Syracuse Orange vs Duke Blue Devils Betting Preview

The college basketball Saturday gets started with a noon game in the ACC between the Syracuse Orange and the no. 6 Duke Blue Devils. With Coach K retiring, this will be the penultimate matchup between the two winningest coaches in college basketball history. The Blue Devils are listed as 13.5-point favorites at home, with the over/under set at 157.5 points.

Syracuse is in desperate need of a win as the Orange visit Cameron Indoor Stadium. Thanks to a recent three-game losing streak, Jim Boeheim’s team has dropped four of its last six games. Syracuse is sitting uncharacteristically at 9-9 on the season and just 3-4 inside the ACC.

Of course, the Blue Devils are also eager to get back on track. Duke has lost two of its last four games, including a road loss to Florida State earlier this week. While they look good at 14-3 overall, the Blue Devils are a game and a half behind Miami at the top of the ACC. A league most believe Duke should win going away this season.

Big Men on Campus

The Blue Devils are led this season by Paolo Banchero, the uber-talented freshmen who can do just about everything on the court well. Banchero is averaging 18.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game and is a threat to score at all three levels. He also has a great running mate in Wendell Moore, who is leading Duke in assists with 4.6 helpers per game while also scoring 15.2 points per game.

Meanwhile, the Duke supporting cast is loaded with size and athleticism, with seven-foot center Mark Williams averaging 9.6 points per game and protecting the rim with 3.4 blocks per game. The likes of A.J. Griffin, Joey Baker, and Theo John also give the Duke frontcourt plenty of depth. However, the Blue Devils could be getting more from their backcourt of Trevor Keels and the inconsistent Jeremy Roach.

Three-Point Parade

The Orange has five starters who are all averaging double figures but have no depth to speak of, as nobody else on the roster is averaging more than two points per game. That being said, Syracuse has one of the best players in the ACC in Buddy Boeheim, who averages 19.2 points per game despite paying extra attention to him. Meanwhile, his backcourt mate, Joe Girard, leads the ACC by making 45.5% of his three-point shots while averaging 13.9 points and 4.4 assists per game.

Even the Syracuse frontcourt has excellent outside shooters in Jimmy Boeheim and Cole Swider. Both are shooting over 36% from the perimeter and averaging at least 12 points per game, while Boeheim is also a capable driver. The Orange also has one of the most underrated centers in the league in Jesse Edwards, who makes an impact at both ends, averaging 12.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, and three blocks per game.

Close But Not There

Despite their disappointing record, Syracuse’s four ACC losses have come by a total of 14 points. That includes a one-point road loss to a Miami team that sits atop the ACC standings. While the Orange faces an uphill battle, they have enough shooters to keep them within 13.5 points and beat the spread.


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