Week 4 College Football Odds: Virginia At Syracuse Preview

Written By Brett Gibbons on September 23, 2022
Virginia Syracuse Odds

It’s Week 4 in the college football season and we’re talking about an unbeaten Syracuse Orange team. In search of 4-0, Syracuse hosts the Virginia Cavaliers (2-1) on Friday night at the JMA Wireless Dome. Below, we’ll look at Virginia at Syracuse odds and try to find some value in the betting market.

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Virginia At Syracuse Odds

Virginia At Syracuse Odds Movement

Syracuse opened around a 10-point home favorite in this game. That moved up slightly to 11 points and then saw some buyback on Tuesday. Wednesday morning, the line shifted more dramatically in favor of Virginia, moving the number down to -9. The movement from 11 to 10.5 was fairly insignificant, but the movement through 10 is something to note.

For Syracuse backers, there’s no better time to buy. While not as significant as a move through -7 or -3, college football games end in a 10-point differential in 9% of games. This is known as a “push rate” and should be used to help bettors understand significant line movement. For context, movements through 11 (5%) and 9 (4%) carry about half the weight as the movement through 10.

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What’s Wrong With The Virginia Offense?

Where to begin?

Virginia had a 14.3% touchdown rate in the red zone against Old Dominion, including a truly abysmal 25% TD rate in goal-to-go drives. They’re an inexcusable 121st in passing EPA despite rostering Brennan Armstrong– a 4,000-yard passer from 2021– and a strong crew of receivers. Perhaps retired coach Bronco Mendenhall or now-Syracuse OC Robert Anae are a hall-of-fame offensive gurus. Regardless, this is a broken offense with one of the worst offensive lines in the ACC (106th in sack rate, 8.75%).

Not only is UVA’s offense not explosive, but they can’t move the ball in any capacity. Their passing success rate (36.2%) is in company with teams like Akron, Utah State, and Louisiana Tech.

Concern falls on new OC Des Kitchens rather than the talent of the offense as a whole. Tony Elliott handed Kitchens the play calling duties, but so far he’s shown a lack of adjusting to opponents and for a terrible offensive line.

About That Syracuse Defense…

If you just browse Syracuse’s advanced defensive metrics like EPA, it looks like a concerning unit: 113th in EPA per play, 118th vs. the run, 92nd vs. the pass… the list goes on. However, they held Purdue to a 10.4% explosive play rate a week ago (just 3.8% passing vs. zone coverage) and bottled up Malik Cunningham (-0.06 rush EPA vs. 0.62 average in his other two games).

One game against a good offense skews their season-long numbers a bit. This is a reliable unit that pressures the QB.

Virginia At Syracuse Forecast

Against two FBS opponents this year (Illinois, Old Dominion), Virginia has a total of 19 points. Syracuse’s defense– while it doesn’t score well in advanced metrics– held Louisville star Malik Cunningham to peanuts on the ground and kept an explosive Purdue offense in check. Could that lead to under the point total ()?

Sure, but I think a more exciting bet to me is taking under Virginia’s team total. You can find it as high as 22.5 points (above a key 21 points), but you’re going to have to pay -125 for it. I’m likely waiting for this to fall to 21.5 points and pay less juice for the under. The second I see a -110 price– as long as it’s above 21– I’m taking it.


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Brett Gibbons

Brett is an avid sports traveler and former Division-I football recruiter for Bowling Green and Texas State. He’s a graduate of BGSU and works as an auditor for Google content curation products. He’s also contributed to Sports Illustrated and Fansided during his young writing career.

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