It’s probably the biggest home football game ever for little Liberty on Saturday, as the Flames were able to lure No. 22 Syracuse of the ACC to Lynchburg, Virginia, on Saturday. The Orange are favored on the College Football Odds but probably not as big as you might think.
How to Bet Syracuse vs Liberty 2019 College Football Week 1 Odds & Game Info
- When: Saturday, 6 PM ET
- Where: Williams Stadium, Lynchburg, Va.
- Live Stream: ESPN+
- Radio: SiriusXM
- College Football Week 1 Odds: Syracuse -19 (Total 68)
- Mostly Sunny: 31°C/87°F
- Humidity: 59%
- Precipitation: 10%
- Cloud Cover: 9%
- Wind: 6 mph ENE
- Stadium Type: Open
Why Bet on Syracuse?
The Orange nearly upset eventual national champion Clemson last regular season and finished 10-3 after beating West Virginia handily in the Camping World Bowl. Down 18-17 going into the final quarter, the Orange scored 17 points in the first 5:01 of the fourth. QB Eric Dungey capped his record-setting college career by throwing for 303 yards.
Dungey was 20-18 in his career as a starter. As a passer, was 786-of-1,279 (.615) for 9,340 yards with 58 touchdowns and 30 interceptions. As a runner, he racked up 1,993 yards and 35 touchdowns on 543 carries (3.7 avg.). Dungey finished his career as one of five ACC quarterbacks all-time with 11,000+ yards of total offense and 90+ touchdowns responsible for. Led by Dungey, SU scored 523 points last year, a new school record. The previous mark was 468 by the 1998 squad.
Tommy DeVito takes over under center. The experience of playing against North Carolina, Notre Dame and Florida State last season was also valuable for DeVito’s development. He earned ACC Freshman of the Week honors with 144 passing yards and a touchdown against Florida State and threw for three touchdowns against North Carolina, including the game-winner to Ravian Pierce in double overtime.
Syracuse is beginning a campaign ranked in the national polls for the first time since QB Donovan McNabb was a senior in 1998. In their last nine games when playing as a ranked team, the Orange are 7-2. Additionally, Syracuse is 7-5-1 in season-opening games when ranked. The team has won each of its past five season openers, defeating Western Michigan (2018), Central Connecticut State (2017), Colgate (2016), Rhode Island (2015) and Villanova (2014).
Syracuse is 0-1 against current FBS Independent teams in season-opening games. The Orange lost at BYU 42-21 in the 2002 campaign starter.
Why Bet on Liberty?
The Orange are the first Power-Five team to make the trip to Williams Stadium and the first ranked FBS opponent the Flames have ever hosted.
Liberty just transitioned to the FBS last year and finished a very respectable 6-6. After that year, the school hired former Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze to lead the program despite Freeze leaving Mississippi in scandal. Freeze replaced Turner Gill, who retired.
Freeze, who hasn’t coached since the 2016-17 season, arrives at Liberty with a college coaching record of 69-32. He led Ole Miss to a 39–25 mark with four bowl game appearances during his five seasons there. He resigned in July 2017 amid an NCAA investigation into the program and his own personal conduct. Freeze might not be on the field for this game, though. He had back surgery on Aug. 16 and has been staying in a hotel near campus because he’s not allowed to climb steps, including at his home.
As of this writing, doctors still haven’t determined if Freeze can be on the field or if he would be wiser to be in the coaches’ box — which would be a first for Freeze. Technology has allowed him to remain very hands-on, fourth-year starting quarterback Stephen Calvert said.
Calvert posted his second 3,000-plus passing yard season in a row in 2018, finishing the year with 3,068 passing yards. He had 21 touchdowns to enter his senior year as Liberty’s all-time career leader with 65 passing touchdowns. Calvert was one of 34 FBS quarterbacks in the country to finish the season with 3,000 passing yards. He would have ranked tied for 40th in the country in passing touchdowns if Liberty was eligible for the FBS national ranks (not eligible due to FBS transition process).
One of the team’s biggest strengths is at running back. Frankie Hickson is an explosive back, Peytton Pickett has power and Maine transfer Josh Mack was the nation’s leading FCS rusher two years ago.
The defense must improve. The Flames finished 123rd in the nation in total defense last year. The pass defense was bad, the run D was worse, and overall, Liberty allowed 40 points or more seven times. The Flames were steamrolled by the opposing ground game, allowing 2,662 yards and well over five yards per carry. The Flames were 4-1 when allowing fewer than 200 yards on the ground, and 2-5 when giving up more. In the six wins, the D gave up a total of five touchdown runs. In the losses, the team allowed 22 rushing scores.
Syracuse vs Liberty 2019 College Football Week 1 Betting Trends
- Syracuse are 1-4 SU in their last 5 games against an opponent in the Independent conference
- The total has gone OVER in 4 of Syracuse’s last 6 games played in August
- Syracuse are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games played in week 1
- Liberty are 0-6 SU in their last 6 games against an opponent in the Atlantic Coast conference
- Liberty are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games played in week 1
- The total has gone OVER in 6 of Liberty’s last 9 games played on a Saturday
Expert Final Score Prediction for Syracuse vs Liberty
Syracuse 40 – Liberty 21