Syracuse vs. Florida State Odds & Picks: The First-Half Play to Bet in ACC College Basketball Showdown

Syracuse vs. Florida State Odds & Picks: The First-Half Play to Bet in ACC College Basketball Showdown article feature image

Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images. Pictured: Joe Girard III

  • After a two-overtime win over Indiana, Syracuse travels to Florida State to face the Seminoles.
  • Meanwhile, the Seminoles are coming off a thrashing at the hands of Purdue.
  • Anthony Dabbundo dives into this duel and makes his top pick.

Syracuse vs. Florida State Odds

Saturday, Dec. 4
4 p.m. ET
ACC Network
Syracuse Odds
-110o / -110u
Florida State Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Florida State and Syracuse may be conference foes who are scheduled to play one another every year, but COVID-19 canceled the only scheduled meeting between these two programs last year in January 2021.

Both programs have had quite a bit of turnover since their last meeting in February 2020.

Only two Syracuse players — the starting backcourt of Joe Girard III and Buddy Boeheim — remain from the team that lost by three in Tallahassee. Florida State has a few more returnees, but has a very different cast of characters from the last few seasons of Seminoles basketball.

Both programs have struggled to begin the 2021-22 season, along with much of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Orange were blown out twice in the Battle 4 Atlantis and lost at home to Colgate, while FSU barely snuck out wins against Tulane and Boston University in the final minutes.

The Seminoles have turnover issues offensively, while SU has the worst defense it has ever had under head coach Jim Boeheim.

Syracuse Orange

The Orange’s biggest issues through seven games are on defense. SU is 5-2 to the over and many of the games haven't been particularly close to the total. They let up 100 points to Colgate, 67 to VCU (a season high for the Rams), 84 to Arizona State, 89 to Auburn and 110 to Indiana (in double overtime). 

Syracuse is 307th in effective field goal defense percentage allowed, ranks as one of the worst defenses of all the high majors at protecting the rim and doesn't guard shooters well, either.

Rebounding is always an issue in the Orange's 2-3 zone, but will be especially important on Saturday given that the Seminoles are 29th nationally in offensive rebounding. 

When you take out all priors from the defensive ratings, the Orange are 307th in overall defensive efficiency through seven games, and Boeheim has never had a defense rank outside the top 135 in KenPom for an entire season.

Syracuse lost a lot of its length and athleticism when Quincy Guerrier transferred to Oregon, Kadary Richmond transferred to Seton Hall and Alan Griffin turned pro.

The result was bringing in Jimmy Boeheim Jr. and Cole Swider, who are plus shooters and offensive players, but aren't good defenders.

With all of that said, Syracuse can score with anyone in the country. The Orange rank seventh in offensive efficiency when all priors are removed and only the seven games played are included, per Bart Torvik.

Buddy Boeheim is one of the best scorers in the entire country.

It remains to be seen how well the Orange will handle full court pressure because the early signs are quite ominous given their performances against VCU and Arizona State. Syracuse could wear out in the second half given its inferior depth and lack of ball handlers in the backcourt.

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Florida State Seminoles

Florida State isn’t exactly trending up with its performances either, after the Seminoles were boat-raced by Purdue on Tuesday night in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

Based on the opening seven games alone with priors removed, the Seminoles are 66th in overall offensive efficiency and 50th in defense.

FSU didn't have RayQuan Evans for the loss against Purdue, and while he's back in Tallahassee, it’s not clear if he’ll be back in the lineup for this game yet. Evans is a veteran leader of an FSU attack that is quite balanced across the board. 

The Seminoles lost three of the four scorers that averaged double-digit points last season — Scottie Barnes, RaiQuan Gray and M.J. Walker — to the pros, but as Hamilton does, he replenished their losses and has three players averaging 10+ points per game. Those players are Caleb Mills, Malik Osborne and Matthew Cleveland.

Osborne is a senior and a 6-foot-9 stretch guy who’s elite at both rebounding and shooting it from deep. Mills transferred from Houston and does a little bit of everything in the FSU backcourt. Cleveland is the freshman who has made 19 of his 21 attempts on close 2-pointers this season. 

Florida State can force plenty of turnovers and apply ball pressure to the SU backcourt, but it has turnover issues of its own on offense. FSU has turned it over on more than 20% of its possessions this season and despite Syracuse's issues defensively, one thing the Orange can do is force turnovers.

Syracuse vs. Florida State Betting Pick

The first half market isn't typically released until the morning of the game, but that's where I'll be looking in this game on Saturday.

I have concerns about the Orange's ability to hang with the Seminoles for 40 minutes given their lacking depth, defensive holes and inability to break through full court pressure.

However, the Orange's offense can score with anyone and the FSU turnover issues remain a concern for it in the half court.

If Syracuse can settle into its zone and make the Seminoles operate in the half court, it will take time for FSU to adjust. We saw Syracuse use some 1-3-1 zone instead of its famous 2-3 zone on Tuesday vs. Indiana, and differing looks could help to throw off the Seminoles' offense and force them into turnovers.

The Orange's high variance shooting volatility makes them fun to back as an underdog as opposed to a favorite. Despite the length edge for FSU, the depth edge won't be exploited early.

I'd expect to see a +4.5 or +5 in the first half given the spread of 8.5/9, so anything +4.5 or better is good to back SU in the opening 20 minutes.

Pick: Syracuse first half +4.5

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