The high-scoring Louisville Cardinals started last week as strong 13-point favorites over the Syracuse Orange, and more than lived up to it in a 34-point victory. This week against another strong offensive team in the USF Bulls?
SU begins as a 12.5-point underdog, their second straight week as a double-digit home ‘dog.
USF is 2-0 on the season so far, and has scored an average of 52 points per game in wins over Towson (FCS) and Northern Illinois, respectively. That sort of production should be a little frightening to a Syracuse defense that allowed 62 points last week -- especially when the Bulls are now grabbing more votes in the polls. Last year, South Florida put up 45 on the Orange down in Tampa, before the team really took off.
The big issue for Syracuse this time around, like last time, will be stopping USF quarterback Quinton Flowers. A dual-threat like previous SU opponent Lamar Jackson, Flowers has 528 passing yards and six scores to go with 99 yards and another two TDs on the ground. The issues that plagued the team last week against Louisville are likely to repeat themselves in some form yet again.
So the key for the Orange is the offense, obviously, with the defense looking banged up AND needing more time to continue its adjustment to the Tampa-2. We saw some glimmers of hope as the team put up 28 against a top-15 team in Louisville. Will scoring points on the Bulls be enough to make up the 12.5-point line, or even win the game outright if they can’t stop anyone?
The over/under on this one should be fun once it’s set. Last week’s was 69 (nice.) for SU-Louisville and the two teams had no problems far out-pacing that number. This game could easily come in around the 75 mark or higher. You should still probably bet the over.
We’ll keep an eye on the line as the week goes on and see where it moves, if at all. No matter where it falls, SU will certainly have its hands full come Saturday.