NCAA Basketball Picks Syracuse vs. Pittsburgh

Jeff Grant

Wednesday, February 12, 2014 1:42 PM GMT

Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014 1:42 PM GMT

The Pittsburgh Panthers have been known to play at a high level against big-time opponents at the Petersen Events Center, as they prepare to take on the top-ranked Syracuse Orange Wednesday. Let’s take a closer look at the NCAA basketball odds for this Atlantic Coast Conference match-up.

We’re No. 1

Syracuse is on a school-record-tying 23-game winning streak that’s led directly to the No. 1 spot in the rankings, as it comes off a 57-44 victory over the Clemson Tigers as 12.5-point home favorites Sunday.

The Orange have four players averaging in double figures, with that group led by senior forward C.J. Fair, who is scoring 16.8 points a contest.

Over the last two-plus seasons, the program is 14-4 SU and 7-11 ATS in February, with the UNDER going 9-8 in that situation.

Tough sledding

Pittsburgh has come back to Earth a bit since starting conference play, but it has won its last two games in overtime, while going UNDER the betting total in its last three affairs.

The Panthers have stopped double-digit win streaks by the Orange two times in the last four years, while winning the last five meetings in this series at this venue.

Senior forward Lamar Patterson must play a solid game for the host, as he enters averaging 17.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists in conference play.

Keeping things close

The Orange have done a phenomenal job of not falling behind by large margins during the 2013-14 campaign, as their largest deficit in the last 11 games has been eight points at Boston College on Jan. 13.

Syracuse point guard Tyler Ennis is a big reason for the team’s solid play down the stretch, as he’s been named the ACC Rookie of the Week three times.

Quite a situation

College basketball handicappers need to take a long look at the Panthers in this spot, as they’ve won all nine of their games versus top-five teams when playing at this facility, while putting together a 13-1 SU mark against top-10 squads.

Pittsburgh is also 15-5-1 ATS in the last 21 overall meetings in this series.

Outlook

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Panthers as one of their NCAA basketball picks, as their three losses as betting favorites have come with an average line of five in the market.

Keep an eye on the SBR odds page—Syracuse could end up tipping off as a road favorite despite not facing much competition in true road games.

If that scenario occurs, I’ll be more interested in supporting Pittsburgh.

Pick: Pittsburgh Panthers -1

[gameodds]14/257640/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

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