The No. 6-ranked Villanova Wildcats face off against the Syracuse Orange in NCAA basketball action on Tuesday night.
College basketball betting lines have the Wildcats installed as 8.5-point favorites with the Over/Under at 143.5 for this contest at historic Madison Square Garden in New York.
Here are our best free college basketball betting picks and predictions for Villanova vs. Syracuse on Tuesday, December 7, with tipoff at 9 p.m. ET.
Villanova vs Syracuse odds
Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.
The line opened with Villanova at -9 and the Over/Under at 144. Early money has come in on Syracuse and the Under, dropping the line to Villanova -8.5 and the total to 143.5 at the time of writing.
Villanova vs Syracuse predictions
- Prediction: Villanova -8.5 (-110)
- Prediction: Over 143.5 (-110)
- Best bet: Villanova first half -4.5 (-110)
Predictions made on 12/07/2021 at 10:25 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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Villanova vs Syracuse game info
• Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
• Date: Tuesday, December 7, 2021
• Tip-off: 9:00 p.m. ET
• TV: ESPN
Villanova at Syracuse betting preview
Villanova: Caleb Daniels G (Questionable), Bryan Antoine G (Out).
Syracuse: Bourama Sidibe C (Out).
Find our latest NCAA basketball injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The Over is 20-7 in Syracuse's last 27 games as an underdog. Find more NCAA betting trends for Villanova vs. Syracuse.
Villanova vs Syracuse picks and predictions
Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.
Villanova entered the season as a National Championship contender and despite a pair of early-season losses to highly-ranked opponents, remain tied for fourth on the March Madness odds board. This is a deep and experienced 'Nova lineup that advanced to the Sweet 16 last season despite losing co-Big East Player of the Year Collin Gillespie to an MCL injury. They returned four starters from that squad including Gillespie, who leads the team with 17.8 points and 3.5 assists per game.
The Wildcats are 6-2 SU (4-4 ATS) to begin the season, losing close road contests to UCLA and Purdue, who are both ranked even higher than they are. Since that defeat to the Boilermakers, they have reeled off three straight wins, most recently demolishing Saint Joseph's 81-52.
Syracuse is coming off a pair of huge victories, edging Indiana in overtime last week before beating Florida State 63-60 as a 7-point road underdog on Saturday. Jim Boeheim's squad is now 5-3 SU (4-4 ATS) and will look to keep rolling with the heart of its ACC schedule coming up. The Orange are led by two of Boeheim's sons, Buddy and Jimmy, while Joseph Girard III runs the point.
The Orange have sizzled on offense but this is a program that, despite its reputation, has struggled on defense in recent years. They currently sit 154th in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency according to KenPom and rank 247th in opponent three-point percentage (34.9%). That's bad news against a Wildcats squad that ranks fourth in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency and shoots lights out from beyond the arc, averaging 11.8 three-pointers per game at a 42.2% clip.
Syracuse has also struggled on the boards and not even forward Cole Swider, who transferred from Villanova and leads the team with 6.9 rebounds per game, has helped change that. 'Cuse ranks 196th in rebounding rate and is even worse at cleaning things up on the defensive glass, giving foes way too many second chances.
Coming off a pair of close and emotional wins, the Orange could be in a bit of a letdown spot. It's worth mentioning that when they've lost this season, it's been ugly, with a 21-point loss to Auburn, a 12-point defeat against VCU, and a 15-point home loss to Colgate.
Prediction: Villanova -8.5
The Wildcats play at a slower tempo, but they are extremely efficient on offense, ranking sixth in the country with 1.187 points per possession. Besides Gillespie, they have Justin Moore (15.4 ppg), Brandon Slater (14 ppg), and Jermaine Samuels (11.9 ppg), who can all fill up the hoop.
Although FSU went ice-cold from the field against Syracuse on Saturday, the Orange had allowed at least 84 points on a combined 50.2% shooting in three straight games before that. They were also torched for 100 points by Colgate on November 20.
Luckily for the Orange, they have the firepower to usually keep pace, with five players averaging more than 12 ppg, led by Buddy Boeheim and his 19.1.
With the Over going 13-4 in Syracuse's last 17 neutral-site games, and also going 20-7 O/U in its last 27 contests as an underdog, expect this game to go above the total.
Prediction: Over 143.5 (-110)
The Orange are fresh off that massive win against the Seminoles on the weekend, but they trailed by eight points at the half and needed to stage a big comeback after the break. They also struggled in the early going against Auburn, trailing by double digits at half.
The Wildcats, on the other hand, have been getting off to great starts, boasting an average first-half margin of plus-12.6 ppg. And even though they lost to current No. 1-ranked Purdue, they took a 2-point lead into the break despite playing in hostile territory. Expect another strong start from 'Nova and back the Wildcats on the first-half spread.
Pick: Villanova first half -4.5 (-110)
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