NCAA Football Odds Predict Tight Battle in Louisville/Syracuse

Darin Zank

Monday, September 29, 2014 7:25 PM GMT

The Louisville-Syracuse game Friday night involves a road favorite/home dog betting situation. Which way should be go with our free College Football pick on this contest?

The Betting Odds
As of Monday morning most sportsbooks were listing Louisville at -2.5 points for Friday night's game over Syracuse, although a few outlets were offering the Orange at +3 as a potential College Football pick

Syracuse could also be gotten at +140 on the money line at Pinnacle to win this game outright.

 

The Match-Up
Louisville, with just 11 starters back from a team that went 12-1 last year, none named Bridgewater, opened its second run under Coach Petrino with a 31-13 victory over Miami (Fla.), covering as a six-point favorite. The Cardinals then beat up on Murray State 66-21, covering at -35. But Louisville then began ACC play with a 23-21 loss at Virginia as a four-point road favorite, falling on a field goal with four minutes to go.

Two weeks ago Louisville beat Florida International 34-3, cashing in at -25, and last week the Cardinals beat Wake Forest 20-10 but came nowhere close to covering at -21. Louisville outgained the Demon Deacons 421-100 and held them to -22 yards rushing (with help from seven sacks), but lost three fumbles, got called for 11 penalties, missed two field goals and got stuffed on a fake punt. That's how you only beat Wake Forest by 10 points.

On the other side of this match-up Syracuse, with 15 starters back from a team that went 7-6 last year, opened this season with a near-miracle 27-26 victory over Villanova, whiffing totally on the spread as a 14-point favorite. The Orange then went to Central Michigan and won 40-3, easily covering as four-point favorites. They then lost at home to Maryland 34-20 as two-point favorites, and last week lost to Notre Dame at MetLife Stadium 31-15, missing the cover as a 10-point dog.

Syracuse outgained the Terrapins by 200 yards, racked up 370 yards on the ground, but gave up one score on a 90-yard pass play and another on a 88-yard interception return. Then last week the Orange got outgained by the Irish by 100 yards and couldn't take advantage of five Notre Dame turnovers.

Actually, that's not exactly true; Syracuse returned one Irish turnover for a touchdown. But the Orange defense also allowed Notre Dame QB Everett Golson to complete 25 passes in a row at one point. And that yardage differential would have been worse had Syracuse not gained 40 yards on a fake punt.

 

Cardinals-Orange Recent History
These teams used to meet regularly as rivals in the old Big East Conference, right up until last year. The 'Ville had beaten the 'Cuse three times in a row, and six of the last eight, heading into their most recent meeting in 2012, and the Cardinals were favored for that one by a point, also at the Carrier Dome. But the Orange shocked Louisville not by winning, but by winning so easily, 45-26. That game was tied at 10-10 after one quarter, until Syracuse scored the next three touchdowns to take control.

In the end the Orange had outrushed the Cardinals that day 278-48, in handing Louisville just one of its five losses over its last 32 games.

 

Cardinals-Orange Betting Trends
Syracuse has covered the spread in six of the last eight meetings in this series.

Louisville is 4-6-1 ATS in its last 11 games as a road favorite.

These teams are a combined 2-6-1 on the totals this season.

Find out which College Football matches this week have inflated betting odds. 

Cardinals-Orange Free Pick
As the line indicates this one might come down to a field goal, one way or the other. And in that case we'd rather have the three points in our pocket, than the other way around. So we'll go with the Orange, at the +3 offered at The Greek, for our free pick in this spot.  

Free College Football Pick: Syracuse +3 at The Greek

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