NCAA Free Pick: NC State at Wake Forest

Conference play in the ACC heats up this Tuesday night when the up-and-coming North Carolina State Wolfpack head across the state to face the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The game is set to get underway at 7 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on ESPN3.

NC State made headlines earlier this month for tagging No. 1 Duke with its first loss of the season. It then came out flat in a one-point loss to Maryland as a three-point road underdog, but rebounded this past Sunday with a 66-62 victory over Clemson as a 8.5-point home favorite. The Wolfpack are now 15-3 straight up on the year and 9-7 against the spread.

The Demon Deacons are 2-3 in conference play after suffering back-to-back losses to Clemson and Virginia Tech. The losses dropped them to 9-8 SU overall, but they are still a profitable 10-4-1 ATS. Wake Forest is 7-2 SU (4-2-1 ATS) at home this season, and the total has stayed “under” in five of its last six games.

Betting Storylines

The one thing that NC State does best is shoot the ball with some of the best accuracy in the nation with a field-goal percentage of 51.1. It is averaging 78.9 points and 36.5 rebounds a game while holding its opponents to an average of 68.6 points a game. The Wolfpack have shown some tremendous balance moving the ball around with six different players averaging at least 10 points a game. It is this kind of depth that makes them one of the top teams in the nation.

CJ Leslie leads all scorers with 15.4 points a game and is shooting 55.8 percent from the field. Lorenzo Brown is chipping in 12.8 points while leading the team in assists with 6.8 a game and Richard Howell is the team’s leading rebounder with 10.6 per game. The one area where NC State has struggled at times this season is from three-point range, but, as a team, it is still converting on 39.9 percent of its attempts.

Wake Forest is averaging 67.4 points a game, but that production has dropped off over the past few weeks with an average of just over 60 points in its last five games. The team is shooting 43.5 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from three-point range. It has done a fairly decent job defensively by holding opponents to 63.6 points a game on its home court and 67.8 points a game overall.

Travis McKie and CJ Harris remain the two biggest scoring threats with a combined 30.2 points a game. McKie leads the team in rebounds with 8.2 and Harris shooting 49.7 percent from the floor. The roster thins out rather rapidly from there as team depth is definitely not one Wake Forest’s strong suits. They will need a concerted effort from McKie and Harris for all four quarters to have any hope of winning this game.

Betting Odds and Trends by BetOnline

BetOnline has NC State listed as a 7-point favorite with the “over/under” line at 146.

The Wolfpack are 8-2-1 ATS in their last 11 conference games and 16-5 ATS in their last 21 games following a SU win. The total has gone over in 10 of their last 14 games against the ACC.

The Demon Deacons are 7-1 ATS in their last eight home games and 3-1-1 ATS in their last five against a team with a winning record on the road. The total has stayed under in four of their last five conference games.

Head-to-head, the road team is 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings, and the total has stayed under in four of the last six games. NC State is 16-5 ATS in the last 21 meetings and 4-0 ATS in its last four road games against Wake Forest.


With the Wolfpack’s overall advantage shooting the ball and much deeper depth on the bench, it will be hard for Wake Forest to keep this game close late into the second half. The home-town crowd will help, but in the end stick with NC State to get the win and cover the spread on the road.

Take # 515 NC State (-7) over Wake Forest

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