South Florida vs. Syracuse Prediction, Odds, Trends and Key Players for Boca Raton Bowl

Oct 21, 2023; East Hartford, Connecticut, USA;  South Florida Bulls quarterback Byrum Brown (17)
Oct 21, 2023; East Hartford, Connecticut, USA; South Florida Bulls quarterback Byrum Brown (17) / David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

South Florida qualified for a bowl game under first-year head coach Alex Golesh, an impressive achievement for the Bulls, who will stay local and play in the Boca Raton Bowl.

South Florida will take on Syracuse in the 2023 Boca Raton Bowl. The Orange, while finishing a successful regular season, opted to fire head coach Dino Babers. The team will look to finish out the season with starting quarterback Garrett Shrader back from injury who is a small favorite in the bowl game.

How should we bet it? I got you covered.

Keep reading for my thoughts on the Boca Raton Bowl, but also you can find my best bets for EVERY bowl game and further coverage here!

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South Florida vs. Syracuse Odds, Spread and Total

Syracuse vs. South Florida Betting Trends

  • Syracuse is 5-6-1 against the spread (ATS) this season
  • South Florida is 6-6 ATS this season
  • Syracuse is 4-0-1 ATS as a favorite this season
  • South Florida is 4-2 ATS this season as an underdog
  • South Florida has gone OVER in seven of 12 games this season

South Florida vs. Syracuse How to Watch

  • Date: Thursday, December 21st
  • Game Time: 8:00 PM EST
  • Venue: FAU Stadium
  • How to Watch (TV): ESPN
  • South Florida Record: 6-6
  • Syracuse Record: 6-6

South Florida vs. Syracuse Key Players to Watch

South Florida

Byrum Brown: Brown is a do-it-all quarterback in Alex Golesh's system. Golesh comes from Josh Heupel's coaching tree, playing at a top-five pace this season in terms of plays per minute and spreading opponents out across the field. Brown is a raw passer, but a devastating rusher at 6'3", 210 pounds. He rushed for nearly 1,000 yards while passing for more than 3,000, totaling 34 touchdowns but also 11 interceptions.


Garrett Shrader: Shrader missed a handful of games in ACC play, but came back to lead Syracuse to a regular season finale win against Wake Forest, 35-31. The Orange offense has struggled at times, but Shrader has performed admirably, completing 62% of his passes for 1,378 yards and 12 touchdowns with another seven on the ground with 564 yards.

South Florida vs. Syracuse Prediction and Pick

When betting on bowl games, some of it is partially motivation-based. Syracuse has fired its head coach and finished the season dropping six of its last eight games in conference play. Meanwhile, South Florida enters the Boca Raton Bowl under a first-year head coach and its first bowl game since 2018. The program is trending up while Syracuse is heading for a reset this offseason.

Meanwhile, this matchup should set up nicely for the Bulls, who bolster an incredibly aggressive defensive scheme that is top 10 in terms of tackles for loss this season and 41st in success rate. While the defense is prone to giving up big plays because of its aggressive style, outside the top 120 in both explosive run and pass defense, Syracuse doesn't operate that way on offense. Syracuse is 79th in terms of yards per play this season and 92nd in EPA/Play.

On the other side, Syracuse's defense has beaten up outmatched opponents, but the speed and big play ability of USF's offense should put the Orange in trouble. South Florida has scored 35 or more in six games this season and plays at the fourth-fastest pace in the country. The team's style may be a culture shock to the Syracuse defense -- for what it's worth the team was destroyed by North Carolina, who is 10th in terms of plays per minute, 40-7 -- and the Bulls are live for an upset.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

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