Connecticut Huskies (16-5) +3.5, 150 O/U at Syracuse Orange (16-7)
-3.5, 150 O/U, Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y., 7 PM Eastern, Wednesday
by Badger of Predictem.com
Two Big East Conference schools that are both on winning streaks meet Wednesday as part of ESPNs rivalry week, when the Connecticut
Huskies travel to take on the Syracuse Orange in the Carrier Dome.
Not only are both teams playing really well of late (UConn on a five-
game streak, Syracuse on a three-game streak), but both teams are led
by Hall of Fame coaches looking to reach another milestone with a
victory. Connecticuts Jim Calhoun and Syracuses Jim Boeheim will
both be looking to earn their 767th career victory in tonights game.
The 19th-ranked Huskies started their five-game run back on January
20th, with an 89-73 victory over then-No. 13 Marquette. The Huskies
continued their impressive play beating several more ranked opponents
including Pittsburgh last Saturday, 60-53. Theyve also been doing it
without the services of leading scorer, Jerome Dyson, who is still on
indefinite suspension following an alcohol-related incident on campus.
Syracuse seems to have kept the ship afloat, rebounding from a really
bad start to the Big East schedule (went 3-4 in first seven games),
including a heartbreaker in OT at Georgetown, 64-62. Since the loss
to the Hoyas, the Orange has rattled off three in a row including two
impressive wins on the road last week at DePaul and at Villanova.
The sportsbooks opened the rivalry game with Syracuse as a 2-point favorite, with a total of 150. But most offshore sportsbooks have
already taken enough action on the Orange that the line has moved up
to 3-points. The moneyline has Syracuse listed as a -143, with
Connecticut as a +131.
Connecticut has responded well as a team since the Dyson suspension,
with just about everyone across the board picking up some of the
scoring slack. Guard A.J. Price has been the biggest difference, as
he has averaged 17 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.6 assists during the
win streak. He was a force in the Pittsburgh game, scoring 21 with
six boards and five dimes in the victory.
Improved shooting has been the key for the Orange during their winning streak. They shot an unbelievable 62 percent from the floor
in their win over Villanova last weekend, and have been scoring just
over 70 points per game during the streak (72.6).
Paul Harris (28 points) and Jonny Flynn (24 points) both enjoyed a great game last time out, as both of them went 8-of-11 from the floor
in the win. Donte Green, who leads the Orange with 18.3 points per
game, also had a good all-around game with 17 points, 7 boards and 3
Both teams usually play strong defense, but looking at the numbers it
doesnt seem to be the case this season. Connecticut allows 68.7
points a game, slightly better than the Oranges average of 73.1
allowed. But Syracuse has dialed up the pressure in the patented
matchup zone lately, allowing just 64 points a game during the
UConn won the first game between the two schools last season (a 67-60
win as a 4-point fave), but the Orange took the last two games
including a 78-65 win in the Big East tournament that sent the
Huskies home early for the second year in a row.
The rivalry has been pretty even of late too, as both teams have gone 3-3 SU in the past two seasons, and both teams are also 3-3 ATS in
the past two seasons as well.
For the season, Syracuse is a slightly better bet with an 11-10 ATS
record compared to Connecticut 7-9-1 ATS record. UConn is 3-1-1 ATS
during their winning streak, while Syracuse is on a strong 5-1 ATS
run in their past six games. UConn does struggle on the road though,
as they are just 5-14 ATS in their last 19 games on the road.
Another betting trend worth looking at is the under. The under has
cashed in at a strong rate for both teams (7-1 in last 8 Syracuse
games; 9-4-1 in UConns last 14 games on Wed.), as well as in the
head-to-head matchup in this rivalry (9-4 in last 13 head-to-head).
Badgers Pick: Both teams are on good runs, so momentum is debatable
in this game. But I like the way the Huskies have played since the
suspension of Dyson. Its been a sort of addition by subtraction
approach that I think has allowed the very talented Huskie roster
really focus on the task at hand. Theyre buying into Calhouns
schemes, and it shows. Take Connecticut plus the points.