Virginia Cavaliers vs. Syracuse Orange Pick

by | Mar 4, 2019 | cbb

Virginia Cavaliers (26-2 SU, 21-7 ATS) vs. Syracuse Orange (19-10 SU, 17-12 ATS)
When: Monday, March 4, 2019 – 7 p.m. ET
Where: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, New York
TV: ESPN

Point Spread: UVA -6.5 / SYR +6.5 (MyBookie Sportsbook)
Total: O/U 124

Last Time Out: Virginia beat Pittsburgh 73-49; Syracuse beat Wake Forest 79-54

Scouting the Cavaliers:

After crushing Pittsburgh over the weekend, the Cavaliers find themselves on a six-game winning streak. They now are two games away from earning at least a share of the ACC regular season title. Also, they are poised to lock down a number one seed in the NCAA tournament. The Cavaliers have only lost one game on the road this season, this being at Duke a few weeks ago. Having said that, playing in a packed house like the Carrier Dome could have a similar feel to how it did in Cameron Indoor meaning the Cavaliers cannot underestimate this Syracuse squad.

Scouting the Orange:

The Orange snapped a short two-game losing streak when they blew out Wake Forest this past Saturday. This win was huge because it puts them in the picture for a top 4 finish in the ACC. A top 4 finish is important because it would mean they would get a double-bye when the ACC tournament starts in a few weeks. In terms of the NCAA tournament, Joe Lunardi currently has the Orange as an 8-seed. A win at home over the number two team in the country would undoubtedly improve their seeding and would potentially give them a much clearer path for a deep title run.

Head to Head:

This will be the first and only meeting between these two teams in the regular season. Virginia swept the season series last year winning 68-61 and 59-44. The Cavaliers have also won 6 of the previous 10 meetings. However, the Orange have won 3 of the last five meetings when they play Virginia in front of their home fans.

X-Factor:

The Syracuse defense. The Orange are known for running a 2-3 Zone Defense and in turn, are allowing just 39.2% from the field. More importantly, they have been able to run their opponents off the three-point line, and when teams do shoot the long ball against them, they only shoot 31.1%. Considering Virginia has the 4th best three-point percentage in the country (40.1%), the Orange must be able to close out the Cavaliers shooters and force them to either knock down the mid-range jump shot or drive the lane. Specifically, the Orange must contain at least one of Virginia’s top three scorers. Whether it is Kyle Guy, Ty Jerome or DeAndre Hunter, one of these guys needs to be slowed down.

Notable Betting Trends:

Not only has Virginia been dominate in the straight-up category, but they also cover the majority of the time. Their season against the spread record is 21-7, but during their six-game win streak they are 5-1 against the spread and 4-0 against the spread in the last four consecutive games. As for the Orange, when they come off a win by 20 points or more they are 3-1 straight up, but only 1-3 against the spread at home.

Virginia will Cover if:

They can keep the Orange off the glass. Virginia obviously has one of if not the best defenses in the entire country. Not only do they allow an average of 54.1 points per game, but they also do a fantastic job of keeping their opponents off the boards. Allowing 26.5 rebounds per game allows their offense to get more possessions and helps to keep the tempo at a slow pace.

Syracuse will Cover if:

They can knock down the three-point shot. Overall this season, the Orange are one of the worst teams when it comes to knocking down the three-point jump shot. Even though they crushed Wake Forest in their previous game, they only managed to shoot 4-19 (21.1%) from three-point range. Yes, they did shoot 54.4% from the field in this same game, but against Virginia, it is unlikely that they will shoot this well.

Matt’s Pick to Cover the Spread:

This has the makings of a very low scoring game considering how both teams like to play. MyBookie has the Virginia Cavaliers giving up 7 points on the road, and with how dominant the Cavs have been since the home loss to Duke, they will go into the Carrier Dome and pick up their 7th straight win by a wide margin.

Matt’s College Basketball Pick: Virginia Cavaliers -6.5