Free NCAA Basketball Picks: California vs. Syracuse

Jeff Grant

Friday, March 22, 2013 3:04 PM GMT

The Syracuse Orange picked up the most lopsided victory in the NCAA Tournament on Thursday, as they now prepare to take on the California Golden Bears with a trip to the Sweet 16 on the line.


Let’s take a closer look at the College basketball odds for this matchup between the Big East and Pac-12 Conference at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, CA, with the opening tip scheduled for 9:40 p.m. ET on TBS.

Let SBR be your 2013 NCAA Tournament betting headquarters.

Dominating performance

Syracuse had no trouble with the late tip of flying cross country for its opening-round contest, as it picked up a dominating 81-34 victory over the Montana Grizzlies as 13-point favorites Thursday, while going UNDER the posted total of 127.

Orange coach Jim Boeheim improved to 25-5 when playing in the first game of an NCAA Tournament, while he’s 49-27 overall in the event.

Revenge

California gained revenge from suffering a one-point loss to the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels during the 2012-13 college basketball regular season, as it came away with a 64-61 victory as 3.5-point neutral-site underdogs Thursday, while going UNDER the posted total of 131.5.

The Golden Bears are now 2-5 against the spread (ATS) in their last seven games in the Big Dance, while the UNDER is 12-4 in their last 16 games on a neutral floor.

Round of 32

Boeheim has gone 9-4 straight up and 8-5 ATS in the Round of 32 since 1991, which is important to consider when making your NCAA tournament picks Saturday, especially since the coach he’ll be facing has had little-to-no success at this particular stage.

California’s Mike Montgomery is 3-8 SUATS when reaching this stage over the same period of time, which is much different than his 12-3 mark in openers.

Virtual home game

A lot is going to be made about the 12th-seed Golden Bears playing a virtual home game in this matchup, as their Berkeley campus is just 47 miles away from San Jose, while the Orange made the farthest trip of any team in the tournament.

California is also 22-8-1 ATS in its last 31 Saturday games, which is important to consider due to the Pac-12’s normal Thursday-Saturday conference schedule each year.

[gameodds]14/225381/43/us[/gameodds]

Prediction

I’ve established the Orange as 5.5-point neutral-site favorites Saturday, but the odds have opened the line at 7.5. Should they move to five points or lower, I recommend backing Syracuse, otherwise California deserves a look at the current offering of 7.5 or anything six or above.

NCAA Basketball Picks: California +7.5 at 5Dimes