Syracuse Orange vs. Louisville Cardinals
Friday, November 20, 2020 – 7:00 PM EST at Cardinal Stadium
The Louisville Cardinals came into the 2020 season with higher expectations behind second year coach Scott Satterfield. It hasn’t gone as planned, but I’m giving every coach the benefit of the doubt this season due to the pandemic. This isn’t easy. Louisville lost four of their last five games and just broke news that the number one running back, Javian Hawkins as opted out of the rest of the season to prepare for the NFL draft. That’s killer news after Hawkins ran for 822 yards on 133 carries for seven touchdowns.
Louisville is 2-6 but maybe that record doesn’t show much. Louisville lost a 12-7 game to Notre Dame earlier this season. They lost a seven-point game to Virginia Tech and lost a two-score game to Virginia. I’m not saying Louisville is good, I’m just saying they hang around. Now they get an opponent like the Syracuse Orange, who are 1-7 with their lone win coming against Georgia Tech.
Syracuse hasn’t hung around against teams this season, except two weeks ago. Their last game was against Boston College and Syracuse ended up just losing 16-13. We’ve now seen Boston College “hang” around against Clemson and Notre Dame this season. Going into the season, the expectation was that the defense would be solid while the offense would rally behind quarterback Tommy DeVito.
Well, now Syracuse is onto their third quarterback in freshman Jacobian Morgan, who threw for 188 yards, one touchdown, and an interception against Boston College. He’s slated to get the start in this game. The Syracuse offense has been miserable all season long. They’ve scored just 18.3 points per game and have just 263.8 yards of offense per game. The Orange haven’t been effective running the ball, gaining just 86 yards of offense per game.
Then, on defense, the Orange have allowed 464.3 yards per game and have allowed 223.5 yards per game on the ground. Meanwhile, Louisville averagges 201.6 yards of offense on the ground per game and they can exploit the Syracuse defense in many areas. Butt Morgan will have his chances to make plays as Louisville has allowed nearly 400 yards of offense per game. However, the Cardinals secondary hasn’t been bad; it's been the run game that has looked poor. Of course, Syracuse hasn’t been effective running the ball at all this season.
Syracuse has had trouble with their run block all season long while Louisville has struggled to get many stops on defense. You can make an argument that Syracuse has played better defense this season, especially when it comes to coverage. Without their lead running back, Louisville might struggle offensively. Syracuse hasn’t been great offensively but they can hold their own on defense. The Orange have kind of been hit with poor field position on defense to begin drives. On the betting websites, the total on this game seems a bit high.
Purdue Boilermakers vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers
Friday, November 20, 2020 – 7:30 PM EST at TCF Bank Stadium
Are we getting tired of Minnesota on Friday night? I am…
Anyway, Minnesota will welcome the Purdue Boilermakers to town for a 7:30pm EST kick off on Friday. And again, it looks like Minnesota is being overvalued for whatever reason. The Golden Gophers are 1-3 on the season and have allowed 35.8 points per game along with 447.3 yards of offense allowed on the defensive side of the ball.
Minnesota has shown solid offense at times, averaging 407.5 yards per game and scoring 29 points per game. However, the Golden Gophers scored just seven points against Iowa and were almost shut out last Friday. Tanner Morgan has thrown for 769 yards with four touchdowns but has also thrown four interceptions. It was supposed to be a breakout season for Morgan. Not so fast.
Minnesota has run the ball well with 215.3 yards per game on the ground behind Mohamed Ibrahim, who has 715 yards on the ground for 10 touchdowns. He’s averaging 5.5 yards per carry, which is exceptional. Purdue is currently 2-1 on the season after a stinging loss to the Northwestern Wildcats, 27-20. Before that loss, Purdue had already beat Iowa and Illinois by one score each.
Purdue has struggled to run the ball this season with just 63.7 yards per game on the ground. But the reality is, they’ve faced some of the better rushing defenses in the league to start the season. Purdue will absolutely average more rushing yards in this game. The Boilermakers haven’t been great on defense either. They’ve allowed 408 yards per game and 150 yards on the ground per game this season. Minnesota will be excited knowing they can get Ibrahim in space again.
When it comes down to it, Minnesota likely has the better offense. The run game can really take off against Purdue. However, Purdue, behind Aidan O’Connell, likely has the better passing offense. He has seven touchdowns and two interceptions in three games this season.
While neither team has been efficient pass blocking, Minnesota has been excellent run blocking this season. The run defense for Purdue hasn’t lived up to expectations early and that’s a spot where Minnesota can exploit.
Minnesota will surprise some folks in this game with their run attack and win a big conference game at home. Look for them in the top sportsbooks.
NCAAF Pick: Minnesota at +3 (-110) at BetOnline