NCAA Football Picks: Syracuse, Western Michigan Clash in Kalamazoo

Aug 29, 2018

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Oskeim Sports previews Friday’s college football game between Syracuse and Western Michigan.  Oskeim recommends laying the points with the Orange as one of his free NCAA Football picks.

Oskeim also suggests taking the points with San Diego State against Stanford as one of his free NCAA Football picks.  Oskeim’s documented NCAA Football picks produced +46.8 units of profit last season so be sure to check out his award-winning football subscriptions at the online store.

Syracuse head coach Dino Babers is one of the best offensive minds in the game and will once again call his own plays in 2018. Syracuse averaged 27.4 points and 456 total yards per game at 5.3 yards per play last season against teams that combined to allow 25.6 points, 384 total yards and 5.3 yards per play to a mediocre offense.

That offensive production is impressive in light of the fact that the Orange lost starting quarterback Eric Dungey for three games and played one of the most difficult schedules in the nation last year.

Syracuse compiled 5,476 yards in total offense in 2017 and finished 2016 with 5.290 yards, the second-and-third-highest totals in program history.

Syracuse returns eight starters on offense, including senior quarterback Eric Dungey and seven of his top 9 targets (5 with starting experience). The Orange boast a veteran-laden offensive line that welcomes back 93 career starts and an experienced backfield that returns every player from last season.

Babers has his best offense yet and the Orange should easily move the chains against a terrible Western Michigan defense that was 0.4 yards per play worse than average in 2017 and allowed opponents 16.0 yards per game more than their season average.

Co-defensive coordinators Tim Daoust and Lou Esposito return just five starts from last year’s unit. Western Michigan lost its top two defensive backs, including cornerback Darius Phillips, who is now playing in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Broncos also have the most inexperienced group of linebackers in the conference as every starter from last year’s team has moved on.

Western Michigan’s offense is in much better shape with eight returning starters, including junior quarterback Jon Wassink. Wassink started the first eight games last season before breaking his collarbone and missing the remainder of the campaign.

He lines up behind 87 career starts along the offensive line and is aided by an extremely deep and talented group of wide receivers (5 of top 6 return). After averaging 33.9 points per game and 11.5 yards per point in 2017, the Broncos are poised to produce even better numbers this season.

The Broncos should have success move the ball against a young Syracuse defense that allowed 54 points per game in its final three contests last year.  Defensive coordinator Brian Ward employs a Tampa 2 scheme and will be challenged to get stops with only six returning starters.

The most significant concern for Ward is the linebacking unit that returns just one career start.  Syracuse’s secondary also lacks depth so Wassink should put up solid numbers through the air Friday night inside Waldo Stadium.

Technically speaking, the OVER is 10-2 in Western Michigan’s last twelve home games (7-1 L/8), 13-6-1 in its previous 20 non-conference affairs, 12-2 in its last fourteen home games during the first month of the season and 7-3 in its last ten games overall.

Western Michigan is 13-3 SU in its last sixteen home games but coach Babers is 14-5 SU against MAC foes, winning 12 of those games by at least six points.

Take Syracuse minus the points as one of Oskeim Sports’ free NCAA Football picks for Friday, August 31.

Oskeim Sports’ Free NCAA Football Picks:

  • Syracuse (-5) (-110) over Western Michigan
  • San Diego State (+14.5) (-110) over Stanford