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Syracuse vs. UConn odds and predictions: Orange 4.5 favorites over Huskies

Syracuse faces a must-win scenario Friday against visiting UConn. Can the Orange pull out the victory that could possibly save their season?

Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

The Syracuse Orange will host the Connecticut Huskies Friday in a Big East Conference football game at the Carrier Dome (8 p.m. on ESPN), and according to oddsmakers the Orange will enter has 4 1/2-point favorites. The spread is a bit different than the opening line which had SU as 5-point favorites.

This will be the third game Syracuse (2-4, 1-1 Big East) is favored this season, the Orange are 1-1 overall in those games and are 0-2 versus the spread. UConn (3-4, 0-2) is just 1-4-2 against the spread this season. The over/under for the game is set at 43 points.

Entering the contest, UConn will be looking to extended its current winning streak over Syracuse to six games. Last season, the Huskies downed the Orange, 28-21, a game which featured head coach Paul Pasqualoni earning his first victory against his former team.

UConn is coming off a 17-14 overtime loss to the Temple Owls (3-2, 2-0), who will play the Rutgers Scarlet Knights Saturday for first place in the Big East standings. Rutgers (6-0, 3-0) defeated Syracuse, 23-15, at High Point Solutions Stadium last Saturday.

The match up features UConn's No. 1-ranked defense (261.0 yards allowed per game) against SU's top-ranked passing offense (310.4 passing yards per game). The Huskies' defense is led by defensive end Trevardo Williams, who leads the league in sacks (7.5, 1.1 per game), while linebacker Yawin Smallwood leads the league in tackles (75) and tackles for loss (11).

The Orange will counter with the Big East's top passer, senior quarterback Ryan Nassib, who's averaging 318.0 passing yards per game. Already this season, Nassib has thrown for 1,908 yards and 11 touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Marcus Sales leads the team with 37 receptions for 545 receiving yards.

Prediction

Its officially sink or swim time for Syracuse and its head coach Doug Marrone. If the Orange can earn a home victory over UConn and move to 3-4 (2-1 Big East) then there's hope for a six-win season and a possible bowl berth. If SU losses to the Huskies then Marrone will officially be coaching for his job the rest of the season.

Its hard to pick against a team with that much riding on a game, so...

Final score: Syracuse 21, UConn 17.