Syracuse vs North Carolina Odds and Picks

Buddy Boeheim dribbling basketball

Syracuse guard Buddy Boeheim (35) dribbles the ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Boston College, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • The Syracuse Orange (7-2) visit the North Carolina Tar Heels (7-4) at 9pm ET on January 12th
  • Syracuse was supposed to play the Clemson Tigers but that game was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns
  • See the odds, spread, analysis, and best bet, below

The North Carolina Tar Heels and Syracuse Orange were originally supposed to meet on January 2nd, but that game was postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the Syracuse Basketball Program. Now due to an outbreak at Clemson, the two teams will meet on Tuesday night.

Syracuse is coming off of a 74-69 win over Georgetown on Saturday while North Carolina is riding high after getting a road win over Miami in their last action.

North Carolina had dominated the series winning nine straight before getting slaughtered 81-53 by Syracuse as three point favorites last March. The Tar Heels are favored by 3.5 points in this matchup.

Syracuse vs North Carolina Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
Syracuse Orange +4 (-112) +158 Over 143.5 (-108)
North Carolina Tar Heels -4 (-108) -188 Under 143.5 (-112)

Odds as of January 11th at FanDuel.

Syracuse Has Heart

In their first game back from a COVID-19 layoff last Wednesday, the Orange blew a double digit halftime lead to the Pitt Panthers and lost the game in the closing seconds. The message going into their game against Georgetown on Saturday was to play the full 40 minutes. The Orange did just that, beating the Hoyas 74-69.

Syracuse again took a double digit lead into the locker room at halftime but this time they held on in the second half. They were outscored by Georgetown 39-31 in the final half but they were never really in jeopardy of losing the game. Jahvon Blair poured in 16 points while dishing out 10 assists and Jamorko Pickett narrowly missed a double-double going for 17 points and nine boards.

North Carolina Needs Better Guard Play

Caleb Love and R.J. Davis were supposed to be the answer at the point guard position for the Tar Heels this season. To say they have been disappointing is a massive understatement. Both are shooting below 32% from the floor and struggled mightily in North Carolina’s road win over the Miami Hurricanes. Luckily for the Tar Heels, their front court came to play.

Love and Davis combined to go a miserable 2-for-14 from the floor against Miami but somehow that was enough to get a win. Rechon Black led the way for North Carolina by stuffing the stat sheet with 16 points, nine rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block. Day-Ron Sharpe turned in his second straight dominant performance with 12 points and 16 boards in the winning effort.

Best Betting Angle

Offensive efficiency has been an issue for North Carolina since conference play began a few weeks ago. On the season they are at 98.3 points per 100 possessions which ranks them 162nd in the nation. Over the last three games they are down to 93.5. In those three games, Love and Davis have combined to shoot 8-for-44 from the floor. Davis hasn’t hit more than one shot from the floor in any of those games.

2021 NCAA Men’s Tournament Championship Odds Tracker

Syracuse should be able to take advantage of the lack of firepower from the guard position as they are holding teams to a 46.3 effective field goal percentage. They are also not allowing teams to get to the free throw line. Only nine teams in the country have allowed less free throws on a per game basis.

Given the way North Carolina has been shooting the ball, it’s hard to imagine them winning this game, much less covering the four points. As a team they haven’t shot better than 35% in their last two outings and their last opponent, Miami, is a great comparison to Syracuse in terms of defensive efficiency. Both are right at 92.6 points allowed per 100 possessions on the season. This should be an ugly, grind it out game that will come down to the last possession.

Pick: Syracuse +4 (-110)

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