The Orange and Fighting Irish will square off for the first time this season, with the odds currently favoring Notre Dame by a wide margin at home. Where's the best value?
The lines continue to grow, as the Fighting Irish opened as eight-point chalk, only to see that number grow to nine at a number of the top sportsbooks.
Want to try your luck at picking the total correctly? The O/U is listed at 143.5, which is one of the highest numbers of the night. We should see quite a good tempo to this ACC battle.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
The ACC may be one of the toughest conferences in the country, but the Fighting Irish have more than held their own so far. They're in a great spot, sitting in second in the conference behind only Virginia. They've gone 12-3 in conference play and are 24-4 overall, and as a result they can currently be found #9 in the AP Poll and #8 in the Coaches Poll.
There have been some standout wins along the way too. Notre Dame has already beaten Duke, UNC and Michigan State this season, so it's not like they've benefited from a cupcake schedule or something. The Fighting Irish have proved their worth with some big-time wins over top-notch programs, and that's why they're getting a ton of love from odds makers for this evening's contest against Syracuse.
Individually speaking, Jerian Grant has been the main man for Notre Dame. The guard is averaging 17.0 PPG, 6.5 APG and 3.0 RPG on the year while playing a team-high 36.3 minutes per contest. Pat Connaughton, Zach Auguste and Demetrius Jackson have all averaged in double figures as well, and Steve Vasturia has been a reliable presence too. The Fighting Irish appear primed for a deep run come March, but they'd love to take care of business to close out the regular season, starting with a home win over the Orange.
It hasn't been as dominant of a season as we're used to seeing out of Jim Boeheim's group. There's talent here, but the Orange have found themselves in the middle of the pack in the very competitive ACC. They're 8-6 in conference play and 16-10 overall, with their most impressive win coming over Louisville.
Syracuse will be looking to bounce back after a hard-fought three-point loss to Pittsburgh a few days back. The Orange were favored in the NCAA basketball odds coming in, but despite a big game from Rakeem Christmas (20 points and 12 rebounds), they fell short in front of their own fans against a hungry Panthers squad.
Christmas and company should have a renewed sense of focus heading into this evening, knowing that a win could really shake things up in the ACC. Michael Gbinije has really elevated his play recently too and will need to make a lot of plays in order to keep Syracuse withinhow so striking distance here. It would also help out a lot if Trevor Cooney (13.6 PPG), the junior guard, is able to play well.
NCAA Basketball Pick
As strong as the Fighting Irish have looked, and as much as home-court can help out in these conference showdowns, we feel this spread of nine points is just a little too high, and as a result we're liking Syracuse to cover here.
It's not like the Orange have been bad. Sure, there have been disappointments along the way, but they have a talented group and it's rare to see them lose in a big way.
So, in the face of what should be a tough atmosphere in South Bench, we think Syracuse will fight and claw on their way to keeping this game competitive. With our NCAA basketball picks, we're recommending backing the Orange as sizable underdogs on the road.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Syracuse Orange +8 at BetOnline