NCAA Football Betting Favorite: West Virginia -13.5
Syracuse travelled to Morgantown as a 13.5 point underdog last year. The Orange shocked the Mountaineers and won the game 19-14. Ironically, the Orange are once again a 13.5 point underdog in this game, but this time they’ll be playing in front of their home crowd. Will West Virginia exact some revenge or will Syracuse pull of a second straight stunner?
Dana Holgorsen has brought a whole new offense to West Virginia. Holgorsen’s version of the spread offense has been extremely successful everywhere he has gone, and so far the Mountaineers offense has been no exception. Geno Smith is making great decisions with the football, and his arm strength can be utilized quite well in this system. Smith has already thrown for more than 2,000 yards and 16 touchdowns this season. Everyone knew Tavon Austin would be a standout at the wide receiver spot, but the Mountaineers have three players with at least 34 catches in 2011. The running game hasn’t been overly impressive this year, but thus far West Virginia hasn’t really needed to run it very often.
The Mountaineers lost a lot of talent from last year’s defense, but this unit is still solid. West Virginia is ranked 17th in the nation in total defense in 2011. The secondary has been very good, while the front seven has shown it can be vulnerable at times against a good running game. West Virginia appears to be the most balanced team in the Big East at this point.
Syracuse has enjoyed a nice turnaround over the last couple years. The once proud football program fell upon hard times a few short years ago, but the Orange are headed in the right direction once again. Despite their relative success, it is clear after a blowout loss at USC and a home loss against Rutgers that this team still has quite a bit of room for improvement.
The Syracuse offense has struggled to get going in 2011. Ryan Nassib has thrown 11 touchdowns and just four interceptions, but this team seems to lack a deep threat on the outside. Antwon Bailey is a solid tailback, but the Orange definitely do miss Delone Carter. Syracuse is currently ranked 96th in the nation in total offense. The Syracuse defense has been very good against the run this year, but they have been terrible against the pass. This doesn’t bode well for them this week since they’ll be going against the pass happy Mountaineers.
West Virginia is simply a better football team than Syracuse right now. I suspect they’ll be anxious to exact some revenge for last year’s shocking defeat. The Mountaineers offense should roll up a lot of yards in this one, and I just can’t see Syracuse keeping up.
Free College Football Pick: West Virginia -13.5
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