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Louisville Cardinals vs. Syracuse Orange Point Spread - Pick ATS

Louisville Cardinals (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) vs. Syracuse Orange (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)
College Football Week 2
Date/Time: Friday, September 9th, 8:00pm
Where: Carrier Dome - Syracuse, NY
TV: ESPN2
by Bob, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com

Point Spread: LOU -14.5 / SYR +14.5
Over/Under Total: OFF

The first week of college football was a good one.  Close calls, upsets, great performances, and great finishes...it was one hell of a start to what appears is going to be a fun 2016 college football season.  Now we head into week two.  The slate for this week is not as glamorous as we saw in week one, but in college pigskin, every game matters, especially if you have plans to be on of the top four that makes it to the playoff. 

Here we have a week two ACC match-up with the Lousiville Cardinals and the Syracuse Orange.  Both teams enter this game with a 1-0 record, but neither team played a true competitive opponent in week one.  Louisville absolutely dominated the University of Charlotte 70-14 and Syracuse covered their spread with a 33-7 win over Colgate.  This week things will be a little different for both teams.  Louisville comes in ranked in the nations top 20 and 14.5 point road favorites over the Orange.  The total points have yet to be set as of Labor Day afternoon.  I am sure the books will start posting this line within the next 24 hours.

Louisville and Syracuse sounds like more of a basketball contest we would get excited about than a football game.  The football series between these two teams started back in 1985 when Syracuse beat the Cardinals 48-0.  Since that time, these two teams have met only thirteen more times and Louisville leads the all time series 8-6 and have won the last two showdowns in dominating fashion.  The Carrier Dome can be a tough place to play, but will that bother Louisville who is the much better team on paper?

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Some think that Louisville can be a dark horse to win the ACC this year.  I think they have a little more work to do and need some more playmakers on offense, but they are still a good team. Quarterback, Lamar Jackson, threw six touchdown passes in the win over Charlotte and he also led the team in rushing with 119 yards on the ground on just 11 carries (10.8 yards a carry).  If he can continue this type of play even against the ACC programs, then maybe just maybe the Cardinals do have a shot to make a run.  The keys to this game against Syracuse is to just play Louisville football.  The Cardinals need to jump out early and not let the Carrier Dome crowd get too amped up.  On offense, other than Lamar Jackson, the Cardinals will need some production from running back Malik Williams and wide out Jamari Staples.  Jackson cannot be a one man show against the ACC, he just cannot.  As for defense, the Louisville defense has played pretty well the last two seasons under defensive coordinator, Todd Grantham.  Louisville will score points.  If the defense can just be serviceable, I see no reason that they not only get a win, but can cover against an outmanned Syracuse team.

At one time, years ago, Syracuse was a pretty good football program.  Don't get me wrong, the Orange are no pushover, but they have not been a true contender in quite some time.  Based on just the first game, the Syracuse defense looks good.  Of course they did not play a team like Louisville, but they only allowed 143 yards against Colgate in week one.  If they can play with this intensity and make things tough on Lamar Jackson and the Cardinals offense, maybe this could be an upset in the making.  On offense, Syracuse will rely on the arm and leadership of sophomore quarterback, Eric Dungey.  Against Colgate, Dungey passed for 355 yards and complete 85% of his pass attempts.  I do not foresee these numbers against Louisville, but it is obvious the kid can play and the coaching staff has faith to let him air it out 40 times.  Question is, will he be allowed to put it in the air that many times against the Cardinals?  I think the key to this game for Syracuse is to slow it down.  Run the ball, throw short passes, and control the clock.  The Orange do not want to get into a shootout with Louisville because then it will get ugly, and fast.  Ball control, play defense, no costly turnovers.

Based on the early action and predictions, the public is all over Louisville.  73% of the action is on the Cardinals and this line could go up even higher as the week goes on.  I am going to play contrarian in this game, just like I did in Houston and Texas this past week....did I mention I am 3-0 on the season? Well, lets keep that trend going.  I am taking Syracuse plus the points.  I would let the week play out because right now the line is 14.5.  Wait til Thursday or Friday and you may can an extra couple of points to play with.

Bob's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Take the Syracuse Orange PLUS the points!!!

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