Louisville Cardinals (4-1 SU, 3-2 ATS) vs. Syracuse Orange (2-2 SU, 1-3 ATS)
College Football Week 6
Date and Time: Friday, October 3, 7:00pm EST
Where: Carrier Dome - Syracuse, NY
by Bob, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: LOU -2/SYR +2
Over/Under Total: 48.5
Friday night, we have an ACC match-up when the Louisville Cardinals travel to the Carrier Dome to take on the Syracuse Orange. This will be the first ACC contest for Syracuse, while the Cardinals have already played three conference games and sit at a 2-1 record. The line opens with Louisville favored by two points on the road, and the over under is set at 48.5. At 2-1 in the ACC, the Cardinals are 2nd place in the Atlantic Division of the ACC. A win for Syracuse would be a great start to their ACC schedule in a season that they are not picked to do very much. In many people’s opinion, Louisville is the much better team, but the Carrier Dome is not an easy place to play.
The Louisville Cardinals come into this game with an overall record of 4-1, while they sit at 2-1 in the ACC. The Cardinals are picking up just where they left off from last season, and many people did not see this coming. The graduation to the NFL of Teddy Bridgewater made many feel this offense would not click and have issues getting on the board in the ACC. The offense has not been amazing, but after four games, the Cardinals defense is actually ranked in the top five in the nation. Giving up only 14 points per game, the Louisville defense has played much better than expected. First year defensive coordinator, Todd Grantham, has this team playing pretty solid defense, and of course head coach Bobby Petrino has the offense doing enough to win. The offense is averaging almost 35 points a contest, and if this continues along with the solid defensive play, I can see the Cardinals making a real case to win their division and make a run at an ACC title. Sophomore quarterback, Will Gardner is no Teddy Bridgewater, but his first season as a starter has started out pretty well. Gardner has already thrown for 798 yards and 8 touchdowns. No these are not Heisman type numbers, but it shows that you have to take this Cardinals passing threat seriously. He missed last week and is questionable this week. If he’s not able to go, Freshamn QB Reggie Bonnafaon would get the start again.
The running game has been led by two solid backs. Dominique Brown and Brandon Radcliff have contributed over 500 yards rushing and seven touchdowns on the ground. The key to this game for Louisville is to score early. Plain and simple…get the offense clicking and they can win this game and cover as well. Quiet the home crowd early can make their trip to the Carrier Dome much easier than it is for most teams.
Syracuse playing at home can always cause issues for the opposing team. Even though the Orange just lost last week to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish by a score of 31-15, they were able to force five turnovers, and if they can have this same success and result against Louisville, I do not think the Cardinals will be as lucky as the Irish. Syracuse has yet to have that signature win over a quality opponent this season. Their two losses have come at the hands of Villanova and Central Michigan which are teams that an ACC team are expected to have no issues with. Statistically, the Orange need some work. They are currently ranked 81st in passing offense, 88th in points scored, and 56th in scoring defense. In order to be able to hang with Louisville, the Orange will need to improve in these areas and have a good game. The home crowd in the Carrier Dome is always a great advantage, and if Syracuse can keep this game close, I can see them pulling off this minor upset. Syracuse has only been able to cover one spread this season, and many would believe that this spread should be more than two points in favor of the Cardinals. Something tells me that Vegas knows something we do not.
Bob’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Like I said earlier, the Louisville Cardinals are favored by only two points on the road at Syracuse. Many, including myself, feels that on paper, the Cardinals should be favored by a touchdown or two in this game, but the line has then a lot closer. The last two times these teams faced off, the favorite covered easily, and in both of those games, the home team covered. I fell for a few traps lately… the Falcons at Minnesota comes to mind immediately, but I know there have been more spreads that seemed to good to be true that I lost. I will not fall for this again. Louisville is good, but they are not THAT good. Take the home team, the Syracuse Orange to win this game, or at least stay close enough to cover the spread. I like a one point win for someone. I like it even more if Bonnafon gets the nod at QB. PICK THE SYRACUSE ORANGE +2 POINTS!