ACC action here as the Louisville Cardinals travel to New York to take on the Syracuse Orange. The two teams are trending in exactly opposite directions, as Syracuse has shot up the rankings to number 13 in the country, while Louisville has suffered through several humiliating losses in a row. Louisville’s defense has been a dumpster fire, and oddsmakers don’t expect them to be competitive here, installing Syracuse as 21 point favorites.
Louisville Falling Apart At The Seams
To say the post-Lamar Jackson era in Louisville has been a disaster would be a massive understatement. It became clear this year just how much Jackson had been carrying this Cardinals team, as they’ve limped to a 2-7 record. They also lost cornerback Jaire Alexander, another first round pick, to the NFL, and plenty of other talent as well.
The defense has been one of the worst in the nation, giving up 56 points or more in three out of their last four games. It’s been such a bad season, that many are putting coach Bobby Petrino firmly on the hot seat.
The Cardinals lost by 18 to Boston College, 21 to Wake Forest, and 61 to Clemson in their past three games. Because of their inability to play clean games and not get behind big early, Louisville has been unable to run the ball, averaging only 3.4 yards per carry.
"Well, at least he isn't anywhere near the dual threat Lamar was."
Jawon Pass: pic.twitter.com/GOgsmTBYj9
— Chris Person (@RivalsChris) January 11, 2018
Louisville hasn’t been much better through the air, with sophomore quarterback Jawon Pass throwing only seven touchdowns and ten interceptions this year. That being said, Pass has been showing signs of improvement recently, and could have some success here against a Syracuse pass defense that ranks 111th in the nation in passing yards per game allowed.
Orange Crushing It
The Orange have come out of nowhere to suddenly find themselves ranked thirteenth in the country. Just a couple of weeks ago the program was in turmoil after suffering two straight losses. Senior quarterback Eric Dungey was on the verge of getting benched, and freshman Tommy DeVito was starting to get some playing time.
Then Syracuse magically turned it around, and has rattled off three straight wins. The Orange have a pretty balanced offense that can beat you on the ground and through the air. Dungey is one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the country, and leads the team in both passing and rushing.
Despite Syracuse’s recent win streak, there’s reason to think it might be fraudulent. In their 17 point win over Wake Forest last week, they were actually out-gained both in terms of total yardage and in yards per play. Dungey only averaged an anemic 4.5 yards per pass attempt, and the team only won by 17 because of a few fluke Wake Forest turnovers in their own territory. The other two wins in the streak were a three point double overtime win over Syracuse and a 10 point home win against N.C. State. Something smells fishy about the streak, and I wouldn’t declare just yet that Syracuse is all the way back.
- 1-5-2 ATS vs. a team with a losing record
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I like Louisville a lot here. I think Syracuse’s recent winning streak is very phony, and in no way shape or form are they a top 15 team. Louisville has been blown out a few times recently, but their offense is starting to build some momentum finally. Syracuse will undoubtedly score a lot, but I think the Cardinals will be able to keep pace and limit the final margin.
Prediction: Louisville +21
Full-Game Total Pick
Simply put, no total is high enough for this game. Both of these defenses are absolute sieves, and both offenses are in a groove. Both teams tend to play in shootouts that often have final scores in the 90’s, and I don’t see why this game would be any different.
Half-Time Side Pick
I like Louisville even more in the first half here. The Cardinals will have such a bad taste in their mouth from their last few beatdowns, that they will come out extra motivated here. They’ll be looking to start strong, and should have some success offensively. Syracuse will come out sluggish from their recent big wins, and Louisville will easily cover the first half here.
Half-Time Total Bet
This game should be a barnburner right from the start. Both teams like to run very aggressive, fast-paced offenses with mobile quarterbacks, and the clock should be stopping a ton early on. Both offenses will have immediate success, and this game will go soaring over the first half total.