Syracuse vs Illinois Odds, Picks | NCAAB Betting Guide

Syracuse vs Illinois Odds, Picks | NCAAB Betting Guide article feature image

Photo by Isaiah Vazquez/Getty Images. Pictured: Judah Mintz (Syracuse)

  • Syracuse and Illinois go head-to-head in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Tuesday evening.
  • The Orange have struggled to start the season and are coming off of a loss to Bryant.
  • So, how do we bet this game? Charlie DiSturco has you covered.

Syracuse vs. Illinois Odds

Tuesday, Nov. 29
7:30 p.m. ET
Syracuse Odds
-110o / -110u
Illinois Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Two teams trending in opposite directions meet as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Tuesday night, as Syracuse heads to Champaign to take on No. 16 Illinois.

The Orange have dropped two straight, while the Illini bounced back from a loss to Virginia with a 33-point pummeling of Lindenwood on Friday night.

Are the Fighting Illini overvalued at home, or will their offense carry them to another blowout win at the State Farm Center?

Syracuse Orange

The stock could not be any lower for Syracuse.

Gearing up for their first true road game of the season, the Orange have already dropped three of their opening six games. They were picked apart by Colgate at home and have dropped back-to-back games to St. John's and Bryant.

Head coach Jim Boeheim remains stubborn on his defensive schemes, and the 2-3 zone has been ineffective so far this season despite SU's length (41st in average height). Opponents are shooting 35.6% from beyond the arc (241st in the country) and are attempting nearly half their shots from 3.

But inside the arc, Syracuse's rim protection has been strong. Senior Jesse Edwards remains a force in the paint, and Benny Williams' athleticism has provided a major boost on the defensive end, too.

SU ranks 60th in 2-point defense and sits inside the top 100 in both Adjusted Defensive Efficiency and turnover rate.

The star of this offense is highly-touted freshman Judah Mintz. He leads the team in scoring (16.2 PPG) and that includes his early ejection against Bryant after an altercation with Doug Edert. Mintz takes nearly 30% of shots while on the floor and leads the team in assists.

Alongside Mintz is the do-it-all center Edwards, who is vital to Syracuse's success on both ends of the floor. He's top-75 in both offensive rating and true shooting, 12th in block rate and 43rd in free-throw rate. SU goes as he does.

The rest of the team remains a bit Jekyll & Hyde. Joe Girard III has shooting upside — 31 points against Richmond — but enters with just nine points on 2-of-22 shooting over the last two games.

Williams has a weak offensive game and freshmen Chris Bell and Justin Taylor are both adjusting to NCAA play. All have a chance to erupt — Taylor had 25 points against Bryant, Bell added 14 — and provide help alongside the duo of Mintz and Edwards.

Syracuse doesn't excel in a specific area on the offensive end, but it doesn't struggle either. The Orange sit about league average in both 2-point and 3-point offense, are 76th in turnover rate and sit at 47th in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency.

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Illinois Fighting Illini

This is one of the more interesting teams in the country. Tasked with replacing four starters from a season ago, Brad Underwood has lived up to the task in the early going.

Illinois has dismantled lesser competition and split a pair of matches with UCLA and Virginia. There's just three players from last year's roster — no seniors — that returned for the 2022-23 season.

It all starts with Texas Tech transfer Terrence Shannon Jr. The senior ranks inside the top 100 in offensive rating, 22nd in fouls drawn per 40 minutes and is shooting a blistering 47.1% from 3.

Freshmen guards Skyy Clark and Jayden Epps were immediately thrusted into large roles, while Dain Dainja has been tasked with replacing the large loss of Kofi Cockburn in the paint.

The Fighting Illini rank 11th in Adjusted Tempo, fifth in eFG% and seventh in 2-point offense. They shoot 46% of all field goals from beyond the arc — converting at a 37.7% clip — and are 38th in average height.

Coleman Hawkins anchors the defense — alongside Dainja — and in six games, the Illini have ranked inside the top 25 in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency, eFG%, turnover rate and 2-point defense.

This, in theory, is a perfect matchup for Illinois. The Illini are in love with the 3 ball, are a run-and-gun offense (11th in tempo) and can match Syracuse's length inside.

But they do have some issues worth noting that could lead to a surprisingly close game. For starters, they rank 305th in turnover rate. Illinois was able to escape UCLA despite 21 turnovers, but that was spearheaded by a 12-of-25 night from 3.

The Illini's turnover issues are also a bit alarming given their early-season schedule. Yes, Illinois has played UCLA and Virginia, but the other four games have come against opponents outside the top 265 in KenPom.

Included in those wins — albeit in dominant fashion because of its size and defense against lesser opponents — Illinois turned the ball over 15+ in three of those four games.

Syracuse vs. Illinois Betting Pick

It's time to hold your nose and buy low on Syracuse. This is a perfect spot for the Orange to bounce back, and I think we're getting an inflated price due to recency bias.

While Syracuse's loss to Bryant looks bad, it was without Mintz (ejection) and Williams (illness) for the majority of the game, yet it still nearly won.

Illinois, meanwhile, has blown out all four lesser opponents, and while SU is no UCLA or Virginia, it should be disruptive.

I'm not a fan of the 2-3 zone by any means, and it's particularly ineffective in today's game, as 3-pointers are preferred. Every player on this Illinois team can shoot the ball, but this is a pretty inexperienced roster (309th) that will be thrown a completely different scheme early into the season.

The Fighting Illini also rank 305th in turnover rate, which should be an issue against Syracuse's zone. For as much as SU has struggled defending the 3 ball, this is a disciplined team (43rd in FTA/FGA) that should create plenty of transition opportunities.

Do I think Illinois wins this game? Yes.

But is Illinois catching too many points? Also yes.

I expect Syracuse to keep this game close. The Orange have the offensive potential to run-and-gun with Illinois, and I think they'll do just enough on the defensive end to stay within striking distance before Illinois pulls away late.

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