Virginia Cavaliers vs Syracuse Orange Odds, Picks, Predictions (9/23/22)

Syracuse played the most entertaining game of Week 3, barely edging out Purdue with a last-second touchdown throw by Garrett Shrader. Shrader continues to impress and so does the Syracuse offense.

The Orange will host the 0-3 ATS Cavaliers this week. Virginia has held on to some victories on the back of Brennan Armstrong, but this isn’t a great all-around team.

Can the Cavaliers overcome their faults and compete with the Orange? Or will Syracuse continue to impress with their early-season play?

Let’s break it down. Read on for our Virginia Cavaliers vs Syracuse Orange odds, picks, and predictions.

Virginia Cavaliers vs Syracuse Orange

The look-ahead line for this game was Syracuse -2.5. The line opened between Syracuse -8.5 and -9.5 Sunday and quickly moved to Syracuse -11.

That shows you just how improved this Syracuse team is. The Orange are a potential ACC Atlantic winner this season because the offense could out-duel Clemson’s defense.

I’d take a serious look at the over. I make this total closer to 56 than 53, although the line has moved down over the past few days.

Virginia Cavaliers vs Syracuse Orange Prediction & Pick

It’s hard to overestimate how good Garrett Shrader has been. He struggled mightily against Purdue in the first half but got it together down the stretch and made this ridiculous clutch throw:

If that’s not a Big Time Throw, I don’t know what is.

Only two Power Five quarterbacks have a higher PFF overall grade than Shrader, and it’s unlocked a new element to this Syracuse offense. The Orange are the nation’s fifth most efficient offense in terms of Success Rate and 15th best in Standard Downs.

Virginia hasn’t had the same success. Their stud quarterback returned by first-year head coach Tony Elliott has surrounded him with very little. Only two offensive linemen returned from last year and the top running back disappeared.

As such, the Virginia offense has stalled. Armstrong has kept them afloat in passing downs – which they spend too much time in – but they rank outside the top 90 in both Standard Downs Success Rate and EPA.

The Virginia defense has decent defensive numbers but they’ve played three horrendous offenses (and still allowed 24 points to Illinois).

But one statistic gives me pause: The Cavaliers rank 105th in Defensive Line Yards. Meanwhile, Syracuse is sixth in Offensive Line Yards.

Syracuse is going to light the scoreboard up. The Orange defense is exploitable, but Virginia is not going to exploit it. I’ll lay the points with the Orange.

Virginia Cavaliers vs Syracuse Orange Key Matchups

Key Matchup: Virginia Offensive Line vs Syracuse Defensive Line

Both lines are very inexperienced. But both are playing alright.

Despite returning just two career FBS starts on the line and adding two FCS transfers, Virginia has posted a top-25 mark in Offensive Line Yards. They even managed to hold up against Illinois (3.4 line yards per rush compared to their 3.5 season average).

Meanwhile, Syracuse brought back just one defensive lineman with starting experience and the team ranks just 61st in Defensive Line Yards. But the Orange have created Havoc, ranking sixth in overall Defensive Havoc.

Illinois managed to create 20 Havoc plays against the Cavaliers, making me think the Orange have the advantage in this matchup. But perhaps Virginia’s offensive line can hold up against a rather inexperienced opposing unit.

Tanner joined Lineups to cover everything, but he has vast experience in, and unlimited passion for, Major League Baseball and NCAA Basketball. He’s a McGill University grad and former (Canadian) Division-I alpine ski racer who now spends his time drinking beer and betting home underdogs. Patrick Mahomes is a poor man’s Tom Brady.

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