Contributed by Doc’s Sports Services
The Syracuse Orange will try to keep pace in the competitive Big East title race when they square off against the undefeated Rutgers Scarlet Knights at High Point Solutions Stadium this Saturday afternoon. Kickoff is slated for noon (EST) and the game will be available on ESPN3.com.
Syracuse is 2-3 straight up (1-3-1 against the spread) but 1-0 in conference play after grinding out a 14-13 victory over Pittsburgh last Friday night as one-point home favorite. The total has stayed ‘under’ in its last two games after the Orange managed to score a total of just 24 points.
The Scarlet Knights continued their slow-and-steady climb in the polls with a 19-3 Big East win over Connecticut last Saturday as 7.5-point home favorites. They remained perfect on the year at 5-0 SU and improved to 3-2 ATS. The total has stayed under in three of their four games with a posted line.
The Orange entered their final season in the Big East with high expectations. But a less-than-stellar start with losses in a couple of games they were favored to win has raised some serious doubts about the actual talent level of this team. Quarterback Ryan Nassib has put up some big numbers with 1,552 yards passing and 10 touchdowns, but he has also been picked off six times. Overall, the offense is ranked 17th in the country in average passing yards per game and is racking up 140.6 yards a game on the ground. But this has not translated to points on the scoreboard. Syracuse is ranked 87th in the country in scoring with an average of 24.4 points a game.
Defensively, the Orange have been able to tighten things up over the last few weeks against Minnesota and Pittsburgh after being torched for 42 points by both Northwestern and USC earlier in the season. Overall, this unit is ranked 63rd in points allowed and is giving up an average of 26.2 points a game.
You did not see the betting public jumping on Rutgers’ bandwagon this preseason and they started the year as the No. 5 favorite to win the Big East. But the Scarlet Knights’ 5-0 start is adding more and more people to that bandwagon every week. They have already taken out South Florida and are rolling. Gary Nova has not been spectacular at quarterback but has quickly learned how to manage the game while doing a good job at taking care of the ball. Jawan Jamison has been a force running the ball with 601 yards on 130 carries. Brandon Coleman remains the go-to guy in the passing game with a team-high five touchdown receptions.
The main reason that Rutgers is undefeated and in excellent position for a legitimate run at the conference title is a suffocating defense that is ranked fifth in the nation in points allowed. This unit has given up 13 or fewer points in four of its games and has surrendered a total of 16 points in two conference games.
Betting Odds and Trends from 5Dimes
Point spread: Rutgers -7
Total Line: OFF
The Orange are 3-12-1 ATS in their last 16 games overall and 0-6 ATS in their last six games on the road. The total has stayed under in 11 of their last 15 games against a team with a winning record.
The Scarlet Knights are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games and 8-2 ATS in their last 10 conference games following an ATS win. The total has stayed under in five of their last six home games.
Head-to-head, the favorite in this series is 11-5 ATS in the last 16 meetings and the home team is 9-4 ATS in the last 13. The total has stayed under in four of the last five games.
The Orange are 1-3 both SU and ATS in their last four trips to New Jersey and 2-5 ATS in the last seven matchups overall. The talent gap between the two is as wide as it has been in recent memory, which all points to a Rutgers’ victory at home that covers the one-touchdown spread.
Take # 134 Rutgers (-7) over Syracuse (Noon, Saturday, Oct. 13)
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