Syracuse lost its undefeated season this past weekend, dropping a heartbreaker to Clemson thanks to a slew of penalties and a stagnant offense. Still, the Orange looked like they belonged on the same field as one of the nation’s top teams, and they look like a much more dangerous team than Notre Dame right now. Can the Fighting Irish pick up a much-needed win in upstate New York?
Notre Dame vs. Syracuse Odds
Syracuse is a narrow home favorite at -140 on the moneyline. The Orange are favored by 3 points, and the over/under is set at 47 points.
This line moved a bit in the direction of Syracuse even after a loss. The Orange are having one of their best seasons in recent memory – potentially in program history – but they needed to play Clemson competitively to prove they’re a legitimate threat in the ACC.
Thanks to the loss, the line remains narrow enough that bettors could take advantage of whatever uncertainty still surrounds Syracuse.
Notre Dame vs. Syracuse Prediction & Pick
The loss to Clemson, as disappointing as it was for the Orange, validated my growing belief in this Syracuse team. Mistakes killed them, and that won’t work against a team like Clemson. It could be survivable against a Notre Dame team that has been prone to its own share of mistakes this season. Notre Dame has to play better if they want to win this game, but more than halfway through the season, the Fighting Irish probably are what they are.
A terrific Syracuse defense should give Notre Dame a tough time in this road matchup for the Orange, and I’d expect Sean Tucker to be more involved in the offense than he was against Clemson. I’ll take Syracuse to cover the spread and win this one by a touchdown or two.
Prediction: Syracuse wins and covers
Notre Dame vs. Syracuse Key Matchups
Neither offense has looked terrific this season, particularly through the air. We saw Syracuse abandon its ground game too often against Clemson despite the Orange leading most of the way – hopefully they’ll learn from their mistakes in this one.
Sean Tucker inexplicably received only five carries against the Tigers, averaging 10.8 yards per attempt. He figures to receive heavier usage against Notre Dame, and QB Garrett Shrader should also be able to do what he does best and make a bigger impact on the ground.
The Fighting Irish have had mixed results defending the run this season, shutting down North Carolina and California on the ground but letting Marshall and UNLV rack up yards. If they can figure out how to slow Tucker and Shrader, the path to a win becomes much clearer. It isn’t likely Syracuse can beat Notre Dame by passing the ball.
A Syracuse defense that got D.J. Uiagalelei benched should keep Notre Dame quiet in the building formerly known as the Carrier Dome. Drew Pyne wasn’t overly impressive against UNLV, and the passing game was abysmal in a 16-14 home loss to Stanford two weeks ago. Pyne looked like he was making progress in wins over North Carolina and BYU, but the last two weeks suggest we can’t bank on that kind of performance from the redshirt sophomore.
On the road against a talented and confident defense, I don’t like the chances of Notre Dame’s offense suddenly finding a rhythm.