Western Michigan at Syracuse
Time: 11 AM CST Saturday
Spread: SYR -5.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
Syracuse won its week 1 matchup 24-0 over Liberty, but it has come back to earth after Week 2 and 3 losses to actual FBS opponents. Week 2 saw the Orange fall 20-63 to Maryland, and it was defeated 6-41 by No. 1 Clemson in Week 3.
The Orange will host Western Michigan in Week 4 as 5.5-point favorites, as it tries to get back on track at 11 AM CST Saturday on the ACC Network. The game has the over/under set at 65.5 points according to NCAA football oddsmakers at 5dimes.
Syracuse was badly outmanned last week in its loss to Clemson, trailing 17-6 at the half before going scoreless in the second half to fall 6-41 to the No 1 team in the nation. Tommy DeVito threw 15 of 27 for 172 yards, but he had no TD passes and one interception while finishing with a quarterback rating just 5.2. The Orange were ineffective via the rush. On 42 attempts it gained just 15 total yards, and only Abdul Adams 34 yards on 14 attempts and Moe Neal’s 22 yards on nine carries even represented any form of net gains. DeVito rushed 15 times for a total of negative-42 yards on the game.
DeVito is a sophomore and he threw for 525 yards last year as a freshman, but struggled with his accuracy, completing just 50.6 percent of his passes while throwing three interceptions to his four touchdowns. This year, he has more picks (four) than TDs (three), so it is not exactly off to a much better start, though he has increased his completion ratio to 59.4 percent. Even in the win over Liberty, he threw two interceptions and completed just 48.6 percent of his passes.
His best performance actually came in the 20-63 drubbing at the hands of Maryland, as at least he had a 3:1 TD/INT ratio and picked up 330 yards with an outstanding 71.8 percent completion ratio. Though it came in a losing effort, the Orange need DeVito being that aggressive and launching the football because he trusts his running efforts too much without the success to back those decisions.
Western Michigan is 2-1 after defeating Monmouth and Georgia State in Weeks 1 and 3, with a 17-51 loss to Michigan State sandwiched between in Week 2. This week it has a fair chance against a Syracuse team that has had its own struggles. Western Michigan certainly dominated its two weak opponents, though. In the win over Georgia State last week, Jon Wassink threw for 246 yards on 15 of 20 (75 percent) passing with a TD and a passer rating of 95.6. LaVante Bellamy and Sean Tyler had huge weeks out of the backfield with 192 and 138 rushing yards, respectively, and five touchdowns between them.
Wassink rushed four times for 33 yards and a TD, as the Broncos picked up seven rushing touchdowns while amassing 450 rushing yards and a 10.2 yard-per-carry average. Skyy Moore and DaShon Bussell caught six and three passes, respectively, for 97 and 65 yards, while Bussell managed the lone Broncos’ receiving touchdown. This is a team that can move the ball via the pass and the rush, but it has yet to do it against a quality opponent.
With Syracuse representing something “in-between,” how much offense can we expect from the Broncos strong backfield and overall relatively strong receiving core? With 75 percent of bettors at Covers expecting Syracuse to cover, there does not seem to be massive belief that the Broncos are the team it appeared to be against its non-FBS scheduled opponents.
ATS TRENDS (C/o Covers):