College Football Pick: Syracuse +6 over Maryland

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 5:00 AM UTC

Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013 5:00 AM UTC

The Maryland Terrapins have an injury depleted offense and a defense that has struggled in the ACC, and look for the Syracuse Orange to take advantage Saturday.

The home favorites are literally in a world of hurt on Saturday, giving legitimate hope to the road underdogs to not only cover but possibly spring an upset as the Syracuse Orange (4-4, 1-2 away) pay a visit to those Maryland Terrapins (5-3, 4-1 home) at Byrd Stadium in College Park, MD at 3:30 ET in a game available on ESPN GamePlan and ESPN3.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Syracuse as a decent underdog for this contest with the current line at +6 with odds of -112.

Maryland did not have much of a chance vs. the Clemson Tigers in its last game, not only because of Clemson’s talent but also because the Terrapins had trouble fielding a starting offense with all of its skill position players beset by injuries! That puts the Terps squarely behind the eight ball as this is not a team that can rely on its defense, not the way it has performed in ACC play.

Conversely, Syracuse played stifling defense vs. Wake Forest last week and this is a big game for the Orange in an attempt to become bowl eligible in that they need two more wins to do so but have an almost certain loss on their slate next week at Florida State, which is shooting for a spot in the BCS Championship Game.

Maryland actually got off to a nice 4-0 start this season in non-conference play while playing well on both side off the ball, but unfortunately just the opposite has been true while going 1-3 inside the ACC since then, with the lone win being a non-covering 27-26 squeaker over Virginia here at home. The Terrapins have averaged just 16.0 points in their four conference games, and injuries have played an amazingly huge part in that.

And we are not talking about missing just one or two starters either as the Terps were incredibly missing all of their offensive skill position players vs. Clemson, playing without starting quarterback C.J. Brown, running back Brandon Ross, tight end Dave Stinebaugh and wide receivers Deon Long and Stefon Diggs! Yes, backup quarterback Caleb Rowe threw for 282 yards, but he also threw two interceptions and Maryland gained only 82 rushing yards (3.3 YPC).

While the offense has an excuse for stumbling in league play, the defense does not as that unit has allowed an ungodly 40.8 points per game in its four conference games, with the fewest points allowed being the 26 in the narrow home escape over a very mediocre Virginia team.

The Terps will receive no sympathy from Syracuse here, as the Orange are probably chomping at the bit to get after this depleted offense after suffocating the Demon Deacons 13-0 last Saturday, holding Wake to a mere 198 yards on a putrid 1.3 yards per rush and 3.2 yards per pass attempt. Syracuse is ranked a very respectable 40th in the country in total defense and that ranking would be higher if not for a 56-0 loss at Georgia Tech two games ago.

Remember though that this is the first year for Syracuse in the ACC and facing the Yellowjackets’ option offense for the first time was a whole new experience for the Orange. They have no such worries vs. the more conventional Maryland attack, so look for the Syracuse defense to more closely resemble the smothering unit from last week, keeping the Orange in this game from start to finish.

Finally, even the Orange offense is capable of improving vs. this Maryland defense, as Syracuse is 34th in the country in rushing offense and the Terrapins are allowing 179.8 rushing yards per game in ACC play, so take the points with Syracuse in a possible upset on Saturday.


College Football Pick: Syracuse +6 (-112)

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