State at Drake (-18.5)

Drake has still covered and won every game on the season. They survived Missouri State after trailing by 17 at one point in the first of the back-to-back set. After taking the lead in that game, Drake never looked back. The Bulldogs are 15-0 and face a 5-10 Illinois State Cardinals squad that is 2-7 in conference play. The favorite is 4-1 ATS in the last five games and home team 5-0 in the last five between the two teams.

Illinois State lost by 30 and 31 points to Loyola-Chicago and lost by single-digits to Evansville, Indiana State and Valparaiso. Drake beat Indiana State by seven and 18 points and will play Valpo after this two-game set with Illinois State. It's Drake or nothing as the Bulldogs have yet to let most people down, including me. This goes down as a strong lean for me, but if I can get Drake's spread -12 to -15 range live, that will undoubtedly be in my pocket.

You can do a four-point teaser on DraftKings for OSU and Drake. A OSU -2 and Drake -14 teaser is +107, odds I like a lot. A seven-point teaser is -132 putting OSU at +0.5 and Drake -11.5.