Willie’s NCAAB season picks record: 22-14-2 (+7.25 units)
Tuesday, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Free NCAAB Pick: Buffalo ATS
Best Line Offered: BetOnline
An opportunity to bounce back from an upset loss at home this past weekend awaits Jim Boeheim and Syracuse on Tuesday, and it comes against an unbeaten and ranked Buffalo Bulls squad that the Orange have dominated over the history of the New York rivalry.
Buffalo enters the Carrier Dome amid its first 10-0 start since 1930-31 and first 10-game win streak in more than 50 years, but the NCAA basketball odds say all that stops at Syracuse where the Orange are small favorites. Scoreboard bettors will be looking at the mid-140s for their wagers.
‘Cuse 265th In Country In FG%
Since succeeding Bobby Hurley three seasons ago, Nate Oats has continued to push Buffalo into the national picture with a pair of MAC titles and NCAA Tournament appearances. The Bulls’ biggest win last season was in the first round of March Madness, taking down No. 4 seed Arizona by 21 points before falling to No. 5 seed Kentucky. Their biggest win this season came in the second game at then-No. 13 West Virginia, a 99-94 overtime decision as double-digit underdogs. Tuesday’s tilt starts a four-game road trip for Oats and Buffalo, the next stop Friday night at No. 21 Marquette.
Closing as 9-point chalk at Bookmaker against Old Dominion on Saturday, Syracuse blew a double-digit lead while the Monarchs came alive in the second half for the 68-62 upset. The Orange shot just 33% from the field, something that has plagued Boeheim’s club all season, and left 12 points at the charity stripe. They dropped successive home games late last season when N.C. State and North Carolina picked up dubyas at Carrier Dome, the Orange softening that with a road win at Miami between the setbacks to the Wolfpack and Tar Heels, and they haven’t lost back-to-back home games in nearly three years when Clemson and UNC turned the trick.
Bulls On 18-Game Skid In Rivalry
The matchup Tuesday night is the 34th meeting between the Empire State rivals, Syracuse holding a commanding 28-5 advantage and riding an 18-game win streak over Buffalo. Last season’s meeting was the first since December 2001, and also took place at the Carrier Dome where the Orange pulled away in the final three minutes for the 81-74 victory. The Bulls sent their backers to the pay window as 10½-point underdogs and the final hopped a 142-point total.
I’m expecting a tight ballgame that comes down to free throws at the end, and will take the underdog Bulls in my NCAAB picks.