NCAA Basketball Picks: Syracuse Orange vs. St. John’s Red Storm

Syracuse Orange vs. St. John’s Red Storm
Sunday, 12/15/13, 12:00 PM EST
Opening Point Spread:  Syracuse -3.5
Current Betting Line:  Syracuse -4.5
Opening Total:  130.5
Current Total:  130.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Syracuse Orange have dominated the St. John's Red Storm in recent years
The Syracuse Orange have dominated the St. John’s Red Storm in recent years

Syracuse takes on a longtime rival in a matchup at Madison Square Garden Sunday afternoon, as it tries to remain one of 14 unbeaten teams nationally, which is important to consider when making your NCAA basketball picks.  The Orange are 50-37 SU all-time against the Red Storm, which includes winning 14 of the last 15 encounters in the series.  Offensively, the team is averaging 77.7 points per game, which has been made possible by knocking down 45.9 percent of its shots.  Syracuse is 2-1 SU and 1-2 ATS as road favorites of 3.5 to 6 points the last two-plus seasons.

The Orange’ last six victories in this series have come by an average of 19.2 points, which can’t be ignored when looking over the college basketball odds page.  Syracuse is getting after it on the defensive end—holding its last two opponents to a combined 37.4 percent shooting percentage.  Four players are averaging double figures in scoring, with senior forward C.J. Fair leading the way at 17.8 points a contest.

St. John’s has won and covered the number in its last two affairs, including a 104-58 blowout victory over the Fordham Rams as 11.5-point home favorites on Dec. 7, while going OVER the betting total of 143.5.  The Red Storm have won nine games against ranked opponents in the Steve Lavin era, but dropped their only opportunity in that situation earlier this season against the Wisconsin Badgers.  St. John’s is 1-4 SUATS as home underdogs of 3.5 to 6 points the last two-plus seasons, with all five games going UNDER the betting total.

The Red Storm have three probable starters averaging more than 10 points a game, including junior guard D’Angelo Harrison at 18.9, as he’s scored 20 or more points in 4-of-8 games during the 2013-14 campaign.  He is knocking down 82.5 percent of his shots from the charity stripe, while ranking eighth in the Big East Conference in averaging 1.8 3-point field goals per game.

Sports bettors will likely back the Orange due to their 5-1 ATS mark on the road versus teams with a winning home record.

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