HomeNJ Sports Betting NewsSouth Florida vs. Syracuse Predictions, Best Bets & Odds for Boca Raton Bowl

South Florida vs. Syracuse Predictions, Best Bets & Odds for Boca Raton Bowl

The American Athletic Conference meets the Atlantic Coast Conference on Thursday evening for the Roofclaim.com Boca Raton Bowl.

Image: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

Saddle up Boca Raton as we have 6-6 teams hoping to end their season with a victory at the Boca Raton Bowl when the South Florida Bulls meet the Syracuse Orange in the Boca Raton Bowl on Thursday night at FAU Stadium.

South Florida finished fourth in the AAC standing with a 4-4 conference mark and defeated Charlotte 48-14 in their final regular season matchup to reach bowl eligibility. Syracuse ended their ACC season with a 2-6 record but snuck past Wake Forest 35-31 to qualify for Thursday’s matchup.

Join me as I break this down and share a free pick from Caesars New Jersey for South Florida vs. Syracuse on Thursday, December 21.

South Florida vs. Syracuse Best Bet

The transfer portal hit both teams hard, but we should mostly see the teams we saw during the regular season playing together on Thursday night. There’s always the chance for a late opt-out, but we’ll list the significant transfers and opt-outs as of Tuesday, December 19.

South Florida Transfers and Opt-Outs courtesy of Betting Pros

  • QB Gerry Bohanan | 0 snaps | Transfer portal
  • OT Zach Perkins | 7 snaps | Transfer portal
  • EDGE Lloyd Summerall | 305 snaps | Transfer portal
  • S Will Jones | 169 snaps | Transfer portal

Syracuse Transfers and Opt-Outs

  • QB Garrett Shrader | 583 snaps | NFL Draft
  • iOL Jakobie Seabourn | 0 snaps | Transfer portal
  • EDGE Leon Lowery | 523 snaps | Transfer portal
  • DL Francois Nolton Jr. | 0 snaps | Transfer portal
  • DL Terry Lockett | 480 snaps | Transfer portal
  • S Aman Greenwood | 113 snaps | Transfer portal
  • S Malcolm Fox | 8 snaps | Transfer portal

Syracuse was hurt more by off-season moves than South Florida was. The Orange fired their head coach, and his replacement won’t be coaching in this game. Those duties were handed off to tight ends coach Nunzio Campanile. He coached the team in their victory over Wake Forest, but starting quarterback Garrett Schraeder has opted out, and backup quarterback Carlos del Rio-Wilson is also out, as are several key defensive players.

That likely means Syracuse tight end Dan Villari is under center for the Orange. We should see a heavy diet of Villari and leading rusher LeQuint Allen running the football against a slightly weakened Bulls rushing defense. Villari completed 86% of his 21 passing attempts for 122 yards with a limited-duty scoring strike. He meets a USF passing defense, allowing a nation’s worst 301 yards and weakened further by the transfer portal.

South Florida is offensively intact. Frosh signal-caller Byrum Brown threw for 3078 yards with 23 TD passes. His offensive line has returned to play in this game, and eight Bulls’ have hauled in 100+ receiving yards. Brown is the second-leading ground gainer behind senior running back Nay’Quan Wright, and this group averaged 30.8 points per game.

The Bulls are a +2.5 underdog and were 5-2-0 ATS this season as the underdog. +2.5 is a lousy number to play, but I expect South Florida to win this game. FAU Stadium is just a few hours away from USF and should have plenty of boisterous Bulls fans cheering them on. USF is used to the warm temps and has the better offense. Syracuse will score points, but the portal has torn apart their defense, and I believe South Florida will win this one straight up.

My Best Bet: South Florida ML (+115) at Caesars

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