Syracuse Orange vs. Louisville Cardinals Pick ATS
Syracuse Orange (1-7 SU, 4-4 ATS) vs. Louisville Cardinals (2-6 SU, 3-4-1 ATS)
When: Friday, November 20, 7 p.m.
Where: Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, Ky.
Point Spread: SYR +18/LOU -18 (Lay -105 instead of -110!)
Total: O/U 56.5
Typically, this would be a fun matchup to watch in November or December. Unfortunately, we’re not talking about basketball with these two schools. Instead, we’ve got a sad matchup of two relatively poor football teams that probably wish the season had never taken place. Syracuse coach Dino Babers has to be relieved that he’s not coaching for his job after a 1-7 start, but the reality is that there’s very little reason for the Orange to hope for anything positive to come from the rest of this season. Louisville is probably their last chance to get another win, as they’re highly unlikely to get anything out of hosting N.C. State or traveling to Notre Dame.
On the other hand, Louisville has to be one of the most aggravating teams in the country to try to get a read on. The Cardinals have shown that they can play at a reasonably high level by challenging Notre Dame in a 12-7 loss, but they’ve also managed to get whipped by Georgia Tech, something not even Syracuse experienced. The Yellow Jackets proved the only win so far for the Orange, but the Cardinals barely belonged on the same field with them. Outside of that game and a rout of Florida State, this year’s been mostly near misses that have served to remind Louisville how close and yet how far they are from being a real contender in the ACC. Can they muster enough motivation to handle Syracuse?
How the Public is Betting the Syracuse/Louisville Game
Syracuse might be 1-7, but the public is not buying this line. Sixty-four percent of tickets have come in on the Orange, and the line has ticked down a point from -18.5. The total has also fallen, dropping from 57 to 56.5.
Offensive lineman Qadir White (undisclosed) is out indefinitely. Offensive lineman Anthony Red (undisclosed), defensive back Trill Williams (lower body), and quarterback Rex Culpepper (undisclosed) are questionable, while offensive lineman Wil Froumy (lower body), defensive lineman Latarie Kinsler (undisclosed), and defensive back Eric Coley (foot) are out indefinitely. Quarterback Tommy DeVito (heel) is out for the season.
Running back Hassan Hall is probable with an undisclosed issue. Running back, Javian Hawkins opted out of the season for personal reasons. Defensive lineman Yaya Diaby (undisclosed), defensive lineman Tabarious Peterson (illness), punter Ryan Harwell (illness), defensive lineman Micah Bland (undisclosed), defensive back Chandler Jones (undisclosed), defensive lineman Derek Dorsey (undisclosed), and wide receiver Chatarius Atwell (undisclosed) are all questionable.
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When Syracuse Has the Ball
The big question for Syracuse: who is going to quarterback this team? The Orange are on their third quarterback this season after the offensive line couldn’t keep Tommy DeVito upright (20 sacks on the season and a heel injury), and Rex Culpepper both face an undisclosed issue and can’t stop turning the ball over (seven interceptions on 112 passing attempts). So the job might well fall to last week’s starter JaCobian Morgan, who wasn’t great against Boston College but was serviceable, keeping the Orange in the contest.
However, the running game isn’t getting anywhere near enough done for Syracuse to have real success. Sean Tucker only managed 52 yards on the ground against the Eagles, and if a team can’t run the ball and has an inexperienced quarterback, it’s never a good combination. The Orange are basically reliant on their defense to create mistakes and set them up with short fields because they don’t have the personnel needed to put up points.
When Louisville Has the Ball
This game would have been set up perfectly for Javian Hawkins. Unfortunately for Louisville, the running back bailed on the on the season to focus on the NFL Draft, so the Cardinals are down their best weapon for a game against a team that gives up 223 yards a game on the ground. That means one of two options here: putting the ball in the hands of third-string running back Maurice Burkley and letting him try to fill Hawkins’ role, or going with a heavy dose of quarterback Malik Cunningham.
Cunningham has actually made quite a few plays with his legs this year, averaging 4.5 yards per carry and scoring five touchdowns on the season. However, the Louisville offense can sometimes become too dependent on him, as he’s been sacked 22 times and thrown nine interceptions in part from trying to do too much. With Burkley in the backfield instead of Hawkins, Cunningham might feel the pressure of having the game resting on his shoulders, which could be an extra unexpected burden on the Louisville offense. When Cunningham is able to find time to throw, Louisville’s offense is at its best, as few secondaries possess the ability to stay with either Tutu Atwell or Dez Fitzpatrick, but the Cardinals haven’t been able to find either one enough this season.
Friday games often lend themselves to a lesser team stepping up and catching the favorite by surprise because they’re taking advantage of their shot on national television, and that’s certainly the case with Syracuse. The Orange have covered in four of their past five Friday games, and they’ve been a great bounce-back team, covering in six of their past eight contests after losing the previous week. However, they’ve really struggled to get the job done in Kentucky. None of their past four trips to the Bluegrass State have seen the Orange stay within 17 points of the Cardinals, and only one of their past four trips have seen them even top 20 points.
On the other hand, Louisville tends to play the favorite well and usually gets the job done at home. The Cardinals have covered in five of their past seven games at home and have covered four of their past five when they’ve been favored. They also tend to put up a lot of points in games they should win: the over has hit in each of the past seven where Louisville was favored.
After a chilly start to the week, Friday will be ideal conditions for football, with temperatures in the low 50s and wind gusts moving south-southwest at 10 miles per hour.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
Louisville is the better team, but the Cardinals weren’t playing thato well before they lost Hawkins. Without him, it’s hard to see them covering an 18-point spread against anyone, even an opponent as weak as Syracuse. Plus, last week suggested that the Orange are still playing with some enthusiasm, as they came up with a solid defensive effort against Boston College. I don’t think they can beat Louisville, but this line seems a little high to me. I think it should be around 10 points, and I’ll take the extra eight points and back the Orange here. Bet your pick FREE after scoring a killer 100% real cash bonus offer where you can deposit anywhere from $100 to $1000 and they’ll match you dollar for dollar at BetNow Sportsbook! The BEST bonus we’ve ever seen from a legit online bookie!
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