The Syracuse Orange hope to keep their bowl hopes alive this week when they visit the Louisville Cardinals. Kickoff is set for 3:30 EST on Saturday, November 18 at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium in Louisville, Kentucky. The game can be seen on ESPNU.

Oddsmakers view the Cardinals as 13-point favorites at home. The over/under is set at 73.5 points. Click here for a full list of Week 12 betting odds and links to game previews.

Louisville vs Syracuse Vegas Game Preview

The Orange are winless since they upset no. 2 Clemson over a month ago. In fairness, two of their losses since then were close road games against Miami and Florida State. But last week, Syracuse led Wake Forest by two touchdowns at halftime, only to fall apart in the 2nd half and lose 64-43.

Syracuse now sits at 4-6 and needs to win their final two games to get to a bowl game for the first time since 2013. To make matters worse, quarterback Eric Dungey, who missed last week’s game with an injury, is questionable to play against Louisville.

The Cardinals, meanwhile, locked up a bowl spot by beating Virginia last week. At 6-4, Louisville is not where they thought they’d be this season. But if the Cards can make some noise late in the year, it could help Lamar Jackson’s Heisman hopes. Jackson has played even better this year than he did last year. But with the Louisville defense struggling and the Cardinals not relevant nationally, few have noticed.

Free Prediction & Betting Pick: Louisville -13

Until last week, Syracuse had specialized in playing close games. Their five losses prior to last week all came by single digits. But the defensive effort from the Orange last week, on top of Dungey’s health, makes it difficult to believe they can bounce back against Jackson and the Cardinals. I’ll lean toward Louisville to win by at least two touchdowns.

The Syracuse defense was absolutely torched last week by Wake Forest quarterback John Wolford. Unfortunately for the Orange, Wolford is in many ways a poor man’s Lamar Jackson. The Orange couldn’t contain Wolford on the ground or through the air. Jackson, who was unstoppable against Syracuse last year, could be even more dangerous than Wolford was against the Orange last week.

Click here for a full list of Week 12 betting odds and links to game previews.

Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that the Louisville defense has been bad for most of the season. ACC opponents are scoring nearly 37 points a game against the Cardinals. That should give Syracuse hope that they can match whatever Jackson and the Louisville offense are able to do.

However, that plan only works if Dungey is able to play. Backup Zack Mahoney threw for nearly 400 yards and three touchdowns against Wake Forest last week, so the Orange offense isn’t entirely reliant on Dungey playing. However, Mahoney doesn’t have Dungey’s ability to make plays with his legs when the play breaks down. Mahoney also threw two picks last week and couldn’t get Syracuse in the end zone during the 2nd half.

If I knew for sure that Dungey would play, I could talk myself into leaning toward Syracuse to beat the spread. I might also take the over, as a Jackson-Dungey shootout would be quite possible and fun to watch.

But without a healthy Dungey and a defense that’s coming off a terrible outing, I don’t see how the Orange can contain Jackson or keep up with him. At home, the Cardinals should win this game by at least a couple touchdowns.