Big East play gets into full swing this Saturday (12:00 pm ET) when the Syracuse Orangemen (4-2, 1-1) travel to face the number 20 West Virginia Mountaineers (5-1, 1-0 Big East) in Morgantown, WV where they have not lost a game in almost two years. West Virginia is the only ranked team in the Big East, and Syracuse will be looking to re-establish themselves as a force in the conference with a win on Saturday. Syracuse was blown out last week at home against Pittsburgh 45-14 while West Virginia topped South Florida 20-6 at home. The Mountaineers handily won last year’s meeting 34-13 at Syracuse.
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West Virginia is led by their outstanding defense, which ranks fifth in the nation allowing only 245.8 YPG and has allowed only seven offensive TDs, tied with Missouri for the lowest total in the nation. The Mountaineer defense allows only 12.3 point per game, good for third in the country and tied with second-ranked Boise State. The Mountaineer offense and the running game in particular have struggled so far this season. They average only 149 YPG, 2nd worst in the Big East behind Rutgers who averages 111 YPG. Senior Noel Devine, who has been an electrifying player throughout his career, will need to step it up from his current production levels including a woeful 29 yards rushing on 13 carries last week against South Florida.
The Syracuse defense has allowed 124 YPG rushing this season, so they may provide less resistance to the running attack than the Mountaineers saw last week. On offense, the Orangemen are led by running back Delonte Carter who has run for 562 on 11 attempts (5.0 YPC) and 6 TDs, this season. Carter struggled last week against Pittsburgh though as the Orangemen were forced to throw the ball 46 times because they fell behind early. Quarterback Ryan Nassib runs the show for the offense, and has been solid if unspectacular with 1,220 yards passing for 11 TDs and 4 INTs with a 56.6 completion percentage. If he has to put the ball in the air again 46 times this week against the Mountaineers, Syracuse will be in trouble.
West Virginia has won eight straight contests against Syracuse, including last season’s matchup. Syracuse is 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games as an underdog, and 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games in October. West Virginia is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 Big East games, and 6-0 ATS against a team with a winning n record in their last 6 games. The under is 5-0 in Syracuse’s last 5 games against a team with a winning record, and the under is 4-1 in West Virginia’s last 5 Big East games. Syracuse is 2-7 ATS in the last 9 meetings between the two teams.
Syracuse vs. West Virginia Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Syracuse Orangemen +14
@ West Virginia Mountaineers -14
Over 43 (-110)
Under 43 (-110)
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Syracuse vs. West Virginia Predictions for Week 8 Betting:
Spread Prediction (Top Play) – West Virginia is a solid favorite at home in this game, Syracuse is improving under new 2nd year head coach Doug Marrone, but they are not quite in the Mountaineers league yet. Expect the Orangemen to put up a better showing than they did last week against Pittsburgh despite being on the road simply because the Mountaineers are not explosive on offense. West Virginia’s defense should be able to shut down a mediocre Syracuse offensive attack without much difficulty, and the Orangemen will have a lot of trouble putting points on the board. West Virginia should be able to run the ball effectively compared to their previous efforts, and cover the spread.
Over/Under Prediction – Take the under in this Big East matchup, the West Virginia defense will hold down Syracuse all game long, and the emphasis on running the ball for both teams should keep the total down. Expect Syracuse to throw the ball more as the game goes on if the Mountaineers shut down their running game as expected. Tough defense and ball-control offense will be the words of the day in Morgantown and this should be another low-scoring affair for West Virginia.
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