NCAA Football: Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs. Syracuse Orange Preview, Prediction & Odds -- Sept. 11, 2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 2 p.m. ET, Sept. 11, 2021
Venue: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY
Where to watch: ACC Network 

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: NL
BetMGM: NL
Caesars: Rutgers -2; O/U 52; Rutgers -125, Syracuse +105

Season record
Rutgers: 1-0
Syracuse: 1-0

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Rutgers - Syracuse preview and analysis


Recent form
Rutgers: won 61-14 vs. Temple on Sept. 4
Syracuse: won 29-9 at Ohio on Sept. 4

There aren’t many times where a team can gain 365 total yards -- not rushing, not passing, but total -- and put up 61 points (six with a one) in a victory.

Not a bad day’s work for the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on Saturday in a 61-14 victory over the Temple Owls for what hopes to be a fruitful season for head coach Greg Schiano.

It was a field day for the Rutgers defense with three sacks and five forced turnovers in New Jersey, en route to one of the Knights’ most dominant games in a long time. The 61 points were the most by Rutgers against an FBS tea, since 2008, and the second-most ever scored under Schiano.

Rutgers will take to the road for the first time in the 2021 slate to face the Syracuse Orange, coming off a 29-9 victory that was dominated by their running game. Sean Tucker ran for 181 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries to pace Syracuse’s 283 combined rushing yards on Saturday against the Ohio Bobcats

Syracuse quarterback Tommy DeVito totaled 141 yards and a touchdown to add to the party, but the Orange offense didn’t need much from their quarterback that night.

But remember that it was only two seasons ago where DeVito actually completed 63.2 percent of his passes and threw 19 touchdowns to only five interceptions. Even if the yards are at a premium, Saturday showed he can still be effective throwing the football without making any mistakes.

That’s where the caution tape is put up with QB Noah Vedral. Although he threw for 138 yards and a touchdown against Temple, Rutgers wasn’t that solid on offense for as much as the scoreboard indicated. Syracuse’s defense gave up 209.1 yards on the ground last season while allowing 32.7 points. If Rutgers can’t capitalize on a questionable defense, it’s going to be a long day for the Knights.

Prediction


It’s going to be an emotional game with the 20th anniversary of 9-11, the game being in New York, and Syracuse’s home opener after a hard-fought win where the running game and defense ruled. The Orange haven’t started 2-0 since that magical run in 2018. The 2021 version may not be good enough, but Syracuse getting points seems too good to pass up. Syracuse wins 27-17.

Betting trends


Rutgers is 1-7 as a road favorite of 3 points or less in its last eight games.

Syracuse is 3-7 in its last 10 as a home underdog.

Players to watch


Rutgers: Top pass rushes Olakinle Fatukasi picked up where he left off last year with three sacks for the dominant Scarlet Knights defense. If Rutgers has a chance of winning, he’s going to need another big game.

Syracuse: Orange cornerback Darian Chestnut also had a big game against the Bobcats, making eight tackles and getting an interception. He’ll be vital against Rutgers’ speed on the outside.

Statistical leaders


Rutgers:
Passing: Noah Verdal -- 138 yards, 1 TD
Rushing: Noah Verdal -- 58 yards
Receiving: Bo Melton -- 59 yards, 1 TD
Defense: Olakinle Fatukasi -- 3 sacks
 
Syracuse:
Passing: Tommy DeVito -- 92 yards
Rushing: Sean Tucker -- 181 yards, 1 TD
Receiving: Anthony Queeley -- 39 yards
Defense: Mikel Jones -- 10 tackles

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Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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