College Football Handicapping: Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Syracuse Orange Thursday Night Predictions

Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Syracuse Orange
Thursday, 9/1/11, 8:00 PM EST
Opening Point Spread:  Syracuse -6
Current Betting Line:  Syracuse -6.5
Opening Total:  49.5
Current Total:  50
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Wake Forest QB Tanner Price will direct the offense in 2011

Wake Forest is ready to put its disappointing 3-9 overall record and 1-7 mark during ACC behind them last year and start anew under 11th year head coach Jim Grobe.  “I’ve got a feeling we’re not a cocky group right now,” commented Grobe during the offseason.  “Our kids are embarrasses of what happened last year.”  The Demon Deacons started the year off in style by scoring by scoring over 50 points in their opening two games against Presbyterian (53-13) and Duke (54-48) before dropping nine games in a row.  The program snapped the losing streak with a 34-13 road win over Vanderbilt as five-point underdogs to end the year.  Wake Forest is 3-8 ATS on the road the last two years.

The Demon Deacons will be looking to accomplish something it’s never done in the program’s history Thursday night, which is win a game indoors.  Wake Forest is 0-3 all-time in dome games and last played such a contest when traveling to Tulane in 1995.  This is just the second meeting between the two schools, as Grobe’s squad rallied behind former quarterback Riley Skinner in a 20-10 victory in 2006.  Offensively, the team possesses a major weapon in junior wide receiver Chris Givens, who was named to the watch list of the Fred Biletnikoff Award.  He has 80 career receptions for 1,143 yards and 12 touchdowns.  It will be imperative that quarterback Tanner Price gets him the football.

Syracuse capped a successful 2010 campaign by winning a 36-34 contest in the Pinstripe Bowl over the Kansas State Wildcats as one-point favorites.  It was a definitive turnaround season in finishing the year with an 8-5 record, which followed a disappointing 3-9 season.  Junior quarterback Ryan Nassib is back under center and has many Big East insiders expecting him to possibly be the league’s best signal caller in 2011.  Syracuse is 5-3 ATS as a favorite and 6-1 ATS in September over the last two seasons.

The Orange open up the season with a very favorable schedule with two home games before traveling across the country to face off against the USC Trojans on Sept. 17.  That contest will be followed by two more games inside the Carrier Dome, including the conference opener against Rutgers.  Head coach Doug Marrone plans to put Nassib in the shotgun formation more often in 2011, something that he did as an offensve coordinator for the New Orleans Saints when coaching Drew Brees.  On the other side of the ball, six starters return to a 4-3 defensive scheme that ranked as one of the best in the nation, but inexperience may show early on.

Bettors will be interested in backing the Orange due to their 14-10 ATS mark over the last two years, while the Demon Deacons are 2-5 ATS in September.

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