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Louisville vs. Syracuse College Basketball Odds & Pick: Value on the Under in ACC Clash

Louisville vs. Syracuse College Basketball Odds & Pick: Value on the Under in ACC Clash article feature image

Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images. Pictured: Jim Boeheim.

Editor’s Note: Wednesday’s Louisville vs. Syracuse men’s basketball game has been postponed due to issues related to COVID-19.

Louisville vs. Syracuse Odds

Louisville Odds +2.5
Syracuse Odds -2.5
Moneyline +120 / -148
Over/Under 141
Time | TV 7 p.m. ET | ACC Network
Odds as of Tuesday Night and via DraftKings.

Louisville and Syracuse meet on Wednesday night in the Carrier Dome in a key ACC matchup for both teams.

The Cardinals (11-4, 6-3 ACC) still have ACC regular-season title aspirations, which got a boost on Saturday with both Virginia and Florida State losing. Louisville then took care of business on Monday with an impressive 16-point victory over Georgia Tech.

This is a tough spot traveling to Syracuse on only one day of rest and preparation, but it’s a game the Cardinals can’t afford to lose in order to stay in the conference title race.

The Orange enter February where they’ve been for seemingly each of the past several seasons — squarely on the NCAA tournament bubble. Since a blowout loss at Pitt in mid-January, Syracuse has won three of their last four, including a resume-building victory over a top-25 Virginia Tech squad.

Chris Mack and Jim Boeheim are two of the best coaches in the business, and both know how important this game is. Fans should be treated to a hard-fought game that may resemble a classic Big East battle.

The Matchup

Despite its inconsistency, Syracuse ranks surprisingly well in many advanced metrics. The Orange are ranked 47th by KenPom and boast the 31st most efficient offense in the country. They’ve been up and down defensively but are 78th in defensive efficiency.

The Syracuse offense isn’t sophisticated by any stretch and is largely dependent on one-on-one matchups. The Orange’s two leading scorers, Quincy Guerrier and Alan Griffin, are both very gifted athletes who have benefited from having virtually unlimited freedom off the dribble.

The Orange also have more shooters this season than Boeheim is used to. More than 40% of Syracuse’s total field goal attempts have come from beyond the arc. Griffin and Joe Girard are both just shy of 100 attempts on the season, and Buddy Boeheim isn’t far behind with 88, despite missing three games.

Syracuse essentially lives and dies by the 3-ball and have had significant variances in offensive performance as a result. From an efficiency standpoint, the Orange are making just 31.8% of their attempts from distance.

Syracuse’s performance from beyond the arc will play a major role in this game. The Cardinals defend the 3-point line well, entering this contest ranked 31st in defensive efficiency and allowing just 30.9% shooting from distance.

Similar to Syracuse, the Louisville offense — 56th in offensive efficiency — has been a bit of a roller-coaster. The key to their offense having a good night typically depends on whether a third scorer emerges.

Louisville is very reliant upon guards Carlik Jones and David Johnson. The duo combines for 44% of the team’s scoring and 72% of its assists. This can become an issue, especially if one of the two gets injured or in foul trouble, or simply has an off-night.

Jae’Lyn Withers and Samuell Williamson are their next scoring options, and the Cardinals typically win when they get a big performance from either. Williamson had perhaps the best game of his career in the win over Georgia Tech on Monday, exploding for 20 points and 18 rebounds off the bench. In Louisville’s victory over Duke on Jan. 23, Withers stepped up for a crucial 13 points.

The Cardinals’ offense really struggled in their most recent loss to Clemson, managing just 50 points on 32% shooting. That ugly performance was triggered by an off-night from Johnson (four points, five turnovers), coupled with Withers and Williamson not being able to provide enough production

Williamson is the biggest X-factor going up against the Syracuse zone. He possesses the size and skill to play both in the middle of the zone or on the wing. He isn’t very reliable from 3-point land (29.6%), but knocking down a few shots would take pressure off the guards and put Louisville in a great position.

The Cardinals aren’t a terrific 3-point shooting team (31.9%), and they’ll need to be hot on Wednesday to give the Orange’s zone problems and come out with a victory.

Syracuse has found a great new piece at the top of their zone in backup freshman guard Kadary Richmond. With great length and athleticism for a point guard, Richmond is a perfect fit for the top of the 2-3. He’ll be able to frustrate Jones and Johnson and keep them out of the lane.

Richmond leads the team in steals despite only playing 20 minutes per game. Look for Boeheim to have him out on the floor more against Louisville after sparking a second-half comeback win over NC State.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

These teams match up well for an under for a couple of reasons.

First, both are inconsistent from 3-point range but defend that shot very well. The Orange have more potential to get hot, but the Cardinals’ discipline and athleticism on defense should help them limit Syracuse’s success from deep.

On the other end, I haven’t seen Louisville’s supporting cast do enough to believe they can do serious damage against the 2-3 zone. A heavy emphasis will be placed by Boeheim on getting out on Johnson and Jones, and the Orange should be able to limit their clean looks from the outside.

The spread feels about right as I expect a close game. I don’t have confidence in both teams getting to 70, however, so I see some value on the under.

Pick: Under 141 (down to 139).

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