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College Basketball Odds, Picks for Florida State vs. Syracuse (Jan. 15)

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  • The Syracuse Orange and Florida State Seminoles go to battle in Saturday afternoon ACC action.
  • Updated odds make the Orange -2.5 favorites over their conference foe.
  • Read on for Kody Malstrom's full betting analysis and top pick.

Florida State vs. Syracuse Odds

Saturday, Jan. 15
3 p.m. ET
ESPN
Florida State Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+2.5
-110
149.5
-110o / -110u
+125
Syracuse Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-2.5
-110
149.5
-110o / -110u
-145
Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

The ACC is bad, really bad.

Growing up as a die hard North Carolina fan, I used to fear Syracuse and its vaunted zone. Now, I don’t even recognize the product of basketball being played today. The zone is still there, yes, but it has as many holes as a slice of swiss cheese.

Another pesky squad over the years has been Florida State. Tall, lengthy and swallowing up the courts with its arms spread out, Florida State has been a formidable team to beat. While the defense has remained intact, the offense shoots enough bricks to build a barn game in and game out.

With both teams reeling, the ACC desperately needs one of these two squads to step up and help represent the league come March.

Both are coming into this one off of a win, so this matchup suits well for either the Orange or Seminoles to continue to build some momentum in a down year for both programs.


Florida State Seminoles

After getting blown out by Wake Forest on the road, Florida State has built a streak of wins.

Is Florida State starting to find its groove? It’s tough to say. The metrics are decent, but the offense needs to find its rhythm, and fast.

The Seminoles are coming off of a close win against Miami, a Hurricanes squad that beat Duke earlier this year. While they held the Canes’ high-powered offense to only 64 points, it’s worth noting that the Seminoles could only score 65 against a unit that ranks over 200th in AdjD, per KenPom.

Florida State’s offense needs to find scoring — and fast — if the team wants to build a case as a dark horse for the ACC tourney. The Noles currently rank eighth in scoring and 10th in field goal percentage in the ACC.

The Seminoles’ struggles with scoring production relates to a lack of a third option for a team that has 11 players contributing meaningful minutes. Caleb Mills and Malik Osborne have led the team all season, but after them, there is a drop off.

The Seminoles are benefiting from improved play from Matthew Cleveland, who is coming off of a 15-point night against the Hurricanes. If Cleveland can continue to give the Seminoles parity, then FSU may be able to rival the upper echelon of the ACC.

The defense continues to be FSU’s guiding light, as it ranks first in steals and third in blocks per game. The guards have been wreaking havoc for opposing competition, with three Seminoles averaging nearly two steals per game.

Guard disruption will once again be a key metric for the Seminoles’ success, as Syracuse comes in with a potent offense capable of scoring in bunches.

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Syracuse Orange

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Well, someone tell coach Jim Boeheim that this defense is broken and needs to be fixed as soon as possible if the Orange want another low-seeded run through the Big Dance.

Ranked 200th in AdjD, Syracuse has been giving open looks to opponents all season. While the Orange still clog the lane well, opposing teams are knocking down 3s consistently.

The defense has been scrambling, but the Syracuse offense has been one of the best in the nation. Nearly all its scoring is from its starters, as all five put up double digits and are playing no less than 28 minutes each.

While things have worked so far for the offense, I’m not putting any stock into Syracuse turning its season around, especially with potentially tired legs later in the campaign.

If one player goes down with an injury for any period of time, the Orange are in trouble depth wise. After center Jesse Edwards (who is the team’s fifth-leading scorer), the next leading bucket getter is forward Benny Williams, who averages 2.1 points per game.

Scoring may be difficult to come by against Florida State, though, as the Seminoles are one of the lengthiest teams in the nation, covering the court and disrupting clean looks.

If any of the Orange players go cold, the offense will fall apart fast.


Florida State vs. Syracuse Betting Pick

Since Syracuse gives opposing teams open looks all game, this may very well be the spot Florida State needs for its offense to get back on track. Is it enough for me to back the Seminoles in what is expected to be a tight one? No. Instead, I will have my eyes on the under.

Florida State has struggled against horrific defenses before — like its last time out against Miami.

If Florida State continues to struggle in the scoring department — even with open looks — then this creates a beautiful combination for an under play. That is especially true if its defense can contain Syracuse’s high-powered offense.

Neither team plays at a fast tempo either, with both around average in the nation in AdjT, per KenPom.

I expect a normal-paced clunker of a shooting night between both squads, giving me a comfortable feeling on my under ticket.

Pick: Under 149.5

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