It'll be the MAC against the ACC when the Syracuse Orange travel to Kalamazoo's Waldo Field to take on the Western Michigan Broncos on Friday at 6 p.m. This first-ever contest between these two programs is Act 1 of a home-and-home series that will continue at the Carrier Dome in 2019. Syracuse coach Dino Babers is back for his third season, looking to improve on successive 4-8 campaigns. Manning the sideline for the Broncos in his second season is Tim Lester, who will try to restore some glory to a Western Michigan squad that's two years removed from a dynamite 13-1 season that culminated in a trip to the Cotton Bowl Classic. The Broncos are a 6-point home underdog in the latest Syracuse vs. Western Michigan odds; and the Over-Under, or total number of points Vegas thinks will be scored, has inched up to 65 from a 64.5 opening. With September dates against Florida State and Clemson, Syracuse will need to get off to a quick start if it hopes to contend in a talent-laden ACC.

But before you make your Western Michigan vs. Syracuse picks, you need to hear what SportsLine data scientist Stephen Oh has to say.

Oh, the renowned co-founder of AccuScore, specializes in sports simulations, projections and advanced statistical analysis. Armed with this trusty projection model as a guide, Oh is a perfect 4-0 in his previous four selections for or against the Orange. Last October, Oh confidently backed the Orange, a 2.5-point home favorite, against the Pittsburgh Panthers. The result: Syracuse slipped past Pitt 27-24, allowing Oh to cash. Now, Oh has scrutinized Syracuse vs. Western Michigan from every possible angle.

Syracuse's not-so-secret weapon is quarterback Eric Dungey. The speedy senior was in the midst of a terrific 2017 season before breaking his foot against the Seminoles. Before missing the final third of the season, he was averaging 66 rushing yards and 277 passing yards per game. Although stud wideouts Steve Ishmael, Ervin Philips and Amba Etta-Tawo are long gone, Devin Butler is poised for a breakout season. 

The receiver showed considerable grit in limited action as a possession receiver last year, but could be the Orange's big home-run hitter in 2018. Despite the ground game not being a top priority in years past, Syracuse can lean on senior running back Dontae Strickland to keep the chains moving with third-and-short bursts. Opposing defenses must also guard against Strickland, who possesses soft hands, in the screen game.

Western Michigan is coming off a disappointing 2017 season after a 13-1 campaign the year before. Junior quarterback Jon Wassink is back after missing the final third of the season. While he struggled against the likes of USC and Michigan State, he was effective in conference play. Over his final six games, Wassink completed 70 percent of his attempts and had a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 14-2.

We can tell you Oh is leaning toward the Over, but he has uncovered a critical X-factor that will determine the spread outcome of this game -- and he's only sharing it at SportsLine.

So which side of the spread should you back for Syracuse vs. Western Michigan, and which critical X-factor determines the outcome? Visit SportsLine now to see which side you need to be all over, all from the expert who's a perfect 4-0 in his last four selections involving the Orange.