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SYRACUSE, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 11: Sean Tucker #34 of the Syracuse Orange runs for a touchdown during the third quarter against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Carrier Dome on September 11, 2021 in Syracuse, New York. Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

Syracuse has been one of the biggest surprises of the college football season. Can the Orange become bowl eligible with an upset win over NC State?

Syracuse came into the year with practically no expectations. Somehow, the Orange (8-2 against the spread) are one win away from clinching a bowl bid. Syracuse has been a shining star in the ACC this year, and the squad is looking to keep rolling.

The team will travel to play the NC State Wolfpack this weekend. NC State (6-4 against the spread) is out of the ACC Championship hunt. However, the Wolfpack could still qualify for a quality bowl game if they finish the season on a high note.

NC State is favored at home, but will it cover this Saturday against the rising Orange?

Here are my picks and predictions for the college football Week 12 matchup between Syracuse and NC State (odds via FanDuel, and pick confidence is based on a one-to-five star scale).

Syracuse vs. NC State Game Info

Date/Time: Saturday, November 20, 2021 at 4 p.m. ETTV: ACC NetworkLocation:  Carter-Finley StadiumWeather: 53 degress

Syracuse vs. NC State Odds Analysis

The spread opened at NC State -11.5 and has so far remained stable. While some sportsbooks have bumped it down to 11, most have kept it at 11.5 with even odds on each side of the spread. That makes sense given Syracuse’s ability to keep games close.

The total opened at 50.5. Some books have kept it there, but others have boosted it to 51.5. Those that pushed it up have changed the odds to take away the value of the Under. It's easy to justify that move because both offenses lack explosion.

Syracuse vs. NC State Betting Picks

Syracuse +11.5 (-110) ????Under 51.5 (-120) ???

SEE ALSO: Week 12 Opening Lines and Picks

Syracuse vs. NC State Predictions

Syracuse +11.5 (-110)

Syracuse keeps surprising bettors this year. The Orange are methodical, and they've played plenty of superior teams close. They don’t always win, but the school fights hard, which is a great trait for an underdog. That’s why I’m taking the Orange to cover the spread.

Syracuse is coming off of a bad loss to Louisville, and it will be looking to bounce back and earn a bowl bid. Emotions will be high, and the Orange will be more motivated than the Wolfpack.

NC State is fresh off its own heartbreaking loss to Wake Forest. That defeat kept the Wolfpack from reaching the ACC Championship, so it will be interesting to see if they bounce back.

The Wolfpack will triumph, but a double-digit victory is too much to expect. Syracuse knows how to march down the field by running the football. The Orange can make the big plays late in games to win, and they should be in this one until the end.

Under 51.5 (-120)

The value isn't good here, but the Under is still the way to go. Neither offense scores quickly often, and too many drives stall out. This will be a low-scoring battle of field position.

Both defenses are relatively solid, but this game comes down to offensive ineptitude. The only way the Over will hit is if NC State quarterback Devin Leary plays out of his mind, and that's far from a lock.

Syracuse will look to chew the clock and slow this game down, and NC State isn’t explosive enough to force the tempo. Expect plenty of punts and field goals.

A 27-24 win for NC State would mean the Under hits and Syracuse covers the spread.

SEE ALSO: Early College Football Week 12 Parlays

Picks made 11/17/2021 at 12: 40 p.m. ET