Syracuse vs Virginia Odds, Picks | How to Bet This ACC Total
Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images. Pictured: Virginia’s Kihei Clark.
Syracuse vs Virginia Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Virginia began the 2022-23 season 8-0 with multiple impressive wins in nonconference play, but the Cavaliers have sputtered in league play with losses at Miami and Pittsburgh.
Against the Hurricanes, the Cavaliers spotted a 10-point first-half lead. Against the Panthers, the Hoos tossed away a double-digit first-half lead to lose by three.
Strength of schedule plays a huge role in this, but the Orange are 3-1 in the ACC and have quietly won seven of their last eight games since an embarrassing 29-point defeat to Illinois to begin December.
These two programs have played a bunch of thrillers since the Orange joined the ACC, but Virginia will expect a comfortable bounce-back victory as a double-digit home favorite.
There are paths to success for both offenses in the underlying numbers, though, and that could lead to more points than the market is anticipating with a total in the 120s.
Syracuse's offense lost a ton of production from last season, including most of the elite shooting that had propelled it to a top-30 offense in terms of efficiency.
But some keys remain. Joe Girard, for all of his defensive faults, is still a great scorer and someone with plenty of experience shooting over Virginia's pack-line defense.
The Orange have struggled with teams that apply a ton of ball pressure to disrupt their offensive rhythm, but Virginia isn't that team. Syracuse isn't going to turn the ball over, a major key in preventing Virginia from completely suffocating the game and stalling it in the half-court.
Syracuse has three players shooting at least 36% from beyond the arc, and most of the time, the Orange's offense has held up against Tony Bennett's defenses.
There have been exceptions, but scoring hasn't been the issue for the Orange against this UVA defense the last three seasons. Syracuse runs most of its offense through ball screens and cuts, and Virginia surprisingly grades out poorly there defensively this season.
The problem for Syracuse in this matchup has been the defense. Bennett often put Kihei Clark at the heart of the 2-3 zone and spaced the floor with shooters.
The Cavaliers are an elite zone offense this year, and the Orange's defense remains outside the top 100 in efficiency.
Virginia doesn't make a huge effort for offensive rebounds because it prioritizes preventing transition opportunities. But because the Orange's zone is one of the worst defensive rebounding teams in the country, the Cavaliers might get a few more second-chance looks.
Given how poorly Syracuse's perimeter defense grades out, Virginia's offense should be able to get just about any look it wants.
The Cavaliers saw plenty of zone last year and didn't really have the shooters to consistently beat said zone. They were a below-average zone offense and still beat Syracuse in the Carrier Dome with 1.17 points per possession in that game.
Virginia has more perimeter shooting now, though, and that will make it more difficult for teams to zone the Cavaliers. They're already seeing way less zone this year than last year, per Synergy. But when a team is playing Syracuse, it's going to see exclusively zone.
Virginia has been excellent against zone looks and ranks in the 89th percentile in spot-up jumper efficiency. Clark will have no problem getting his way into the middle of the zone and finding shooters to exploit Syracuse on Saturday.
The Cavaliers normally look to get Clark and Reece Beekman in a ton of pick-and-roll situations, but it hasn't really been effective this season.
Opponents can't really beat the Orange with ball screens, so it might actually be better for the Cavaliers to get away from ball screens and focus on cutting and shooting from the perimeter.
Syracuse vs. Virginia Betting Pick
Virginia's improved 3-point shooting and the Cavaliers' mediocre ball screen defense this season provide avenues for both offenses to find success in this matchup.
The Orange will try to push the pace as much as possible, and betting Virginia overs isn't for the faint of heart. But the total is a bit more deflated than it should be given both offensive advantages.
This isn't the Virginia of last season that couldn't shoot over the zone. I'm expecting solid efficiency for this offense, which has torn up mediocre Syracuse zones in the recent past.
The Orange's defense has shown improvement in recent weeks, but Virginia is a much stiffer test offensively. I'd bet the over at 129 or better.