Vegas Betting Odds & Free College Football Pick: Louisville vs Syracuse

After keeping their bowl hopes alive with a win last week, the Syracuse Orange face another must-win game as they hit the road to take on the Louisville Cardinals. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:00 EST on Saturday, November 23 at Cardinal Stadium in Louisville, Kentucky. Fans can find the game on the ACC Network.

Oddsmakers list the Cardinals as 9-point favorites at home with an over/under of 62 points. Click here to check out all of this week’s college football betting odds.

Louisville vs Syracuse Vegas Game Preview & Betting Odds

It’s been a difficult season for the Orange after last year’s 10-win campaign. However, Syracuse was able to snap a four-game losing streak with a convincing 49-6 road win over Duke last week. The win got them to 4-6 on the season and kept their slim bowl hopes alive. The Orange still has to beat both Louisville on the road and Wake Forest at home to qualify for a bowl game. Syracuse figures to be underdogs in both games, giving them a tough road to get back to a bowl game in consecutive years for the first time since 2012 and 2013.

On the other hand, Louisville sealed their bowl fate last week with a win over NC State to get them to 6-4. At the start of the season, the Cardinals looked like a long shot to play in a bowl game and were a trendy pick to finish last in the ACC Atlantic. But Scott Satterfield has done a tremendous job in his first season at Louisville, surpassing all expectations. With a win on Saturday, the Cardinals can wrap up second place in the ACC Atlantic and guarantee a winning record with both a rivalry game against Kentucky and a bowl game left to play.

Before these teams both joined the ACC, they saw one another on a yearly basis as members of the Big East. Going back to their first meeting as conference foes in 2005, Louisville has won nine of their 13 head-to-head games with Syracuse. The Orange blasted the Cardinals 54-23 last season, although they haven’t won a game in Louisville since 2007.

Free NCAA Football Pick Against the Spread: Louisville -9

Syracuse certainly has a reason to be optimistic after a convincing road win over Duke last week. Coming off their best performance of the season, the Orange might have a shot to win this game. However, Louisville has been the more consistent and reliable team this season. With the spread in the single digits, I trust the Cardinals to pull away just enough to win by double digits and cover.

For most of the season, the Cardinals have been carried by their rushing attack, which has been led by Javian Hawkins. However, the Louisville offense took a nice step forward last week against NC State, scoring 34 points without much production from their running game. To be fair, the Cardinals started slowly with just seven points at halftime. However, Micale Cunningham stepped up and threw four touchdown passes. Cunningham also played the whole game without Louisville turning to Evan Conley, indicating that Cunningham is becoming a lot more than just a mobile quarterback.

Of course, the threat of the run is still there with the Cardinals. If they can dominate the game with Hawkins and their rushing attack, they’ll be more than happy to do so. That scenario isn’t out of the question in this week’s game. While the Syracuse defense did a good job of stopping the run against Duke last week, the Orange has been vulnerable against good rushing teams this season. If Syracuse has to sell out to stop the run, it could open up things for Cunningham in the passing game for the second straight week.

On the other side of the ball, I’ll admit to being a little concerned with the Louisville defense. For all that Satterfield has accomplished in his first season at the helm, the Cardinals still have a lot of work on that side of the ball. On the season, they have given up a few more points than they’ve scored. Five of their seven ACC opponents have scored at least 35 points against Louisville. In fact, outside of FCS opponent Eastern Kentucky, every team has scored at least 20 points against the Cardinals this year.

That being said, I’m still unsure if the Syracuse offense can take full advantage of the holes in the Louisville defense. Obviously, last week’s win over Duke was a step in the right direction. But the Orange has been plagued by problems on the offensive line all season. They’ve struggled to run the ball and keep quarterback Tommy DeVito protected against most of their ACC opponents, so I’m not sure if they’ll be able to run wild against Louisville the way they did against Duke last week.

Ultimately, one good performance by Syracuse last week isn’t enough to push me in their direction. I’m not convinced the Orange will be able to score much more than 20 points against the Cardinals. That should afford the Louisville offense enough time to create a 10-point cushion and cover the spread.

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