NCAA Basketball Picks for Virginia vs. Syracuse: Give the Points as Cavaliers Aim for ACC-Title

Darin Zank

Monday, March 2, 2015 3:25 PM UTC

Monday, Mar. 2, 2015 3:25 PM UTC

Virginia is on the verge of a second straight ACC regular-season title, if it can get past Syracuse Monday night. But can the Cavs cover as six-point favorites at the Carrier Dome?

Virginia Cavaliers vs. Syracuse Orange
Most of the NCAA Basketball odds market opened this game with Virginia favored by six points; many books then dropped the Cavs to -5.5 in the early betting.

Those who think Syracuse might win this game outright could get +200 at BookMaker.

Also, as of early Monday morning BookMaker was listing the OVER at 114.5, while BetOnline was lining the UNDER at 116.


The Situation
Virginia has won eight games in a row, after beating Virginia Tech Saturday 69-57. But the Cavs couldn't cover as 19-point favorites, and in fact, are just 3-5 ATS during their SU winning streak.

Virginia led the Hokies by only four points at halftime, pushed that lead to 13 early in the second half, stretched it to 16 late in the game but never had the spread covered. For the game the Cavs shot 51 percent from the floor, but Tech hung close by going 9-for-19 from 3-point range.

Last Wednesday Virginia roasted Wake Forest 70-34, easily covering at -7.

At 27-1 overall, 15-1 in conference play Virginia has already clinched at least a share of the ACC regular-season title, and would be a No. 1 seed if the NCAA tournament started today.

Syracuse is riding the college basketball roller-coaster at the moment, alternating wins and losses SU and ATS for the last month. Saturday the Orange lost at home to Duke 73-54; just before that they pulled a 65-60 upset at Notre Dame; just before that they lost at home to Pitt; and just before that they upset Louisville. If we thought recent form was going to hold tonight we'd place our NCAA basketball picks on Syracuse for the upset.

Big-picture, though, at 18-11 overall and 9-7 in ACC play Syracuse is just playing out the string on this season, having self-imposed a postseason ban.

The Orange shot just 31 percent from the floor Saturday against the Dukies, and made just three of 20 shots from beyond the arc.

This is the first meeting between these teams this season. Last season Virginia won the only meeting 75-56 in Charlottesville, covering as a four-point favorite in the victory that clinched the ACC title for the Cavs.


By the Numbers
Virginia is shooting 46 percent from the floor this season, while holding opponents to just 35 percent FG shooting, which ranks second-best in the nation.

Syracuse is shooting 43.5 percent from the floor, while holding foes to 40 percent shooting.


Cavs-Orange Betting Trends
Virginia is 13-9 on the UNDERS this season, as Cavs games have averaged 116 points. UVA has also held its last seven opponents to 60 points or less, and five of its last seven opponents to 49 points or less.

Syracuse is 12-10 on the OVERS, as Orange games have averaged 132 points.

Virginia is 8-2 ATS in true road games this season.

Syracuse is 4-10 ATS at home.


Injury Update
Virginia G Justin Anderson (13 PPG) is out with a broken finger, and G London Perrantes is playing with a doubly broken nose. But the Cavs just keep keepin' on.

Cavs-Orange Free Pick
Virginia is the better team, with more to play for, on the road, where the spread is more amenable. And Syracuse just doesn't inspire any betting confidence at the moment. So we'll go with the Cavaliers, giving the points.

Free College Basketball Pick: Virginia -5.5 at 5Dimes

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