College Basketball Odds: Syracuse Orange vs. Cincinnati Bearcats

No. 1 Syracuse Orange at Cincinnati Bearcats
Monday, 1/23/12, 7:00 PM EST, TV:  ESPN
Opening Point Spread:  Syracuse -4
Current Betting Line:  Syracuse -5.5
Opening Total:  135
Current Total:  136
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Syracuse UConn Big East Tournament Preview
The Syracuse Orange look to bounce back from their first loss

Syracuse is coming off its first loss of the 2011-12 season and will now look to improve upon its 6-2 record in its all-time series with the Cincinnati Bearcats.  The Orange dropped a 67-58 decision to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish as nine-point road favorites last weekend, playing without starting center Fab Melo.  “Fab is the key to our defense,” commented Orange guard Scoop Jardine.  “He’s our anchor.”  The team has outscored its opponents by 18.2 points per game, averaging 78.9 points per game.  Syracuse is 4-1 ATS on the road this year.

The Orange are led offensively by the play of senior forward Kris Joseph, who is averaging 13.6 points and 4.6 rebounds per game, as he was named to the preseason Naismith and Wooden Award watch lists.  Syracuse’s 20-0 start to the season was its best in school history, as the team leads college basketball in turnover margin (+7.2).  The program will be looking for its fourth-straight win in this series, capturing a 71-54 victory as four-point favorites in its last visit to Cincinnati on Feb. 7, 2010.

Cincinnati will host its first Big Monday contest and will also be looking to bounce back from defeat, dropping a 77-74 overtime contest to the West Virginia Mountaineers as 4.5-point road underdogs.  The Bearcats have won three of their last four games, with all of those contests going “over” the total.  Sophomore guard Sean Kilpatrick leads the team in scoring 16.0 points per game, while three other starters average double figures.    Cincinnati is 1-6 ATS at home this year.

The Bearcats have won three games in a row and six of their last eight regular-season games versus ranked opponents.  Cincinnati has made only one other appearance on a Big Monday telecast, dropping a 70-59 decision to the Connecticut Huskies in Hartford on Jan. 9, 2006.  There’s no question this team is a definite player in the Big East Conference, winning 10 of 13 regular-season games versus such opponents dating back to last season.  Kilpatrick has scored 20 or more points five times this season and eight times during his career.

Bettors will likely back the Orange due to their 19-7-1 ATS as a road favorite of 6.5 points or less, while the Bearcats are 1-6 ATS at home.

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