|Syracuse at South Florida Point Spread Odds, Betting Trends & Injuries|
|Written by Anthony Rome|
|Tuesday, 14 October 2008 17:51|
Public Favors Bulls
Tampa, FL - South Florida struggled offensively in its first defeat of the season, but the team has had plenty of time to try to correct those inefficiencies.
The 19th-ranked Bulls resume competition following a 16-day break, and will try for a better performance on Saturday when they match up against visiting Big East foe Syracuse.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made South Florida -24 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 58% of bets for this game have been placed on South Florida –24 (View College Football bet percentages).
South Florida (5-1, 0-1) leads the Big East in scoring with 33.8 points per game and total offense with 427.8 yards per game - both good for 25th in the nation. The squad is also second in the conference in passing behind quarterback Matt Grothe, who is averaging 217.3 yards.
But the Bulls were held to a season-low 245 yards in a 26-21 home defeat to then-unranked Pittsburgh on Oct. 2 - their most recent game. Grothe finished 11-for-21 for 129 yards and a touchdown and had 11 rushes for 25 yards and a TD, but the offense managed just 77 yards in the first half.
Additionally, they were plagued by miscues on special teams. A field goal attempt was blocked, and backup quarterback Grant Gregory failed to convert on fourth down when the Bulls tried a fake field goal.
"With all the mistakes we made in this game, I'm surprised (the score) wasn't farther apart than it was," South Florida coach Jim Leavitt said. "We weren't in sync, I don't think, offensively, all game. We were kind of sporadic."
However, Leavitt and the Bulls have had over two weeks to forget that game, and they return to the field with hopes of starting a new winning streak and securing their first conference victory.
"We know that we control our own destiny," Grothe said. "We just have to play one game at a time. If we can win out, then we have a chance to really put ourselves in a good situation."
South Florida should have little trouble finding offensive success versus a Syracuse team that has allowed a conference-worst 430.0 yards per game - tied for the 14th-worst among all Football Bowl Subdivision teams.
The Bulls have outscored the Orange 95-20 in winning all three contests of the all-time series, and posted a 41-10 road victory on Nov. 10. Grothe went 15-for-22 for 181 yards and two TDs, and rushed 14 times for 73 yards and a TD in the win. He turned in one of the best performances of his career in the 2006 matchup, when he completed 25 of 35 passes for 364 yards and two TDs.
South Florida's defense, which tops the Big East and ranks 11th nationally with 265.5 yards allowed per game, received a big boost with the return of All-American defensive end George Selvie.
He had been sidelined by an injured ankle, but entered during the second quarter of the Bulls' last game and finished with two tackles, one for a loss.
Selvie and the defense will now try to contain Syracuse (1-5, 0-2), which is averaging a conference-low 297.3 yards despite Curtis Brinkley's strong play.
Brinkley, who has already set a career high with 621 rushing yards, ranks fourth in the Big East and 20th in the nation with a 103.5-yard average. He had 28 carries for 144 yards - his third straight 100-yard rushing performance - in Saturday's 17-6 loss at West Virginia.
"I loved the way in those short yardage situations, the way he gave up his body to get over the pile," Syracuse coach Greg Robinson said. "He's been playing that way all year. It's really what he's been about. I just think it was a really fine effort on his part."
Quarterback Cameron Dantley went 24-for-40 for 204 yards and the Orange outgained the Mountaineers 346-268, but they were held to a pair of first-half field goals and finished without a touchdown for the first time this season.
Syracuse has lost eight straight Big East games since winning at then-No. 18 Louisville 38-35 on Sept. 22, 2007. Since that victory, the Orange have dropped five consecutive away games.
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Posted: 10/14/08 9:56 PM