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For the first time in seven years, the collegiate football programs of the Virginia Cavaliers and Syracuse Orange will play each other on Friday night. Can Syracuse continue its scorching hot start? Handicapper Matt MacKay is here to make his predictions.

Syracuse vs. Virginia Prediction, Pick, and Odds: Can Garrett Shrader and Syracuse Keep Rolling?

The last time Virginia and Syracuse played each other, college football's old overtime rules were still in effect, causing mayhem and three overtimes until Virginia held the Orange out of the end zone for a 44-38 win. Neither team was great during that meeting, but Syracuse has put the college football world on notice after upsetting Purdue at home in Week 3.

Dino Babers is coaching in his seventh season at Syracuse and despite the 24-43 record, has the Orange primed to make a run at winning the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2022. Junior quarterback Garrett Shrader has impressed across the first three weeks, aided by an impressive defensive unit for Syracuse. The offense is deep and chock-filled with talent, creating a challenge for Virginia's first-year head coach, Tony Elliott.

Virginia has to get more out of its rushing attack and find ways to make stops on defense. An embarrassing 24-3 loss to Illinois led to a narrow 16-14 win over Old Dominion in Week 3. Can Allen get senior quarterback, Brennan Armstrong, to improve his mechanics and get back to the numbers he posted under former Cavaliers head coach, Bronco Mendenhall?

Here are our picks, predictions, and odds for Friday's game between Virginia Cavaliers vs. Syracuse Orange.

Syracuse vs. Virginia START TIME and WHERE TO WATCH

Date: Friday, September 23

Game time: 7:00 pm ET

Where to Watch: ESPN

Syracuse vs. Virginia Odds

Spread: Syracuse -10.5 (-110), Virginia +10.5 (-110)

Total: Under 53 (-112), Over 53 (-112)

Moneyline: Syracuse (-400), Virginia (+330)

Click Here for Syracuse vs. Virginia Odds

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Syracuse vs. Virginia: INJURY REPORT


WR Billy Kemp IV (Questionable - Illness)


WR Isaiah Jones (Out - Upper Body), WR Trebor Pena (Questionable - Undisclosed)

Syracuse vs. Virginia PREDICTION

Virginia and Syracuse both compete in the ACC but neither team has met since the thrilling triple-overtime winner back in 2015. Entering this matchup, it appears that the Orange are the vastly superior team. Whether it's Shrader tossing eight touchdowns and zero interceptions, or using his legs to manufacture points as a ball carrier, there is a buzz in the air inside of the JMA Wireless Dome.

Armstrong attempted 500 passes and finished 2021 with 4,449 yards and 31 touchdowns, so why is it not clicking right now? Tough to say, but the lack of continuity and talent along Virginia's offensive line is a big indicator of their offensive woes. Senior running back Perris Jones is averaging 5.0 YPC but is barely earning more carries than Armstrong, who is a solid athlete but should not be handling this many rushing attempts behind a porous offensive line.

Syracuse also holds a significant advantage with its defense. The Cavaliers were ranked 121st defensively in 2021, which led to Mendenhall's firing. Allen has experience coaching and calling plays at other blue-blood collegiate programs such as Clemson. This pairs poorly against a Syracuse passing attack that has rattled off high efficiency to start the year. Sean Tucker is a high-volume runner who is also a dual-threat out of the backfield, while Oronde Gadsden II, Devaughn Cooper, and Courtney Jackson form a solid trio of receiving options for Shrader to target.

The Syracuse Moneyline (-410) is indicative of where each of these ACC programs currently sits. Virginia has only scored 19 points in its last two games played and it hasn't been very good at playing mistake-free football. Armstrong and running back Mike Hollins accounted for three lost fumbles in a tough, gritty 16-14 win against Old Dominion in Week 3. Before that occurrence, the Cavaliers turned the ball over three more times in a 24-3 loss against Illinois.

It's tempting to lean on the under for the 53-point total in this game. There's a realistic chance that Virginia struggles to move the ball against a talented Orange defense, especially in a loud, hostile environment. However, I prefer investing in Syracuse to cover the spread as -10.5-point favorites at home in the Dome on Friday night. It's safer to bet on Syracuse's offense rolling, avoiding the potential risk of the Cavaliers collecting empty points in garbage time to ruin the under.

Syracuse vs. Virginia PICK

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Article Author


Matt is an avid writer, editor, and researcher. He enjoys analyzing the game within the game which is fantasy sports and sports betting. Music is another constant in his daily life. Matt loves spending time with his wife and three pets. He likes to read, listen to podcasts, and is constantly motivated to create the most accurate and engaging content in the sports betting industry.


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