After a 6-0 start, injuries have primarily led to Syracuse going on a four-game losing streak, and as a result are double-digit underdogs in the odds at similarly struggling Wake Forest this Saturday.
The Orange (6-4, 3-3 ACC) are coming off a 38-3 drubbing at the hands of Florida State in SU’s final home game. Garrett Shrader returned at quarterback after missing 1.5 games, but he and the entire offense were not effective.
The Demon Deacons (6-4, 2-4 ACC) started the season 6-1 with an overtime loss to Clemson being the only blemish, but they have since dropped three-straight games. Their loss last week was much more competitive against a solid team, falling to North Carolina 36-34.
Is 2021 History Repeating Itself for Syracuse?
Last year, the Orange dropped some tight games to the Seminoles, Tigers, and Demon Deacons (40-37 in overtime) and sat at 5-4 going into the final three games of the year. The Orange were then crushed in those final three games and missed out on a bowl game.
This season, after a 6-0 start and a game at Clemson that they very easily could have won, Syracuse has looked just as bad in their losses to Notre Dame, Pitt, and FSU. The defense gave up over 40 points to the Irish and 38 to the Noles. Offensively, Syracuse was held to under 100 yards total offense last week and scored a total of 12 points in their last two games.
Syracuse missed out on a bowl game last year due to the collapse. This year, they will be playing in a bowl game, but SU needs a win this week or next week at Boston College to give head coach Dino Babers just his second winning season with the Orange in his seventh year in charge.
Shrader’s Health Is the Biggest Key for Syracuse vs. Wake Forest
Shrader returned last week but was one-dimensional and ineffective against the Seminoles. Falling behind early didn’t help either, as the running game was abandoned with Sean Tucker gaining only 52 yards.
Shrader was at his best earlier in the season when he was a dual-threat. There’s no better example of that than last year vs. Wake Forest.
The senior quarterback threw for 160 yards and ran for 178 against Wake in the Dome in 2021, accounting for three total touchdowns in a 40-37 OT loss. The Deacons haven’t been any better this year containing dual-threat QBs, as evidenced by Drake Maye’s game last week. In that Tar Heels win, he threw for 448 yards and ran for another 71 with five total scores.
That performance by Maye has put him right into the conversation for the Heisman Trophy.
Can Syracuse’s Offense Get Going to Cover Big Spread in the Odds?
Shrader says his health has improved “exponentially” over the past few weeks. While his specific injury was never made public, it obviously has affected his ability to run. If that part of his game returns this week, Syracuse will be better equipped to score some points.
The Orange find themselves a double-digit underdog for the second time this season. In the first occurrence, Syracuse covered a 14-point spread in a 27-21 loss at Clemson last month.
Here are the odds for Syracuse vs. Wake Forest from BetMGM.
|Wake Forest Demon Deacons||-10||55.5||-375|
Both teams are 6-4 ATS this season with the Orange failing to cover in their last three. Defense has been the big concern for Wake (allowing over 30 points in their last three losses), but the Orange offense hasn’t gotten out of the twenties even when they were winning ballgames. We’re calling for a Wake win but Syracuse cover that goes under the number.
Prediction: Wake Forest 30, Syracuse 21 (SYR +10, under 55.5)