The Louisville Cardinals travel to face the Syracuse Orange on Friday, October 3rd in ACC action. These teams have split each of the last six meetings with the Orange winning most recently in 2012 by a final of 45-26 at home.

Louisville (4-1, 2-1 ACC) is coming off a 20-10 home victory over Wake Forest last week. Syracuse (2-2, 0-0 ACC) will be looking to bounce back from two straight losses in its ACC opener. It fell to Maryland 20-34 at home prior to losing to Notre Dame 15-31 last week.

Kickoff inside the Carrier Dome is scheduled for 7:00 EST Friday night with ESPN providing the television coverage. If you are looking to place a bet on this game, then you will find Louisville listed as a 2.5-point favorite over Syracuse with a total set of 48.5 points.

My Early Lean: Louisville -2.5

The Cardinals are off to a great start this season under Bobby Petrino. They have already gone 2-1 in ACC play with wins over Miami (31-13) and Wake Forest (20-10). They are only a two-point loss at Virginia (21-23) away from being undefeated this season. That Virginia team has proven to be a very good one this year as it nearly upset both UCLA and BYU. The 10-point win over Wake Forest was a much bigger blowout than the final score would indicate as the Cardinals outgained them by 321 total yards.

Syracuse was fortunate to escape with a 27-26 overtime win in its opener against FCS foe Villanova as it was outgained by 69 total yards in that contest. The 20-34 loss to Maryland wasn’t bad because the Orange pretty much gave that game away, but the 15-31 loss to Notre Dame shows that this team is clearly down in 2014.

The Louisville offense gets better with each week as these players become more familiar with Petrino’s system. What has really impressed me about the Cardinals is their defense, which is only giving up 14.0 points and 225.2 yards per game to rank 3rd in the country in total defense.

The Orange love to run the football as they are averaging 232 yards per game and 5.7 per carry this season. That makes this a great matchup for the Cardinals, who are only giving up 58 rushing yards per game and 2.0 per carry. They have one of the best defensive lines in the country. They held Miami to 70 yards on 27 carries, Virginia to 114 yards on 40 carries, FIU to 88 yards on 40 carries, and Wake Forest to -22 yards on 23 carries. Stopping the run will not be a problem for them in this one.

The Orange love to run the football as they are averaging 232 yards per game and 5.7 per carry this season. That makes this a great matchup for the Cardinals, who are only giving up 58 rushing yards per game and 2.0 per carry.

Plays on road favorites (LOUISVILLE) – after allowing 14 points or less last game against opponent after allowing 31 points or more in 2 straight games are 42-14 (75%) ATS over the last five seasons. The Cardinals are 14-4 ATS in their last 18 conference games. Louisville is 20-8 ATS in its last 28 road games. Syracuse is 1-4 ATS in its last five home games. The Orange are 1-5 ATS in their last six following a double-digit home loss.