ACC College Football Picks: Louisville Cardinals at Syracuse Orange

Louisville Cardinals at Syracuse Orange
Carrier Dome – Syracuse, New York

Friday, October 3, 2014, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Louisville -6 1/2
Current Line: Louisville -3
Opening Total: 45 1/2
Current Total: 46 1/2
Opening Money Line: Louisville -162 / Syracuse +148
Current Money Line: Louisville -145 / Syracuse +125

Syracuse is a 3 point underdog at home against Louisville Friday night.
Syracuse is a 3 point underdog at home against Louisville Friday night.

While the 4-1 Louisville Cardinals are playing their fourth ACC game already, the 2-2 Syracuse Orange will play their first conference game when the two teams meet Friday night in Syracuse. The two teams used to both be in the Big East before moving to the ACC in the last two seasons The series is tied 6-6 including 3-3 in Syracuse. The Orange won the last meeting 45-26 in Syracuse in 2012.

Louisville is 2-1 in ACC play under coach Bobby Petrino.  The Cardinals have home wins over Miami-(FL) 31-13, Murray State 66-21 and last week against Wake Forest 20-10, plus a road win at Florida International 34-3. The only blemish is a 23-21 loss at Virginia. Louisville is 3-2 ATS and the total is 1-4 this season. The Cardinals were 21 point favorites at home against Wake Forest and the total was 44.

Syracuse is coached by Scott Shafer. The Orange have a home win over Villanova 27-26 in double overtime, and at Central Michigan 40-3. Syracuse has lost two straight games at home to Maryland 34-20 and last week in East Rutherford, New Jersey 31-15 to Notre Dame. The Orange are 1-3 ATS and the total is 1-2-1 this season. Syracuse was a 9.5 point underdog against Notre Dame and the total was 52.

Louisville is outscoring teams 34-14 this season. The Cardinals are #10 in points allowed and #51 in scoring nationally. Louisville is averaging 396 yards per game including 243 passing and 152 rushing yards per game. On defense, the Cardinals are allowing 225 yards per game including 167 passing and 58 rushing yards per game. Louisville is #3 in total defense and #1 in rushing defense nationally. Even the pass defense is #16.  The Cardinals are +2 in turnovers with 13 takeaways. Louisville is averaging 50 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 52. The Cardinals are 45/96 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 17/81. Louisville has forced 19 sacks and allowed 16 this season. The Cardinals are 22/23 scoring in the red zone with 17 touchdowns and opponents are 9/14 with 5 touchdowns. Louisville has a pick six and a kick return for a touchdown, and has allowed a defensive touchdown.

Louisville quarterback Will Gardner is out with a knee injury after missing the Wake Forest game. He has thrown for 798 yards with 8 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Back-up Reggie Bonnafon  has thrown for 357 yards with a passing touchdown and two rushing touchdown. He started last week against Wake Forest.

Running back Dominique Brown has 67 carries for 286 yards and 3 touchdowns, plus 6 catches. Brandon Radcliff has 40 carries for 252 yards and 4 touchdowns, plus 2 catches. L.J. Scott has 19 carries for 147 yards and 2 touchdowns, plus 4 touchdowns. Receiver James Quick has 19 catches for 304 yards and 3 touchdowns. Eli Rogers has 22 catches for 238 yards. Gerald Christian has 15 catches for 210 yards and 2 touchdowns. Receiver DeVante Parker is out indefinitely with a broken foot.

Syracuse is outscoring teams 26-24 this season. The Orange are averaging 451 total yards per game including 218 passing and 233 rushing yards per game. The orange are #25 in rushing nationally. On defense, Syracuse is allowing 375 total yards per game including 256 passing and 119 rushing yards. The Orange are #38 in rush defense nationally. Syracuse is +4 in turnovers with 7 takeaways. The Orange average 63 penalty yards per game and opponents average 74. Syracuse is 25/66 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 28/60. The Orange have forced 13 sacks and has allowed 1 this season. Syracuse is 14/17 scoring in the red zone with 9 touchdowns, and opponents are 10/13 with 5 touchdowns. The Orange have allowed a punt return for a touchdown and a pick six this season and have a pick six.

Syracuse quarterback Terrel Hunt has completed 58.4% of his passes for 782 yards and a touchdown with 2 interceptions, and also has 46 carries for 299 yards and 6 touchdowns. Running back Adonis Ameen-Moore has 33 carries for 208 yards and a touchdown. Prince-Tyson Gully has 40 carries for 280 yards and a touchdown, plus 10 catches. Five Syracuse receivers are listed as questionable or out. Jarrod West has 16 catches for 236 yards.

Louisville is 4-1 ATS on fieldturf, 14-4 in conference games, 20-8 in road games, 5-2 overall, 3-7 after allowing less than 20 points, 3-8 after a straight up win, 4-12 in Friday games, 2-7 after allowing less than 275 total yards, 2-9 after allowing less than 100 rushing yards, and 1-5 in October.

Syracuse is 4-0 ATS after passing more more than 280 yards, 4-1 after scoring less than 20 points, 7-2-1 after failing to cover, 3-1-1 in Friday games, 5-2 after allowing more than 280 passing yards, and 1-4 at home. The underdog is 8-1 ATS in this series recently. The Orange are 6-2 ATS in the last 8 against the Cardinals.

While Louisville has been dominant on defense, the offense has struggled. Syracuse isn’t as good on defense as Wake Forest was last week. I think Bonnafon has a better game and Louisville wins comfortably on the road.

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