Villanova vs. Syracuse: Betting Odds, Picks, and Predictions (12/7/21)

Villanova vs. Syracuse Betting Odds

The Jimmy V classic will feature four top-level college basketball programs facing off in Madison Square Garden. But the second game of Tuesday’s double-header is the one to get excited for.

Jay Wright and the Villanova Wildcats will take on Jim Boeheim and the Syracuse Orange at 9:30 p.m. EST Tuesday night, in what’s sure to be a firecracker.

Both these teams are filled with athletes, shooters, and smart defenders. The Wildcats are the sure-fire better team, which is why they’re laying eight points, but the Orange will not go down without a fight.

Villanova Wildcats Odds

Villanova is better than their 6-2 record indicates. The Wildcats two losses have come to No. 1 ranked Purdue and to No. 2 ranked UCLA in a game the Wildcats led by four with 90 seconds left (before the Bruins pulled their magic).

The Wright offense is clicking to perfection. Villanova plays slow (348th nationally in tempo), take care of the ball (eighth nationally in turnover rate), make crisp passes around the perimeter, and shoot the lights out from 3 (22nd  nationally in 3PA/FGA, seventh nationally in 3P%).

The returning upperclassmen have been leading the way. Justin Moore leads the way in usage (25.2% of possessions, 28.1% of shots), and has been scoring 15.4 points per game as a result. But Collin Gillespie has been the most efficient offensive weapon, scoring 17.8 points per game on 65% true shooting and a 133.5 ORtg.

Defensively, things could be better. In terms of half-court defense, the Wildcats rank in the 52nd percentile in points per possession allowed (.833). The weak spots have been Gillespie and other returning upperclassman Jermaine Samuels, who both rank below the 30th percentile in half-court points per possession allowed.

However, Wildcat opponents have been lights out from the charity stripe (73.3 opponent FG%, 266th nationally) despite Villanova not fouling too much (top-50 in opponent free-throw rate). So, there’s some regression coming in that department.

Syracuse Orange Odds

Every year, the Orange have a mediocre regular season before heating up right before March. Boeheim’s squad makes the tournament as a bubble team, and then makes an unlikely Sweet Sixteen run.

This year was supposed to be different. Specifically with the development of Buddy Boeheim, who dominated in the tournament last season and is coming back for his Senior year.

So far, Boeheim has lived up to that reputation. He’s scoring almost 20 points per game as the Orange’s highest-usage player, and he’s still scoring 1.12 points per possession in spot-up situations despite shooting only 28% from deep.

Buddy has had some solid backup help as well. His brother Jimmy Boeheim has stepped as a complimentary scorer at the 3 while Joseph Girard has run the offense well from the point.

But the defense has been very below average, ranking 274th in defensive effective field goal percentage (52.6%). As a result, Syracuse has dropped some tough games to tough defensive-minded teams VCU and Auburn.

The Orange also lost to Colgate, for the first time in 54 years (believe it or not). Syracuse has backed those losses up with wins against top-30 KenPom teams in Indiana and Florida State. So, it’s been a mixed bag, and time will tell if Syracuse will be different this year.

Prediction and Pick

My pick: Over 144.5 (-115 at FanDuel

Two suspect defenses will be facing off against two dominant shooting teams. Plus, there’ll be the added hype of Madison Square Garden.

I think that gives us the formula for a lot of points.

While Villanova hasn’t been successful against the zone this season, the Wildcats ranked in the 93rd percentile in points per possession vs. zone defenses last year (1.078). With Villanova’s shooting ability, that gives me enough confidence that the Wildcats will score.

Meanwhile, the Orange have been terrible in spot-up situations, allowing .970 points per possession, which ranks in the 22nd percentile. Gillespie and Co. will pass-and-shoot all over the Orange defense.

This game should be played in the 80s.

Tanner joined Lineups to cover everything, but he has vast experience in, and unlimited passion for, Major League Baseball and NCAA Basketball. He’s a McGill University grad and former (Canadian) Division-I alpine ski racer who now spends his time drinking beer and betting home underdogs. Patrick Mahomes is a poor man’s Tom Brady.

Hot College Basketball Stories