The Central Michigan Chippewas are 2-0 ATS thus far but that streak could be in jeopardy as seven-point underdogs visiting the Syracuse Orange in the Carrier Dome.
The home favorites from the ACC could have the advantage Saturday in a matchup of two teams that have yet to fail to cover the point spread through the early going when the Central Michigan Chippewas (1-1, 2-0 ATS) out of the MAC head east to upstate New York to visit the Syracuse Orange (2-0, 2-0 ATS) at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY at 12:30 ET in a game available on ESPN3.
The point spread at Bet365 has Syracuse as a decided home favorite for this contest with the current line at -7 with odds of -110.
Orange Won ACC Opener
Syracuse is stepping back out of conference here after winning its ACC opener over Wake Forest 30-17 here at home last week as a 3½-point favorite. That came on the heels of a 47-0 blowout of Rhode Island of the FCS to open the season, also here in Syracuse. In fact, the Orange are opening up this season with four straight home games.
Central Michigan has also played both of its games at home so far, including having a tough opener vs. Oklahoma State. The Chippewas hung tough in that contest, but they were eventually the losing college football picks 24-13 although they did easily cover the spread as 21-point underdogs. That stiff competition served the Chips well though as they then handled Monmouth of the FCS 31-10 last week.
The Chippewas just barely covered that contest though as 20½-point favorite and they are now stepping up in class against an ACC foe and are hitting the road for the first time this young season.
Syracuse Romped Last Year
Not much was expected from the Orange this season with the Syracuse win total set at only 4 prior to the year, and the fact that this marks the third straight game that they have been favored should mean that they will not be favored much the rest of the season. To their credit though, the Orange have done what they had to do in the favored role thanks to a great running game averaging 230.5 rushing yards per game on 4.9 yards per carry and some stiff defense.
The passing game has been a bit suspect with freshman Eric Dungey under center as he has passed for only 335 yards in two games, but to be fair he has only attempted 30 passes also, completing 18 of them (60.0 percent) with a whopping average of 11.2 yards per attempt with four touchdown passes without an interception.
Dungey seems fully capable of hitting a few more big passes here vs. a Central Michigan passing defense generously allowing 9.3 yards per pass attempt, and that should soften up the Chippewas’ defense enough to again unleash what has been a powerful Syracuse running game.
Remember that the Orange went into Mount Pleasant last season and routed Central Michigan 40-3 thanks to 289 rushing yards and winning the overall yardage battle 464-217, and while the score of this game should be much closer, we still see Syracuse dominating the trenches on both sides of the field and winning by more than a touchdown.
Lack of Running Game Costly?
Central Michigan also had low expectations this year and they have surpassed them so far, especially with the game effort vs. Oklahoma State. However, the Chippewas have been one-dimensional to this point with quarterback Cooper Rush posting good numbers completing 68.8 percent of his passes for 553 yards and three touchdowns but the running game being just about non-existent producing 76 rushing yards per game on 2.5 yards per carry.
Even last week in the win over Monmouth, CMU had only 74 rushing yards on a paltry 2.2 yards per carry vs. an FCS defense, which does not bode well for the Chips vs. a Syracuse team that ranks 11th in the country in the early going in total defense surrendering just 241.5 yards per game.
Love Facing the MAC
Finally, Syracuse regularly schedules games vs. the MAC every year and with good reason, as the Orange are 14-2-1 ATS in their last 17 games vs. the conference. Additionally, Syracuse is 10-4 ATS in its last 14 non-conference games overall, while Central Michigan is 0-6 ATS its last six games vs. the ACC.
Central Michigan may be exceeding preseason expectations so far, but we look for that to change in this matchup with Syracuse winning decisively at home on Saturday.
College Football Pick: Syracuse -7 (-110)