The Syracuse Orange open Big East Conference play Friday as the Pittsburgh Panthers visit the Carrier Dome (7 p.m. ET on ESPN), and according to the oddsmakers the Orange (1-3) will enter as 1 1/2-point favorites (via Bovada.com).
This will be the third time this season Syracuse will be favored. The Orange hold a 1-1 record when favored and are 0-2 in covering the spread in those situations. Syracuse is coming off a bye week which came after a disappointing 17-10 loss to the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Sept. 22.
Pittsburgh is 1-3 against the spread this season. The Panthers (2-2) are also coming off a bye week and will be trying to extend their current winning streak to three games. Pitt defeated then No. 13-ranked Virginia Tech Hokies, 35-17, and routed Gardner-Webb, 55-10.
The last seven meetings between these two soon-to-be Atlantic Coast Conference programs has favored Pitt. The last time Syracuse defeated Pitt was in 2004 in double overtime.
The key to victory for both teams will be limiting the turnovers and mental mistakes, something both teams have struggled to do this season.
The Orange will enter the contest with an air attack on offense led by senior quarterback Ryan Nassib, while Pittsburgh will try to ground-and-pound the SU defense with senior running back Ray Graham and freshman Rushel Shell.
Usually, in these type of match ups the most physical team can beat the squad with more flair. The edge goes to Pittsburgh there.
Final score: Pitt 20, Syracuse 17.