Free College Basketball Picks: Villanova at Syracuse
by Dave Schwab - 12/27/2013
The No. 8 Villanova Wildcats will square off against one of their former Big East rivals this Saturday afternoon when they invade the Carrier Dome to face the No. 2 Syracuse Orange. Tip-off for this Big East vs. ACC clash is set for 2 p.m. (ET), and the game will be broadcast nationally on the CBS.
Villanova has climbed the rankings on the strength of a perfect 11-0 straight up start that has included quality victories over Kansas and Iowa. The last time the Wildcats were in action they hammered Rider 88-67 on Dec. 21 as 18.5-point home favorites. They are now 8-1 against the spread, with the total going “over” in three of their last five games.
The Orange have climbed all the way to the No. 2 spot in the nation with 11 SU victories in their first 11 games. They have been off since beating the High Point Panthers 75-54 on Dec. 20 in a game that had no posted line. Syracuse is 4-3 ATS, and the total has gone 3-1-2 in six games with a posted line.
Villanova at Syracuse Betting Storylines
The Wildcats come into this holiday showdown with an offense that is generating an average of 82.5 points a game while shooting 44.9 percent from the field and 32.7 percent from three-point range. While they may not be one of the best shooting teams in the nation, they have done a great job controlling the boards with 42 rebounds a game. Villanova has now held opponents to 68 points or less in five of the last six games.
JayVaughn Pinkston leads a trio of players scoring in double-figures with 16.5 points a game. He is converting on 51.9 percent of his shots from the floor and adding 5.3 rebounds a game. James Bell leads the team in rebounds with 6.5, and he is chipping in 15.4 points to go along with Darrun Hilliard’s 14.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and three assists a game. Hilliard is also Villanova’s biggest scoring threat from outside with a 39.2 shooting percentage from beyond the arc.
The Orange are scoring an average of 76.5 points, and they have done a decent job shooting the ball with a 47.1 field goal percentage. They are shooting 36.6 percent from three-point range, but a main area of concern has been consistency shooting foul shots with a 67.6 conversion rate from the free throw line. The one big disadvantage for Syracuse in this matchup could be under the boards with a team average of just 35 rebounds a game.
This team boasts four different players averaging at least 12 points a game led by CJ Fair. He is putting up 17.8 points while shooting 47.2 percent from the floor, and he is second on the team in rebounds with 5.3. Jerami Grant is averaging a team-high 5.7 rebounds with 12.9 points, and Trevor Cooney has added another 14.1 points. Cooney has shot 49.3 percent from outside the perimeter to help this team remain perfect of the year.
Villanova at Syracuse College Basketball Betting Tends and Game Lines
The Wildcats are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games played on a Saturday and 11-5-1 ATS in their last 18 games on the road. The total has gone over in six of their last seven road games.
The Orange are 4-1 ATS in their last five games against a team with a SU winning record but 1-6 ATS in their last seven Saturday games. The total has gone over in five of their last seven games against a team with a SU winning record.
Back when both these teams were in the Big East, the underdog went 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings, and the total went over in six of the last eight games between the two. The Wildcats have covered in four of their last five trips to Syracuse.
Free College Basketball Picks: Villanova at Syracuse Betting Predictions
This should be a great matchup between two teams that still know one another extremely well. Most of the games in this series have been tight over the past few seasons even when the Orange had the better team. I am not sure that Villanova can go into the Carrier Dome and get the SU win, but I am more than confident they will keep things close enough to cover with the four points.
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