The second round of the ACC Conference Tournament kicks off at noon ET when Wake Forest Vs. Syracuse in what will be an offensive thriller. It’s expected to be a tight one as the Demon Deacons opened as a -2 favorite as the nine seed. With defense optional for both teams throughout the course of the season, my prediction is that we see a quick scoring pace that plays friendly towards the over.
Wake Forest Vs. Syracuse Prediction
It seems odd to say the phrase “defense optional” when regards to the Syracuse zone, but that has been the case this whole year as they finished the season ranked 193rd in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency. For a 2-3 zone that is normally built off of length to disrupt opposing looks at the rim, the Cuse actually conceded a completion percentage of 51.2% from deep. That percentage ranks 214th in the nation per TeamRankings, an eye-popping defensive metric.
A lack of length, inability to shift, and overall lack of effort plummeted the Orange’s defensive metrics and that will not fly against a high-powered Wake Forest offense. Especially if star WF guard Tyree Appleby gets going early, commanding the Cuse defensive attention while carving up the insides as an elite scoring threat. Appleby averages 18.8 points per game while shooting 43.6% from the field and 37% from the perimeter.
One concern for our over ticket is that the Wake Forest offense lives and dies through his production as that has been made apparent at the end of the season. When defenses zeroed in on Appleby and forced him into havoc filled situations, Wake Forest crumbled. His turnovers ticked up to 3.4 per game, an unsustainable metric should they want to succeed. Lucky for Wake Forest, Syracuse is disciplined into their zone and can be easily maneuvered to open up lanes for Appleby.
Defense wasn’t the only disappointing metric for the Orange throughout the season as their Offensive Efficiency dipped as well. Still above average per league standards, Syracuse finished 81st in AdjO per Kenpom. They got off to a rough start in the shooting department but turned it on late by shooting over 35% from the perimeter and 46% from the field. They will once again be in a good position to succeed on that end as the Demon Deacons are a weak defensive unit. They finished the season ranked 155th in AdjD.
Wake Forest Vs. Syracuse Prediction: Over 153.5
Wake Forest Vs. Syracuse Odds
With a clear offensive advantage and a potential scoring pace that the Cuse may be unable to match, oddsmakers believe Wake Forest has the slight edge by opening them at -2. Bettors are also backing the Demon Deacons chances to win by taking them up to -2.5 in some shops since the opener. It should be noted that these two teams played in their season finales with the Cuse pulling out the win to the tune of 72-63. Wake Forest was held to 25.6% from the perimeter.
Speaking of offense, oddsmakers opened the total at 153.5 and that is the number I took for my over ticket. That has since ticked up to 154 across most sportsbooks, some even touching 154.5 as of writing. This comes as little to no surprise as both units are poised to find scoring consistency throughout the course of the game. Like Syracuse, Wake Forest is also a poor perimeter unit by allowing opposing offenses to shoot 51.6% from deep.
Wake Forest Vs. Syracuse Key Matchups
Battle on the offensive glass
When it comes to cashing an over ticket, a quick scoring pace and second chance opportunities are our best friends. Focusing more on offensive rebounds aspect, both units have clocked in at below average yet may be poised to improve in that area.
It’s especially tough to rebound against a zone as the Orange will already have bodies near the rim, but the Demon Deacons offensive identity may counteract it. A major reason why I believe my Wake Forest Vs. Syracuse over prediction will cash.
With Appleby commanding a brunt of the defensive attention, this allows the Wake Forest bigs to patrol the paint and fill interior gaps. With the Cuse limiting themselves to one true big man, Wake Forest can flex their size with extra length down low to generate more scoring opportunities.
Take the over at no higher than 156 in what will be a thrilling display of perimeter play from both offensive units.