Louisville’s season could not have started any better, particularly for sophomore quarterback Lamar Jackson. After a record-setting season debut, Jackson aims to lead the 15th-ranked Cardinals to a win in their ACC opener on Friday against host Syracuse.
Jackson accounted for eight touchdowns – including six TD passes – in only one half of last week’s 70-14 victory against Charlotte. Both of those marks tied ACC records and set new school records, prompting coach Bobby Petrino to say afterward: “It was nice to get everybody involved. He read the coverage and delivered the ball, and let the players make the plays for you.” Syracuse, meanwhile, is coming off a 33-7 triumph against Colgate in the first game under new coach Dino Babers, formerly of Bowling Green. “I think they look good,” Petrino said of the Orange. “They’re very well coached. You know, even when we go back and watch the Bowling Green film, they do a really good job of coaching what their schemes are, and their players play hard. So I’ve got a lot of respect for their coaching staff.”
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN2.
LINE HISTORY: The point spread for this Friday night matchup opened with Louisville as 14-point favorites on Sunday afternoon. The line quickly jumped to 14.5 and has been steady at that number for the entire week. The total hit the board at 65.5 and has taken a steady and dramatic rise up to the current number of 70. Check out the complete line history here.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Louisville (-15) – Syracuse (-4.7) + home field (-3) = Louisville -7.3
Louisville – WR J. Savage (Questionable Friday, shoulder), CB C. Sturghill (Out For Season, foot).
Syracuse – CB W. Morgan (Questionable Friday, undisclosed), RB G. Morris II (Out Indefinitely, ankle).
WHAT BOOKS SAY: “The early money is coming in on Louisville at 3-1, which ended up pushing the line from 14.5 to 15 Wednesday night. As a more than a 2 touchdown dog at home, there is value in betting Syracuse, and I expect the sharp action to come in on them at 15.” – Lines Manager at GTBets.
ABOUT LOUISVILLE (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS, 1-0 O/U): After racking up 663 yards of total offense and holding Charlotte to 0-of-13 third-down conversions in Week 1, Louisville is simply hoping to maintain its high level of play this week. The Cardinals led 56-0 at halftime, and 16 different players ended up catching a pass as the team posted its largest margin of victory in a season opener since 2007. Jackson has led Louisville to a touchdown on each of his last 13 drives, dating back to last season, and also is a threat on the ground, rushing for 100 yards in six of his 13 career games.
ABOUT SYRACUSE (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS, 0-1 O/U): Eric Dungey delivered 355 passing yards and two touchdowns against Colgate while combining with Zack Mahoney to complete 40-of-46 passes on the day. Amba Etta-Tawo totaled 210 receiving yards and a score – more than twice as many catches as the senior had all of last season with Maryland. On the downside, Jordan Fredericks – who led the team with 607 rushing yards in 2015 – was limited to 10 yards on the ground against Colgate.
* Cardinals are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game.
* Orange are 5-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
* Under is 11-1 in Cardinals last 12 games following a straight up win of more than 20 points.
* Over is 5-1 in Orange last 6 vs. a team with a winning record.
COVERS CONSENSUS: The Covers public is strongly supporting the favorites from Louisville in this contest at a rate of 66 percent. Over is picking up more of the totals wagers by a slim margin at 52 percent. View full consensus data here.