Wake Forest vs. NC State: Predictions, Odds, Best Bets (1/16/24)

Wake Forest finds itself right on the NCAA Tournament bubble entering a critical road matchup against NC State. Kevin Keatts and the Wolfpack enter Tuesday as a -135 favorite on the moneyline, with the over/under sitting at 150.5 points.

Wake Forest vs. NC State Prediction

NC State is coming off two concerning games — a blowout loss to North Carolina, followed by a narrow win over Louisville that got far too close for comfort toward the end. If the Wolfpack continue playing like the way they have been this past week, the Demon Deacons are in prime position to take advantage.

Despite a 12-4 record, NC State’s only notable win came against Virginia, a team currently well out of the tournament field. Wake Forest is a better team than Virginia, as we saw just days ago, and the Demon Deacons have scored at least 80 points in eight of their last 10 games. With Efton Reid giving Wake Forest a much-needed frontcourt presence and three high-powered scorers on the floor elsewhere, NC State’s defense could have a hard time reining in all of Steve Forbes’ options.

The Wolfpack can win this game by putting together a strong offensive performance of their own, but the offense has been too hit-or-miss against decent teams (52 points vs. Ole Miss, 54 vs. UNC, even 54 vs. Notre Dame) to trust Keatts’ group. Wake Forest moneyline (+110) is the better play.

Wake Forest vs. NC State Prediction: Wake Forest Moneyline (+110)

Wake Forest vs. NC State Odds

NC State is a 1.5-point home favorite, entering at -135 on the moneyline. The over/under is 150.5 points.

NC State had a tough time shaking Louisville over the weekend, and Wake Forest’s offense presents a much tougher challenge. Is home-court advantage enough to give the Wolfpack an edge?

Wake Forest vs. NC State Key Matchups

Here are some key matchups that could impact Wake Forest vs. NC State on Tuesday.

Wake Forest vs. NC State Three-Point Defense

Wake Forest has done a great job of picking its spots from beyond the arc this season, as the Demon Deacons don’t assail opponents from three-point range but are among the most efficient teams in the country from long range. Wake Forest is shooting 38% from three, 20th in the nation, and that should be an asset against an NC State team that sits 247th in opponent three-point percentage.

What makes the Demon Deacons difficult to defend is the ability of each of their big-time scorers to connect from deep. Cameron Hildreth is the team’s most consistent three-point shooter, even on about four attempts per game, while Hunter Sallis and Kevin Miller both shoot at least 38% from beyond the arc. NC State’s defense will be in for a challenge trying to keep tabs on all three players, plus reserve Parker Friedrichsen (43% from three).

NC State Size vs. Efton Reid

Wake Forest has lost just one game since big man Efton Reid became eligible, with the former Gonzaga center averaging 9.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks through nine games. Reid has given Wake Forest a legitimate complement to Andrew Carr in the frontcourt, offering size to a Demon Deacons team that sat well below average in rebounding early in the year. Does NC State have the size to neutralize him?

The Wolfpack don’t have a rebounder who can match Reid, nor do they have any intimidating shot-blockers. NC State does have some size in D.J. Burns and reserve big man Mohamed Diarra, however, with Diarra coming off a breakthrough 11-rebound game against Louisville and potentially staring down increased minutes again to counter Reid.

North Carolina Sports Betting Update

While a formal launch date has not been set, North Carolina sports betting is slated to go live ahead of the 2024 March Madness tournament. More launch details will surface on Jan. 26 when the NC Lottery Commission has their next meeting. In the meantime, major operators such as DraftKings North Carolina and BetMGM North Carolina have already obtained the necessary licenses for sports betting in the state. DraftKings has partnered with NASCAR and BetMGM has partnered with Charlotte Motor Speedway. With these partnerships, both sportsbooks will be able to go live with sports betting in North Carolina the moment that legislators allow them to do so — offering thousands of dollars in new user bonuses for prospective bettors.

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Dan is a lifelong sports fan and graduate of Boston University. He’s covered several sports on Instagram since he was 12 and now writes about everything from betting trends to breaking news for Lineups.

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