Notre Dame vs. Syracuse Odds
|Notre Dame Odds||+2|
|Time | TV||Saturday, 2 p.m. ET | ACCN|
|Odds as of Friday evening and via PointsBet.|
Notre Dame and Syracuse meet in the Carrier Dome on Saturday afternoon for an ACC battle. Both teams are itching to get on the court after their mid-week games were postponed.
After a brutal start to the season, Notre Dame is finally playing its best basketball. The Irish (9-10, 6-7 ACC) have won six of their last eight and are starting to click offensively.
After an 0-5 start to conference play, they’ve climbed their way out of the basement of the ACC standings and have a chance to finish above .500. The Irish are a team that no one wants to see in Greensboro in the ACC Tournament, and a win at Syracuse would further that sentiment.
Syracuse (12-6, 6-5 ACC) missed out on a great opportunity to improve its resume when its game at Louisville was postponed on Wednesday.
It finds itself on the NCAA Tournament bubble but still has plenty of work to do to be worthy of an at-large bid. There’s little room for error for the Orange the rest of the way, and they can’t afford a home loss to the Irish.
These teams met twice last season and split the series, with the two games decided by a combined three points. All signs point to another nail-biter on Saturday.
When Notre Dame has the ball
The Irish boast a very efficient offense and have really hit their stride as of late. Notre Dame ranks 12th in adjusted offensive efficiency, per KenPom. During the last eight games, the Irish are averaging 77.8 points, compared to 69.4 over its first 11 games.
Their success can mostly be attributed to a balanced attack coupled with great outside shooting. The Irish are shooting it at a 38.1% clip from 3, which ranks third in the ACC and 26th nationally.
Junior forward Nate Laszewski is in the midst of a breakout season, leading the Irish in scoring (15.2 ppg) and leading the ACC in both 3-point percentage (51.6%) and field goal percentage (65.2%).
Laszewski isn’t the only Irish shooter you need to worry about, however. Five Irish players are above 35% from 3, and point guard Prentiss Hubb isn’t far behind at 34.4%.
Although the Orange do defend the perimeter well, this could be a big issue for their 2-3 zone. Don’t be surprised to see Mike Brey play Laszewski at center for long stretches of this game, giving the Irish five shooters on the floor at once.
While the Orange have been strong defending the outside shot (30.8% 3-point field goal percentage allowed), their defense as a whole isn’t playing as well Jim Boeheim would like. Syracuse ranks 81st in adjusted defensive efficiency.
The Orange bank on forcing turnovers and bad shots, but struggle against teams that take of the ball.
Unfortunately for Syracuse, the Irish rarely cough it up, ranking in the top 10 nationally in fewest turnovers per game with just 10.3. With veteran guards taking care of the ball on the perimeter and a plethora of shooters, the Irish offense could have a field day against the Orange’s zone.
When Syracuse has the ball
While not always consistent, the Syracuse offense has put up some strong numbers this season. They average 76.6 points per game and currently rank 35th in offensive efficiency.
Unlike most of Boeheim’s teams in the past, this year’s version of the Orange relies heavily on the outside shot. This largely has to do with the makeup of the team, as six of the seven players in the rotation are capable 3-point shooters. The Orange haven’t been nearly as strong as the Irish from 3, shooting 32.5% as a team, but they can still be very dangerous if the right players get hot.
Alan Griffin is Syracuse’s top scorer and most consistent shooter, hitting 37.3% of his attempts from distance. The Illinois transfer has been a blessing for Boeheim in his first year with the Orange and should be in for a big day against a struggling Irish defense.
Guards Joe Girard and Buddy Boeheim are known for their outside shooting, but both have been streaky this season. Boeheim (31.4% from 3) has had a few big games but has been shut down several times as well. He appears to have a tough time being the focal point of the opposing team’s scouting report this season. Girard (34%) really struggled early on but has shot it a lot better recently.
In last year’s home loss to the Irish, the duo went off a combined 43 points on 11-of-21 shooting from beyond the arc. I wouldn’t write off a similar performance against an Irish team that has struggled to defend the 3.
Notre Dame is allowing 35.8% from beyond the arc this season and has particularly struggled in conference play.
While there’s a lot for the Notre Dame defense to worry about on the perimeter, its toughest matchup may come on the inside against Quincy Guerrier.
The athletic sophomore has had a monster season and will be a prime candidate for the ACC’s most improved player award, along with Laszewski.
He’s the Orange’s most consistent option (15.5 ppg) due to his ability to score at the rim or take defenders off the dribble.
I don’t think the Irish have a defender with the strength and quickness needed to defend Guerrier, and he should be able to cause problems for their defense all day long.
Betting Analysis & Pick
With the Irish playing so well and the Orange having so much on the line, it’s tough to picture anything but a tight game. Given Syracuse’s home success this season, I agree with it being a small favorite in this spot.
Instead of playing a side, my attention immediately went to the total, where I think the over presents value.
Both teams have significant flaws defensively that the opposition can expose.
The Orange have struggled to defend disciplined teams that take care of the ball. The Irish take good shots and rarely turn the ball over, and their wealth of shooting options could be too much for the Orange to handle.
On the other end, Notre Dame’s subpar defense (143rd in defensive efficiency) will be at a disadvantage in several individual matchups. Brey likes to play some zone against more athletic teams but will be hesitant to employ that strategy against a Syracuse team with a plethora of shooters of its own.
Just like the two games between the Orange and Irish last season, I’m expecting plenty of fireworks and not a whole lot of defense. I was surprised that this total didn’t open in the 150s, but I think there’s a good chance it gets there by tip-off.
Pick: Over 149 (Play up to 151).
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