Syracuse vs. Virginia Tech Odds & Picks: Bet the Hokies on Saturday

Syracuse vs. Virginia Tech Odds & Picks: Bet the Hokies on Saturday article feature image

BLACKSBURG, VA – JANUARY 15: Virginia Tech Hokies forward Justyn Mutts (25) celebrates during a game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Virginia Tech Hokies on January 15, 2022 at Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg, VA (Photo by Brian Bishop/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

  • The Syracuse Orange and Virginia Tech Hokies go to battle in an ACC contest on Saturday.
  • The Hokies are moderate favorites in this matchup over Jim Boeheim's team.
  • Check out Anthony Dabbundo's top bet below.

Syracuse vs. Virginia Tech Odds

Saturday, Feb. 12
6 p.m. ET
Syracuse Odds
-110o / -110u
Virginia Tech Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Two of the hottest teams in the very down ACC are set to face off in Blacksburg on Saturday as Syracuse visits Virginia Tech. The Orange have won four consecutive games just in time for their late season run to the bubble discussion, even if three of those wins came against NC State, Boston College and Louisville.

No offense in America is executing better than Virginia Tech right now, who has seemingly made every 3 it has attempted in the last four games. In reality, the Hokies have made 53.2% of their 3s in the last five games and now get to play against a zone defense that allows more 3s than any team in the country.

To make matters worse for Jim Boeheim and the Orange, they announced Thursday that star center Jesse Edwards is out for the season. Edwards was in the midst of a breakout season and was the favorite for the ACC's Most Improved Player award. Also, he was Syracuse's best matchup advantage against an undersized Hokies front court on Saturday.

At some point, the Virginia Tech offense has to cool off, but will Saturday be the day? Let's dive into the matchup.

Syracuse Orange

The nation’s second shortest bench is even shorter now, and I have no idea what Syracuse is going to do to replace those Edwards minutes. Syracuse will first turn to backup center Frank Anselem, and the defense actually has been four points per 100 possessions better with Anselem in the game this season.

But he's a significant downgrade for the SU offense, which is among the best in the country because it can spread the floor with four good 3-point shooters, and Edwards is not ball dominant in the middle.

The offense when Edwards is out and Anselem is in this season has been considerably less efficient, by about 12 points per 100 possessions. Bourama Sidibe could feature in a backup center role, but there's little evidence he can play extended minutes because of chronic knee injuries over the last three seasons.

The interior defense aside, this is the worst defense of the Boeheim era. Syracuse is 225th in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency because the defense ranks 289th in percentage of unguarded 3-point attempts.

The result very much comes down to what kind of day the Hokies have from beyond the arc. Unlike Wake Forest, which produced a favorable overall matchup for Syracuse because it struggled against zone and relied on transition opportunities to score, Virginia Tech is not that. Syracuse crushed Wake by 22 but is solidly a road underdog here. 

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Virginia Tech Hokies

The analytics community has been staunchly defending this Virginia Tech team for the entire season, even when things looked ugly for Mike Young’s squad. The shooting was always going to positively regress, and it has in a big way.

The Hokies rank second in the nation in 3-point shooting, and that is no fluke, according to ShotQuality. The Hokies generate the second-best catch and shoot and third-best off the dribble open looks in the entire country.

When you look at the Virginia Tech defense, I don’t love the matchup for Syracuse either. The Hokies are top 40 in the country defensively at preventing open catch and shoot 3s and top 100 against off the dribble shooters. The Hokies are also top 30 defensively guarding the mid-range, an area where Buddy and Jimmy Boeheim are generally pretty successful. 

Virginia Tech struggles to defend the rim effectively and is outside the top 100 defensively there, but the Orange don’t have Edwards to exploit that anymore. The Hokies are also a bit weaker guarding the pick and roll, but I’m not sure how comfortable Anselem and point guard Joe Girard will be there.

There's some positive defensive regression coming from beyond the arc for the Hokies, who have allowed a 40% 3-point shooting rate in the ACC despite being pretty good at denying opponents good looks from deep.

Unlike the VT offense, which generates open looks at an elite clip, the defense has been unlucky to allow so many 3s.

Syracuse vs. Virginia Tech Betting Pick

Even the most elite shooting teams don’t stay hot forever, and shooting regression is absolutely coming for the Hokies, but I’m not sure this is the matchup to slow them down. Don’t be surprised if this game is lower scoring than you think, especially if the turnovers are way down, and both teams are forced to play in the halfcourt.

But Syracuse losing Edwards is one of two players that they cannot replace, and given that the Orange rank 357th in bench minutes, it's hard to see Anselem and Sidibe making up the difference in this matchup.

Virginia Tech will stay hot and end the four-game winning streak for the Orange as Syracuse takes a significant step up in class of opponent. The Orange's only road wins this season have come in games that ShotQuality said they should have lost.

The Hokies should roll at home here and shoot the 2-3 zone out of Cassell Coliseum.

Pick: Virginia Tech -7.5 or better

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