NCAAB Syracuse vs. Illinois Betting Predictions, Picks, Odds (11/29/22)

Is the Syracuse brand fading? Jim Boeheim’s team has gotten off to another slow start, hitting a new low in a loss to Bryant over the weekend. The Orange have struggled to replace talent over the years, something No. 16 Illinois has begun to thrive on. Can the Illini take care of business against Syracuse before a pair of even bigger matchups?

Let’s take a look at the odds and make some picks and predictions for Tuesday night’s game at Assembly Hall.

Syracuse vs. Illinois Odds

Illinois enters as a 12-point home favorite, coming in at -750 on the moneyline. The over/under is set at 145 points.

Illinois’ only loss this season was a defeat at the hands of Virginia, so it’s no surprise the Illini are decisive favorites here. Illinois’ roster has changed dramatically from last season, but the offense remains a strength. Syracuse might have the offense to keep up, but is the defense good enough?

Syracuse vs. Illinois Prediction & Pick

Syracuse’s offense is too potent for me to feel comfortable with Illinois -12. After back-to-back off nights from Girard, it wouldn’t surprise me to see a bit of a resurgence from the Orange offensively – particularly with how well Judah Mintz and Jesse Edwards have played.

I don’t have confidence in Syracuse’s defense to contain all of Illinois’ options on the road – at least not enough to win this game – but the prospect of these two teams trading buckets down the stretch makes me lean toward Syracuse +12.

Syracuse vs. Illinois Key Matchups

Illinois has a pretty deep group, and it’s translated to results early in the season. The Illini rank top-60 in the nation in points per game, field goal percentage, and three-point percentage. Former Texas Tech standout Terrence Shannon Jr. has answered the important question of who the on-court leader of the team would be without Kofi Cockburn. Shannon has filled the stat sheet and looked like a legitimate offensive weapon early in the season.

Illinois may not need Shannon’s best to beat Syracuse, but the Illini will need some help elsewhere. Freshmen Skyy Clark and Jayden Epps have both shot the ball well early on. While that pair will run into bumps along the way, it’ll be tolerable considering the veterans Illinois has between Coleman Hawkins, Matthew Mayer, and even R.J. Melendez. Along with their strong shooting, Illinois has had the size advantage on most teams to this point, ranking 46th in rebounds and 32nd in blocks nationally.

Syracuse hasn’t excelled in many categories this season, though the Orange have an elite shot-blocker and high-end rebounder in Jesse Edwards. The offense is too inconsistent. Joseph Girard III, a four-year veteran, scored 31 points against Richmond and proceeded to shoot 2-of-22 over his next two games. Those highs, though, are why it’s dangerous to rule Syracuse out of this game.

Freshman Judah Mintz was shooting nearly 50 percent overall before he was ejected during the loss to Bryant. If Mintz continues to shoot efficiently ang Girard bounces back, the backcourt is suddenly one of the ACC’s best while Edwards holds down the frontcourt. It’s possible Syracuse has been over-reliant on that trio to this point, but they raise this team’s ceiling on a given night.

Defense is an issue for the Orange. Syracuse surrendered 80 points to Colgate, 73 to Bryant, and 72 to Lehigh. St. John’s and Bryant didn’t shoot especially well against Syracuse last week, but Illinois brings an entirely new set of challenges with all of its options.

Dan is a lifelong sports fan and graduate of Boston University. He’s covered several sports on Instagram since he was 12 and now writes about everything from betting trends to breaking news for Lineups.

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