The No. 7 Virginia Cavaliers will look to extend their six-game winning streak when they visit the Syracuse Orange in an ACC showdown on Monday night.
Virginia is now 16-3 on the year and 8-2 in conference play. Syracuse has lost two straight to fall to 13-9.
The Cavaliers began their six-game winning streak with a win over the Orange at home three weeks ago. Can they continue that sizzling run on Monday?
Here are our college basketball picks and predictions for Virginia vs. Syracuse on January 30.
Virginia vs Syracuse best odds
Virginia vs Syracuse picks and predictions
Virginia held Syracuse to just 26 points during the first half on its way to a 73-66 win the first time these two teams met in 2022-23. While the Orange kept the game close in the second half, the Cavaliers were in control throughout, never relinquishing the lead. The final score was the closest Syracuse came to Virginia over the last 30 minutes of the game.
That was the expected result. Virginia is one of the country's best teams because the Cavaliers excel at both ends of the floor.
Everyone knows Virginia plays at one of the slowest paces in the nation. That’s been true for many years, and it continues this season. The Cavaliers' pace contributes to Virginia’s outstanding defensive numbers, as the team is allowing just 60.1 points per game.
However, that same pace also makes the Cavaliers' offense look worse than the unit truly has been in 2022-23. Sure, Virginia may only score 70.6 points per game. But the team also boasts one of the nation's most efficient offenses.
Virginia is especially effective from behind the arc while shooting 38.2%. That’s a great way to expose Syracuse's 2-3 zone defense. Historically, the Orange have been able to lengthen their zone to the point where shooting over it wasn’t a major concern for them. However, that hasn’t been true in recent seasons. The 2022-23 Syracuse defense is allowing opponents to shoot 33.9% from three, ranking outside the top 200 defenses in the country in that category.
This matchup undoubtedly favors the Cavaliers. Yet some will point to the first game as an example of how the Orange tend to keep contests close against tough competition. If they could keep Virginia within seven on the road, the Orange should threaten to win at home, right?
A closer look pokes plenty of holes in that theory. Syracuse was playing particularly well at the time of that first game. Now the Orange have mostly played their way out of any hope of making the NCAA Tournament, losing three of their last four. Syracuse has been continuing to play some teams tight during its recent stretch, but none of those games came against squads nearly as good as Virginia. Worse still, the Orange are coming off an embarrassing 15-point loss to the Virginia Tech Hokies.
The advanced metrics, game flow, and an examination of the matchup all suggest Virginia underperformed while only notching a seven-point win over Syracuse at home. The Cavaliers were a 12-point favorite heading into that game, and they should arguably be a double-digit favorite on a neutral court.
Syracuse might be home on Monday, but that’s not a big enough factor to justify such a tight spread. Lay the points with Virginia.
My best bet: Virginia -5 (-110 at Caesars)
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Virginia vs Syracuse spread analysis
Virginia opened as a 4.5-point favorite, but there’s been movement toward the Cavaliers since then. The consensus line is Virginia -5.5, though five-point spreads can also be found at some sites.
Syracuse has been the better team against the spread in 2022-23. The Orange are 12-10 ATS, while the Cavaliers are just 8-11 against the number on the season.
However, Virginia has been outpacing expectations lately. The Cavaliers have notched a seven-plus-point win in five straight games, and they’ve covered in four of those contests. They've been consistent during the team's winning streak, which is partly why I'm so confident Virginia can cover yet again against Syracuse.
Also, a close look at the first game suggests Syracuse will be hard-pressed to repeat that performance against Virginia. The Orange shot 57.1% from three-point range, and they managed to outrebound the Cavaliers 37-30. There’s no reason to expect Syracuse to be that hot from deep again, and these teams generally produce similar rebounding numbers, with Virginia getting a slight edge there.
I’m not sure if either side is being overvalued. It's a mismatch either way, and not a game that should be tight down the stretch. Take Virginia -5, though I’m happy at the -5.5 number too. Some sites are offering a 5.5-point spread with lowered juice on the Cavaliers, and that could be an intriguing option for some slight added value.
Virginia vs Syracuse Over/Under analysis
The Over/Under opened at 133. The most common number on the board is now 132.5.
Low totals follow Virginia wherever the team goes, and Monday is no exception. Even the most casual college basketball fans know the Cavaliers play slow, low-scoring games, and that tends to keep bettors off of the Over.
There are a couple of factors that lead to an Over play on Monday. The obvious, surface-level reason is that these teams combined for 139 points in the first matchup this season.
Looking deeper, Syracuse was red-hot from 3-point range during that game. We can’t expect the Orange to shoot over 50% again, but Virginia is even worse than Syracuse from distance. The Cavaliers allow teams to shoot 34.6% from deep, which has been the one hole in their defensive approach this campaign.
With two teams that shoot well from behind the line, and two squads that can’t stop opponents from hitting threes, there’s a good reason to think this game will be slightly higher-scoring than the books expect.
I’m not looking for a shootout in Syracuse, but I'll be putting a bet down on the Over.
Virginia vs Syracuse betting trend to know
Virginia is 4-1 against the spread in its last five games overall. Find more college basketball betting trends for Virginia vs. Syracuse.
Virginia vs Syracuse game info
|Location:||JMA Wireless Dome, Syracuse, NY|
|Date:||Monday, January 30, 2023|
|Tip-off:||7:00 p.m. ET|