Free NCAA Basketball Picks: Syracuse Talent To Prevail Against Duke

Swinging Johnson

Monday, January 18, 2016 6:02 PM GMT

The Orangemen have crushed the competition in their last pair of games while the Blue Devils are reeling after two consecutive losses. Let’s examine the odds to back our NCAA basketball pick.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Syracuse +11.5
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

 

Syracuse Orangemen (12-7 SU, 8-10 ATS)
The Orangemen started out 0-4 in conference play but have gotten well with a pair of victories over ACC rivals Boston College and Wake Forest. Syracuse welcomed BC to the Carrier Dome and dispensed with the Eagles by the score of 62-40, cruising to an effortless cover as 11-point home chalk in the NCAA basketball odds. Buoyed by that big win the Orange went down to Winston-Salem, North Carolina and dismantled the Demon Deacons 83-55 as two-point road dogs. It was the second dominating performance in a row after dropping four straight.

Senior forward Trevor Cooney has been a stone cold assassin from beyond the arc for the Orange. He bucketed 25 points, including six treys, in the team’s win over Wake Forest and is currently fourth on Syracuse’s all-time three-point scoring list with 231 and will most likely climb even higher once the season is finished. Despite some setbacks Syracuse is currently first in the Atlantic Coast Conference in steals averaging 8.67 thefts per game. While the offense has been less than scintillating averaging only 71.1 PPG (tied for 228th) the Orange’ defense has been impressive allowing just 64.4 points per game which ranks them 33rd in the nation.

 

Duke (14-4 SU, 8-8 ATS)
If you have laid the lumber with the Blue Devils in your NCAA basketball picks over the last pair of games then you have my sympathy. If you dared to bet them on the money line then you are no doubt looking for the sharpest corner of the nearest desk on which to bang your head. Duke had won 12-of-13 heading into their matchup in Clemson as 7 ½ point road favorites and the Tigers shocked Coach K’s crew with a 68-63 victory on Wednesday night.

Saturday night the Devils hosted the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame as 8½ point home chalk and once again they failed miserably bowing 95-91 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Blue Devils lost for the first time this season when scoring at least 79 points. Prior to that Duke was 14-0 when scoring at least 79, and 0-3 straight up when scoring less. The Blue Devils are second in the nation in the scoring department averaging a whopping 86.9 points per game while their defense is allowing 70.7 PPG which is good for 165th in the nation.

 

Betting Analysis
The question is do you trust this latest edition of the Duke Blue Devils? They are routinely invincible at home having gone over a year without a loss at home until they fell to the Irish on Saturday night. This season they are 10-1 straight up and 6-3 ATS when playing at the Cameron Indoor Stadium. This is a team that is extremely efficient in their shooting, converting on better than 48 percent of their shots though their defense has been porous at times as it was when Notre Dame torched them for 95 points.

Syracuse is quite the opposite of their opponent tonight. Offensively they can struggle as evidenced by their 71 points per game average but defensively they have been impressive holding opponents to a mere 64 PPG. The question in all this is will a juggernaut like the Blue Devils be able to permeate a solid defensive team like Syracuse? The trends say Duke is the play as the Blue Devils have gone 3-1 straight up and 4-0 ATS over their four. However, I feel the oddsmakers are quite right in anticipating a flood of square money on the Blue Devils because Joe Q. Public believes Coach K’s team will be “really, really mad” about losing their last two. Well of course they will but that doesn’t mean they cover a big number like the one being offered against a solid defensive squad like Syracuse.