After a tough loss at No. 5 Clemson, No. 16 Syracuse has to bounce back quickly when they host Notre Dame this Saturday at noon at the JMA Wireless Dome as the odds-on favorite.
The Orange’s hopes for their first ACC football championship took a major blow in a 27-21 loss to Clemson last week. While the then-No. 14 Orange had a 21-7 lead in the second quarter after a major shift in momentum following a turnover and a 90-yard fumble return by Ja’Had Carter, Syracuse could not put points on the board in the second half, and Will Shipley was the first running back to solve the Orange’s defense all season in the Tigers’ narrow victory.
We’ll see how the Orange (6-1) respond to adversity after losing for the first time this season when they play another high-profile opponent this Saturday.
After an 0-2 start following losses at Ohio State and home to Marshall, Notre Dame (4-3) has won four of its last five, which includes a 45-32 victory at North Carolina that handed the ACC Coastal Division leaders its only loss of the season.
Odds: Syracuse Favored Over Notre Dame for the First Time
Despite the loss, Syracuse seems to have gained some respect nationally, as the visiting Fighting Irish are 3-point underdogs. In their eighth meeting, this is the first time that the Orange are favored by the oddsmakers.
Here’s a look at the spread, over-under total, and moneyline odds from BetMGM for Notre Dame vs. Syracuse.
|Notre Dame Fighting Irish||+3||47.5||+125|
This number has been bouncing between 2.5 and 3.5, so if you’re betting on the Orange, shop for 2.5. If you’re going for Notre Dame in the upset, try to get at least 3; 3.5 would be even better to account for a field goal margin.
Key Matchup: Notre Dame’s Run Game vs. Syracuse Defense
The Irish have been slow starters this year (a touchdown against Utah last week was their first TD in the first quarter all season), and the offense is ranked 86th in scoring at 26.6 points per game. The running game, however, got on track against the Utes and is averaging 178 yards per game. That’s almost more than the Irish gain through the air, as the passing average is 207.9 YPG.
The Orange defense was holding teams to under 100 yards per game on the ground, but that number is now 123.3 YPG after Shipley ran for 172 as part of a 294-yard rushing effort by Clemson. Due to Notre Dame’s anemic passing game, however, the Orange can focus on stopping the run. The secondary has been great, having not allowed a touchdown through the air since playing against Purdue in Week 3.
Expect Tucker to Get Back Involved for the Orange
Sean Tucker, despite being healthy, ran just five times for Syracuse in the loss to Clemson. He did catch five balls and scored a receiving touchdown, but head coach Dino Babers said that Clemson was showing a strong defensive scheme that he believed would’ve stopped Tucker.
Still, you have to give your best player the ball. The Irish give up 139 rushing yards per game, so the defense is stout, but expect a course correction by Babers and try to allow Tucker to do his thing.
Syracuse is undefeated at the dome this year, going 5-0 so far, and they are 6-1 against the spread after covering a 14-point number last week. Notre Dame is 1-2 in road and neutral-site games and has an ATS record of 3-4.
Like most of the Orange’s games this year, we expect the defense to perform well and the offense to do enough to put the team in position to win. After last week, we see Syracuse getting it done this time.
Prediction: Syracuse 24, Notre Dame 20 (SYR covers -3, under 47.5)