Thursday’s College Basketball Betting Previews: Miami-Syracuse, Washington-Oregon

Thursday’s College Basketball Betting Previews: Miami-Syracuse, Washington-Oregon article feature image

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Syracuse Orange guard Tyus Battle (25), Miami Hurricanes guard Anthony Lawrence II (3) .

With only three Thursday games featuring ranked teams, the wagering intrigue is found in a pair of under the radar college basketball matchups.

We will examine two teams with a deep coaching connection. The Jim Boeheim Syracuse Orange host the Miami Hurricanes while Boeheim’s former assistant, Mike Hopkins, will lead the Washington Huskies against the Oregon Ducks.

Let’s take a look at the betting angle on each game.

Betting Odds: Miami Hurricanes at Syracuse Orange

  • Spread: Syracuse -8
  • Over/Under: 138.5
  • Time: 8 p.m. ET
  • TV: ACCN

Syracuse (13-5) has turned their season around after a shaky start. They have vastly improved since losing back to back non-conference games for the first time in 43 years. The Orange have won six of their past seven games including a thrilling 95-91 overtime win at Duke on Jan. 14.

Syracuse is only 9-8 overall against the spread but is 6-1 in their last seven games. Miami (9-8) has struggled, especially in conference play. The Hurricanes are only 1-4 in the ACC. The Hurricanes are also 0-3 overall on the road and just 1-4 ATS.

The problem for Miami is their defense. In their five ACC games, the Hurricanes rank 13th among the 15 conference teams in defensive efficiency and 2-point percentage defense. They rank last in the ACC in defensive rebounding and block shots.

Miami has been strong on offense, ranking 61st in the country in offensive efficiency. They are shooting 36.5% on 3-pointers, which increases to 38.3% within conference games.

Sophomore guard Chris Lykes (18.1 ppg, 38% 3P) has been fantastic, as well as senior guard Anthony Lawrence (12.4 ppg, 37% 3P). The question is:  will they stay efficient from deep in the Carrier Dome?

The Orange are a different team from earlier in the season.  In their five conference games, they are holding ACC teams to a 46.3% effective field goal percentage and 29.4% from beyond the arc. They have dominated defensively on the interior, leading the Pac-12 with 6.5  blocks per game in conference.

Junior guard Tyus Battle has averaged 27 points over his last two games, while forward Elijah Hughes and Oshae Brissett have shot a combined 45% (10 of 22) from deep.

The true “head of the dragon” is point guard Frank Howard who has been a disruption on defense. He has two steals in each of his last three games and has scored double-digits in three of his last four games.

Miami is outmatched on the interior and will need to rely on superior three-point shooting to stay competitive. Look for the trio of Battle, Hughes, and Brissett to score easily on the Hurricanes and Howard’s defense will contain Lykes.

The Hurricanes porous defense will allow Syracuse to score easily and the defensive length of the Orange will carry the home team to a comfortable victory.

THE PICK: Syracuse -8

Betting Odds: Washington Huskies at Oregon Ducks

  • Spread: Oregon -2.5
  • Over/Under: 132.5
  • Time: 8 p.m. ET
  • TV: ACCN

Oregon (11-7) has been an inconsistent team all season. Their only impressive non-conference win was on a neutral court against Syracuse, when the Orange were without point guard Frank Howard and the Ducks still had 7-foot-2 Bol Bol. In the nine games without the star freshman center, the Ducks are just 5-4.

Oregon is 9-7 overall against the spread but just 2-3 in their five conference games.

Washington (14-4) enters this game having won seven games in a row and eight of their last nine. They are a perfect 5-0 in conference, including impressive back to back road wins at Utah and Colorado. The Huskies are also 5-0 ATS in their Pac-12 games.

The Ducks have searched for an offensive identity since losing Bol Bol. In their conference games, they rank 10th in eFG percentage and 11th in 2-point field goal percentage.

Junior guard Payton Pritchard (11.9 ppg) is the leading scorer but has been wildly inconsistent. In Oregon’s 87-84 OT home loss to UCLA, Pritchard was 0-of-6 from the field and 0-of-5 from three-point range.

The Ducks will need to continue to get production from senior forward Paul White (10.8 ppg) who has scored double-figures in his last six games. Oregon was outrebounded 89-63 in their home losses to Oregon State and UCLA, which is concerning against the length of Washington.

With a win at Oregon, the Huskies firmly establish themselves as the team to beat in the Pac-12. Washington has a 57.9% effective field goal percentage in their conference games, ranking first by a wide margin. They are also first in the Pac-12 in 3P, shooting a blistering 43.7%.

Washington has also been the best defensive team in the conference. Over their five Pac-12 games, they rank first in adjusted defensive efficiency, effective field goal percentage allowed, three-point percentage, blocks, and steals.

The Huskies’ length in Mike Hopkins’ zone have stifled the opposition from deep. Their first five conference opponents have shot a combined 26% (27-of-102) from three-point range.

Sophomore guard Jaylen Nowell (16.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 40% 3P) leads a balanced and versatile scoring attack with senior forward Noah Dickerson (13.2 ppg, 6.7 rpg) as the primary interior option.

With two strong defenses, this game rates to be a low-scoring and close contest. Oregon will struggle inside without Bol Bol against the active defensive length of Washington.

The Huskies are the best all-around team in the Pac-12 and are playing superior basketball on both ends of the floor.  Oregon has won the last seven games at home in this conference rivalry, but the talent discrepancy has never been greater.

Look for Washington to hold a sizable rebounding advantage and ride their hot three-point shooting to an upset road victory in Eugene.

THE PICK:  Washington +2.5