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College Basketball Odds & Picks for Wake Forest vs. Syracuse on Saturday

College Basketball Odds & Picks for Wake Forest vs. Syracuse on Saturday article feature image

Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Buddy Boeheim (left) and Jimmy Boeheim (right).

  • Wake Forest travels to the Carrier Dome to take on Syracuse.
  • The Orange need a victory as they continue to fall out of the NCAA tournament picture.
  • Anthony Dabbundo dives into this clash and offers up his top selection.

Wake Forest vs. Syracuse Odds

Saturday, Jan. 29
8 p.m. ET
ACC Network
Wake Forest Odds
-110o / -110u
Syracuse Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Wake Forest and Syracuse have seen a reversal of their typical basketball fortunes this season, with the Orange languishing under .500 in mediocrity in the ACC and Wake Forest playing like an NCAA Tournament team.

Syracuse has now lost two consecutive games by double digits, a 20-point drubbing at Duke in Durham and an 11-point defeat to Pittsburgh on Tuesday that now has the Orange in serious danger of the first losing season in Jim Boeheim’s 46 seasons as head coach.

At 9-11, this is an all-in home and revenge spot for the Orange, who have shot really poorly from the perimeter in the last two games and project as a good shooting team.

Wake Forest’s crop of transfers have really blossomed together and turned the Demon Deacons into a true ACC contender in what’s been a down year for the conference.

But is this a good sell-high spot on them on the road Saturday?

Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Wake Forest attempted 37 3s in the first game at home against Syracuse, seven more than the Deacs have in any other game this season. Wake made just 11 in that game and ranks 210th nationally in 3-point field goal percentage.

The Demon Deacons have an elite interior offense and have been stellar against man defenses this season, but that hasn’t translated in their possessions against zones.

Wake is also 257th in offensive rebounding rate and won’t be exploiting the Achilles’ heel of the SU zone — the inability to rebound defensively. The Orange won the offensive rebounding battle, 15-7, in the first meeting and equaled them on the defensive glass.

Despite their impressive 17-4 record at this point in the season, the Deacs have been a bit lucky based on close game variance and ShotQuality metrics. SQ has them projected at 15-6, while Wake is 4-1 in close games this season, 31st-best in the country, per BartTorvik.

Compare this to Syracuse, which is 2-5 in tight games this year despite projecting as a good free-throw shooting team. A few bounces for both teams late in games could significantly alter their perceptions in the betting market.

Syracuse Orange

Although he will be available now, the injury to Symir Torrence — the Orange’s de-facto sixth man right now — means that the nation’s shortest bench is now even shorter.

Buddy Boeheim and Joe Girard had to play 76-of-80 minutes in the Syracuse backcourt because the Orange don’t have another scholarship guard, which left 6-foot-9 Cole Swider playing the top of Boeheim’s 2-3 zone for the additional four minutes.

That’s the major concern here with backing the Orange. Torrence just needs to be able to spell Girard, though, and Boeheim has indicated he’ll be alright to play some minutes.

Girard had his worst game of the season on Tuesday and typically responds with bounce-back performances following those terrible ones.

Buddy Boeheim has a ton of positive shooting regression coming and has been running cold, so don’t be surprised if Jim Boeheim’s younger son starts heating up from beyond the arc, too.

The Orange have made just 11-of-60 from beyond the arc in the last two games despite finding quality looks against Duke and decent ones against Pitt.

Syracuse is a high-variance team because of how much it shoots jumpers. But Buddy and Swider are expected to be in the high 30s from 3, and both are at sub 35% this season.

Despite Syracuse’s issues guarding anyone this season, the zone can absolutely make Wake shoot more 3s than they are comfortable with, and the Deacs won’t exploit the Orange on the offensive glass like some other teams in the league would.

Wake Forest vs. Syracuse Betting Pick

Syracuse covered +4.5 on the road at Wake Forest in overtime, but the Orange were pretty unfortunate to not win that game. A few Syracuse missed free throws in high leverage situations and a costly turnover inbounding the ball in the final seconds led to Wake forcing overtime.

WF led for large stretches of the first half, but the Demon Deacons had just an 8.8% to win the game with 11 seconds to play and the Orange led by as many as eight in the second half until a late comeback.

The Deacs just don’t match up that well against zones. The offense is elite against man defenses, in post-up situations and driving to the rim, but Wake doesn’t shoot well at all.

The Deacs are considerably below average against zone defenses thus far this season, and while the Orange’s defense can’t guard anyone this year, they still force teams to shoot from the perimeter to beat them.

This is a great buy-low spot on Syracuse, which also won’t turn the ball over frequently and let Wake get out in transition all that much.

As bad as things have looked for the Orange, who are shorthanded here, bank on some positive shooting regression and a victory as a home underdog on Saturday night.

Pick: Syracuse PK or better

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