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Wake Forest vs. Syracuse College Football Free Pick and Analysis

9/1/11

There are 6 college football games on Thursday, September 1st, to kick off the 2011 college football season. Of the six games, one stands out as the most likely to be a competitive, good game. Coincidentally, it's also the game with the lowest pointspread on that day. Syracuse hosts Wake Forest on a game that oddsmakers have Syracuse favored by 7 with a total of 49.5. The game opened Syracuse -6, so early money favors the Orange. Remember, you can lay -105 or less instead of -110 only at 5 Dimes Sportsbook.

This is a game between a program on the rise, Syracuse and a program that has seen better days, Wake Forest. But they basically meet in the middle. Rigt now, they are two teams of relatively equal talent.

Wake Forest had a very young team a year ago. They turned in a 3-9 season and fielded one of the worst defensive units in college ball, giving up 36 points per game. The offense wasn't much better at 23 points per game. Their schedule wasn't exactly soft though, having to face Stanford, Virginia Tech and Florida State along with other ACC foes.

Syracuse went 8-5 a year ago and the consensus opinion among college football observers is that they overachieved. They knocked off #20 West Virginia 19-14 on the road and beat some Big East opponents like South Florida and Cinci but were also plastered by Pitt 45-14 as well as Washington 41-20.

We think there is some value with the underdog Wake Forest here getting +7. Syracuse did not show itself to be a team capable of winning by large margins last season. Other than wins over Colgate and Maine, and the win over Cincinnati, every other game was either a loss or a very close win. Wake Forest runs some offensive schemes that are very difficult to defend against, especially when you take into account this is the first game of the year.

Against teams of similar caliber to that of Syracuse, such as Duke, Georgia Tech, Navy and Vandy, Wake Forest played well. It was the elite teams that Wake had trouble with, and we don't place Syracuse among the elite. We have a world of respect for Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe who is forced to work with scraps and leftovers when it comes to talent in the ACC each year and with all practices for a couple of weeks focused on this game you can count on a game plan that gives his team a chance to win.

Bottom line? It's week 1 and there's some guesswork here, but we think the talent levels here are fairly equal. The +7 could come in very handy in a game that has the potential to be the closest, most exciting game on opening night. Wake Forest +7

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