After playing in two of the first three Pinstripe Bowls, Syracuse football is back for the 12th edition of the game and are heavy underdogs in the odds against the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

The game takes place from Yankee Stadium in New York City on Thursday, Dec. 29. Kickoff is at 2 p.m. ET.

Syracuse (7-5) and Minnesota (8-4) come into the game on different trajectories. The Orange started the season 6-0, climbing as high at No. 14 in the polls, before then losing five in a row. They won their final game at Boston College, 32-23, to secure their first winning season since 2018.

The Golden Gophers started 4-0 then lost three-straight games before finishing strong by winning four of their final five contests. They are going bowling for a third-straight year.

Syracuse Healthy Again but Don’t Have Tucker for Pinstripe Bowl

Following the 6-0 start and a narrow loss at then-No. 5 Clemson, the Orange lost quarterback Garrett Shrader during the loss to Notre Dame and he either didn’t play or wasn’t 100% in lopsided losses at Pittsburgh and vs. Florida State.

The offense returned to its early-season form in its final two games. Syracuse scored 35 in a loss at Wake Forest and then topped the 30-point mark again at BC.

But hopes for a full Orange offense went out the window when running back Sean Tucker declared for the NFL Draft and announced he would be skipping this game. He leaves Syracuse as its third-leading rusher in program history with 3,182 yards and owns the single-season record with 1,496 set in 2021.

Shrader is a dual-threat quarterback and will have to establish both the run and the pass to keep the Gophers’ defense guessing. Oronde Gadsden II will also have to have a big game, and he comes into the Pinstripe Bowl as the Orange’s leading receiver with 891 yards and six touchdown grabs.

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Minnesota’s Defense Is on a Roll

It won’t be easy for Shrader and the Orange’s offense against a Minnesota defense that gave up just 13.3 points per game this year. In their 4-1 stretch to finish the season, they allowed more than 13 points just one time–a 23-16 win at Wisconsin to end the regular season.

Minnesota has allowed 279 yards per game; 173 passing and 105 rushing. The Orange’s overall defense has been good, allowing 339 yards per game, but what could be the difference here is in the running game.

The Gophers average 218 rushing yards per game, and the Orange allow 150 per contest. Minnesota’s rushing game is led by Mohamed Ibrahim, who had 1,594 yards on the year with 19 touchdowns.

Both Teams Riding Bowl-Game Winning Streaks Coming Into Pinstripe Bowl

Minnesota is riding a five-game bowl winning streak, dating back to the Quick Lane Bowl after the 2015 season. Two years ago, they beat Auburn in the Outback Bowl and won the Guaranteed Rate Bowl over West Virginia last year by a score of 18-6.

Syracuse has won four bowl games in a row and six of their last seven, which dates back to the Music City Bowl after the 1999 campaign. Included in that streak is two Pinstripe Bowl wins and a Texas Bowl victory over Minnesota in 2013.

Pinstripe Bowl Odds: Under-manned Syracuse a Double-Digit Underdog

The Orange were touchdown underdog when the game was announced on Dec. 4, but since Tucker announced that he wouldn’t be playing in this game, the spread has risen to double digits. Here’s where things stand at FanDuel.

Syracuse Orange+1042+300
Minnesota Golden Gophers-1042-385

The key to this game will be whether Syracuse can stop Ibrahim, who ran for over 100 yards in 11 of 12 games this season. His high for the year was a 263-yard output against Iowa, but the Gophers lost that game 13-10.

After getting healthy again, Shrader averaged over 300 yards in the two games against Wake Forest and Boston College. He will have to be sharp in the passing game to keep the Orange in this one. Regardless of the outcome, our confidence in a low-scoring game is high.

Prediction: Minnesota 20, Syracuse 14 (SYR +10, UNDER 42)

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