Syracuse at Wake Forest
Saturday, 4 pm PT
CRIS Opener: Wake Forest -3 O/U 56
CRIS Current: Wake Forest -3 O/U 54
Recommendation: Wake Forest
Game time of 7 pm local on Saturday night is important here because rain figures to be a significant factor due to the looming tropical storm. That should make this a very sloppy track which likely bothers the extreme tempo of Syracuse. Rain is projected to be steady on Saturday and intensify as the day goes on brings ball handling on each end of the passing game into play. I expect Dino Babers to level his play calling a bit and work in more of the ground game. The Fieldturf surface here at BB&T Field doesn’t present the same degree of offensive limitation that natural grass would but nonetheless the steady rain will probably dictate some changes.
Wake Forest has been solid on the ground this season against foes who they can push around and the Syracuse run defense fits that bill (205 ypg allowed). The Demon Deacons play calling percentages is just a tick over 60/40 for the season and they will use the run to shorten the game and keep the clock moving. Syracuse has the ability to be successful on the ground as well but Wake’s rush defense which is allowing just 110 ypg could prove difficult. Wake Forest did give up a season high 201 yards on 5.9 ypc to NC State last week but the Wolfpack have more of a power style ground attack. What may be more important is that the Deacons held up tempo Indiana to 115 yards on 3.6 ypc and in the process ended IU starting running back Devine Redding’s five-game streak of 100+ yards.
While preventing Syracuse from playing up-tempo isn’t going to happen, the weather conditions should curb it and the effectiveness of their passing game. That will be enough for the Wake Forest ground game and defense to take charge in this game. Power ratings suggest Wake Forest should be -4.5 so the price seems fair enough to recommend a play on the host Demon Deacons.