Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:00 AM EST. Odds subject to change.
Syracuse -3 over Boston College
JMA Wireless Dome - Syracuse, NY
Streaming: ESPN 2
7:30 PM EST. Could there be two other schools with more contrasting Octobers than the Orange of Syracuse and the Eagles of Boston College? Let's start with the Eagles, who are coming into this prime-time affair after winning four straight games over Virginia, Army, Georgia Tech, and UConn in that order. While winning is nice and cures all, the Eagles have also had their hands full at times this season, including a game against Holy Cross in which B.C. barely knocked off the Crusaders 31-28, as a -10½-point favorite. We'll also note that the Eagles DID lose outright to Northern Illinois as -8-point chalk, while also getting waffled by Louisville (56-28).
Meanwhile, the Orange have lost four straight games, and if that weren't bad enough, where it matters most, at the pay window, Syracuse is 0-4 Against the Spread (ATS) in those games. Losing stinks, no doubt, but the quality of the teams the Orange have lost to are all ACC brothers, including Clemson, North Carolina, Florida State, and Virginia Tech. It's worth noting that the Orange had to play their last three games (UNC, FSU, VT) all on the road. It is not often that a program has to play three road games in a season; hell, even in the NFL, a run of road games like that is considered "a bit much."
The big story, other than the losses, and the detailing of the Orange's season, is the lack of offense in the last four weeks, as Syracuse has scored just 34 points total during this four-game skid, while the defense is giving up 37½ points per game during that run. Those are the X's and O's that the talking heads are going to break down in the hours leading up to this game, but we are far more interested in the atmosphere at the JMA Wireless Dome, which should be electric even if the Orange (who were 4-0 the last time they played at home) are now a .500 club after a hot start to the season. If the Orange's stock was up after that start, it's tanking now.
Syracuse is not Florida State, Miami, or Clemson. The Orange are not college football royalty. They do not get a plethora of feature games or prime-time matchups, so when they do, it's a big deal. This game tonight at the Dome is a big deal. Syracuse has four games remaining, and this will be the last one they play under the bright lights this season and the only game the Orange will host in prime time. The Orange did play in prime time last week, but they got whacked by Va. Tech, 38-10. That final resonates here too, as the little exposure the market has seen of Syracuse was it getting destroyed last Thursday night on ESPN. To recap, Boston College has won four straight while Syracuse has lost its last four games by scores of 31-14, 40-7, 41-3 and 38-10 and now they're a three-point favorite. If you do decide to fade Syracuse, don't you think you're a bit late to the "fade Syracuse ticket cashing party? Of course you are, four weeks too late to be exact so take Syracuse and get in line to cash the ticket afterward.
Syracuse -3 -106 (Risking 2.12 units - To Win: 2.00)