Syracuse and Minnesota travel to Reliant Stadium for the Texas Bowl, and the oddsmakers have installed the Golden Gophers as four-point favorites in a game that will likely feature a lot of empty seats. Let’s first take a look at how both teams performed against fellow bowl squads:
- 4-4 ATS
- Outscored by 12.0 points per game
- Outgained by 65 yards per game
- 6-2 ATS
- Points per game were even
- Outgained by 76 yards per game
Now let’s take a look at the fundamental analysis:
- 0.3 yards per play worse than average offensively
- 0.1 yards per play better than average defensively
- 0.4 yards per play worse than average offensively
- 0.0 yards per play better than average defensively
Clearly, defense seems to be the strength of both teams, which suggests that a play on the ‘under’ is a solid investment. However, Pro Edge Sports leans with the underdog in this contest based on several strong technical situations. For starters, teams in the same bowl game from the previous year are 2-8 ATS as favorites of more than three points when coming off a season-ending loss. Moreover, teams with a winning record in the same situation as above are 2-15 ATS! Let’s also note that Syracuse is 11-3-1 SU and 11-4 ATS in bowl games since 1988 and 8-1 ATS as single-digit underdogs versus .699 or worse opposition.
The other issue facing Minnesota is a struggling offense that averaged a mere 11.3 points over the last three games at 3.3 yards per rush play, 5.4 yards per pass attempt and 4.1 yards per play. However, the Gophers find a favorable matchup in Syracuse’s defense that yielded 35.7 points over its last three games, including 5.5 yards per rush play and 6.8 yards per play.
The deciding factor for the experts at Pro Edge is that Syracuse possesses an excellent ground attack and is getting points, which is a profitable combination from a betting standpoint. Syracuse finished fourth in the ACC with 193.8 rushing yards per game behind running back Jerome Smith, who had 11 rushing touchdowns and 840 yards on the ground this season. The Orange’s offensive line also provides excellent pass protection as evidenced by its 4.5% sack ratio.
Based on all of the factors above, Pro Edge Sports gives a slight lean to Syracuse in the Texas Bowl.