Odds & Pick for Syracuse vs. Duke College Basketball: Back the Orange and the Over in Pivotal ACC Battle

Odds & Pick for Syracuse vs. Duke College Basketball: Back the Orange and the Over in Pivotal ACC Battle article feature image
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Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Buddy Boeheim.

  • After being left for dead just a few weeks ago, Duke has new NCAA Tournament life after a huge upset of Virginia on Saturday.
  • In fact, both the Blue Devils and Orange are fighting for survival as the calendar creeps closer to March.
  • Who has the edge on Monday night in Durham? Pat McMahon breaks it down.

Syracuse vs. Duke Odds


Syracuse Odds +5.5 (-115)
Duke Odds -5.5 (-105)
Moneyline +185/-225
Over/Under 150.5 (-110)
Time | TV Monday, 7 p.m. ETESPN
Odds as of Sunday evening and via BetMGM.

Syracuse heads down to Durham to take on Duke on Monday night in a game that is vitally important to both teams. The Orange and Blue Devils are both squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble and neither can afford to drop this game.

Duke (10-8, 8-6 ACC) appeared to be completely out of the NCAA Tournament at-large bid conversation after dropping a home game to Notre Dame on Feb. 9 and falling below .500 overall. The Blue Devils went on to win their next three games, including a huge NET Quad-1 victory over Virginia on Saturday. The Blue Devils haven’t seemed to miss star forward Jalen Johnson, who last week opted out of the remainder of the season.

Syracuse (13-6, 7-5 ACC) is fresh off a thrilling comeback win over Notre Dame on Saturday. The Orange trailed by 20 points early in the second half, but rode their full-court press and hot shooting to quickly erase that deficit and defeat the Irish 75-67. The Orange lack a Quad-1 win on their resume and have a lot more work to do to get into the tournament field. After missing out on an opportunity for a Quad-1 road win last week when their game at Louisville was postponed, the Orange get another shot here against the Blue Devils.

The Matchup

When Syracuse has the ball

This is one of the better offensive teams Jim Boeheim has had in recent years. With a balanced scoring attack, the Orange have been very efficient on this end of the floor, ranking 32nd in adjusted offensive efficiency, per KenPom.

All five Syracuse starters average double-figures. Alan Griffin, Quincy Guerrier, and Buddy Boeheim lead the way, each averaging at least 15.2 points per game. Marek Dolezaj (11.2 ppg) and Joe Girard (10.5) have been consistent contributors as well. Their balance has been on display during their current three-game winning streak, with a different player leading the Orange in scoring in each contest.

One of the things that makes Syracuse tough to cover is its ability to score in a variety of ways. The trio of Griffin, Boeheim, and Girard are all very good outside shooters. Griffin (36.8%) has been the team’s most consistent 3-point shooter on the season.

Boeheim (33.9%) and Girard (34.1%) both went through some slumps early, but are shooting it much better as of late. Boeheim just exploded for a season-high 29 points against Notre Dame, hitting 6 of his 10 3-point attempts. Both players appear to be finding their rhythm at the right time, a great sign for the Orange heading into March.

While there’s a lot to worry about on the perimeter when defending the Orange, the player who’s hardest for opposing defenses to prepare for is probably Guerrier. The athletic sophomore forward is a tough matchup for most big men, thanks to his blend of strength and quickness and a great touch around the rim.

Duke has looked better defensively over the last three games, but has had its fair share of issues this season. The Blue Devils currently rank 78th in adjusted defensive efficiency.

In their last three, they have held their opponents to 59.3 points per game. However, their opponents during that their stretch weren’t exactly offensive juggernauts.

While Duke held Virginia to just 65 points, the Cavaliers did shoot 50% from the floor. This is an area that the Blue Devils have struggled with all season. They’re allowing opponents to shoot 46.6% from the field, an abysmal mark that ranks 294th in the nation. They’re even worse at defending the 3-point line, allowing 37.8% from deep (319th).

Facing a potent Orange attack that plays at a much quicker pace than Virginia, the Duke defense could be in big trouble.

When Duke has the ball

Offense is the clear strength of this Duke team, which ranks an impressive 12th in adjusted offensive efficiency. The Blue Devils shoot it very well from the field (45.9%) and from 3 (35.9%).

Matthew Hurt has been a stud in his sophomore campaign. He ranks second in the ACC in scoring at 18.5 points per game, and is getting it done with great efficiency. He’s fourth in the conference in 3-point percentage (46.9%), and eighth in field goal percentage (56.1%).

DJ Steward has been a reliable scorer for the Blue Devils as well. He’s posting 12.9 points per game on 44% shooting from the floor and 35% from 3. The question for this Duke team when Johnson left was who would fill the void as their third scorer.

So far, a number of different players have stepped their game up since Johnson’s departure. Wendell Moore and Joey Baker were both in double-figures in the Wake Forest win, while Jeremy Roach and Jaemyn Brakefield chipped in a combined 23 points against Virginia. While Duke lacks the top-end talent it’s used to seeing, it is deeper this year than it has been in recent seasons. That depth has paid off in the last couple of games and makes the blow of losing a starter for the rest of the year much easier.

Syracuse has been far from perfect defensively as well. It ranks 73rd in adjusted defensive efficiency and is giving up 72 points per game in ACC play.

The Orange typically defend the 3 well, but have struggled against the better shooting teams in the conference. Notre Dame was white hot in the first half from beyond the arc before cooling off in the second, but still finished 39% from deep on the day. Virginia lit up the Orange from 3-point land, hitting 14-of-31 attempts (45%). With the plethora of options Duke has and the way it has shot it lately, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Duke put up similar numbers from downtown against the Orange.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

Duke may be back from the dead, but I think the market is giving the Blue Devils a little too much credit for their recent success. After three straight wins and covers, I think this number is a little inflated.

Syracuse is hitting its stride as well, and has the chance to light the scoreboard in Cameron Indoor. Don’t forget, this Duke team gave up 91 and 93 at home in back-to-back losses against UNC and Notre Dame just a few weeks ago. The Blue Devils’ last three opponents didn’t have the offensive firepower to put up those kind of numbers, but the Orange are capable of doing so if they get hot.

I think this total is a tad low as well, as I don’t foresee Duke having much issue scoring either. The number opened at 149.5 on Sunday afternoon, and was quickly bet up a point. I won’t be surprised if it continues to climb before tip-off, as we should be for a fun and close shootout in this important ACC battle. 

Pick: Syracuse +5.5 and Over 150.5. Play down to +5 and up to 152.

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