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San Diego State vs. Syracuse Betting Odds: Opening Spread, Prediction for NCAA Tournament 2021

San Diego State vs. Syracuse Betting Odds: Opening Spread, Prediction for NCAA Tournament 2021 article feature image

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images. Pictured: Matt Mitchell.

  • San Diego State is a short favorite over Syracuse in the 2021 NCAA Tournament.
  • The Orange were lucky to avoid the First Four, but always pose problems in the tournament for teams unfamiliar with their zone defense. Syracuse reached the Sweet 16 in 2016 and 2018 as a double-digit seed.
  • Get our early analysis and team profiles for Syracuse vs. SDSU below.

#6 San Diego St. vs. #11 Syracuse Odds

Syracuse Odds +2
San Diego State Odds -2
Moneyline +115 / -140
Over/Under 137.5
Time Friday, 9:40 p.m. ET
Odds as of Sunday and via BetMGM

How San Diego St. & Syracuse Match Up

San Diego St.
All stats via KenPom.

Instant Analysis

This is a generous draw for the Orange, who are lucky to avoid the First Four. On paper, the Aztecs have an edge, and their top-15 KenPom defense should be able to give Syracuse trouble.

This game should open around a pick‘em or maybe with the Aztecs a small favorite, but I don’t see myself getting involved in the spread pregame. I just don’t know how well San Diego State will handle Syracuse’s 2-3 zone. It has really given teams that are unfamiliar with it issues in the NCAA Tournament. The zone powered Syracuse to a Final Four run as a 10-seed in 2016 and to the Sweet 16 as an 11-seed in 2018.

The way to attack this game is to see how comfortable San Diego State looks against the zone in the first few minutes and then make a live wager. If the Aztecs come out looking sloppy and confused, Syracuse and the under live will have great value. — Pat McMahon

What To Know About San Diego St.

As is typical of the Aztecs, they are one of college basketball’s best defensive teams this season. Brian Dutcher has San Diego State playing a lot like his former boss, Steve Fisher, with the No. 8-ranked adjusted defensive efficiency in college hoops, according to KenPom.

Offensively, Matt Mitchell and Jordan Schakel are a two-man wrecking crew, averaging 29.8 points per game. Schakel paces one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the country (38%) with a staggering 46.4% mark from deep this season. The Aztecs will grind with you for 40 minutes and you better be ready. — Matt Trebby

What To Know About Syracuse

While Jim Boeheim’s team will always be known primarily for its 2-3 zone, the Orange’s 21st-rated adjusted offensive efficiency, according to KenPom, is what has led them to success this season. Syracuse has three players averaging more than 14 points this season, led by coach’s kid, Buddy Boeheim.

When Alan Griffin is on, this offense is extremely dangerous, especially since the emergence of Kadary Richmond, who provides much needed depth and an elite creator in the half court. The Orange won 6-of-8 before dropping a buzzer-beating heartbreaker to Virginia in the ACC Tournament, so this is a team that will enter the tournament with plenty of confidence and momentum.

And we have seen Syracuse sneak into the tournament and make runs before. A unique zone will always be tricky to prepare for in a tournament setting against non-conference teams that aren’t used to seeing it, especially with shorter preparation times.

So, while this Syracuse zone doesn’t have as elite of length as some of Boeheim’s zones in the past, it still has the unfamiliarity factor working in its favor. Teams that struggle from the outside or that lack an effective point man at the top of the key will not want to see Syracuse anywhere near their name on the bracket — Matt Trebby

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