NCAA Basketball Predictions: North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Syracuse Orange

North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Syracuse Orange
Saturday, 1/11/14, 12:00 PM EST
Opening Point Spread: Syracuse -8.5
Current Betting Line:  Syracuse -7.5
Opening Total:  N/A
Current Total:  N/A
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Syracuse Orange are expected to host the largest crowd in college basketball this season on Saturday
The Syracuse Orange are expected to host the largest crowd in college basketball this season on Saturday

North Carolina has dropped back-to-back games, including a 63-57 setback to the Miami Hurricanes as 10.5-point home favorites Wednesday, while going UNDER the betting total for a fourth consecutive contest.  The Tar Heels have gone 8-1 SU all-time when playing at the Carrier Dome, but only one of those affairs matched them up against the Orange, which is important to consider when making your NCAA basketball predictions.  Roy Williams is 1-3 in his career against Syracuse, including a single loss during his time at Chapel Hill.  North Carolina is 3-9 SU and 5-7 ATS as an underdog the last two-plus seasons.

The Tar Heels have started 0-2 in ACC play for a second consecutive season, but it’s important to point out that they finished 12-6 in league play a year ago.  North Carolina is 3-0 SU against ranked opponents this season, which can’t be ignored when looking over the NCAA basketball odds.  The program has compiled a solid 53-29 SU record on the road during conference play in the Williams era.

Syracuse enters the game as one of five unbeaten teams in the Division I ranks, as it prepares to face North Carolina at this venue for the first time since 1983-84.  The Orange have outscored opponents by an average of 14.8 points per game this season, which has been made possible by shooting 46.7 percent from the floor and allowing foes to knock down just 41.2 percent.  Offensively, the team has four players averaging double figures, with senior forward C.J. Fair leading the way at 17.2 points a contest.  Syracuse is 6-1 SU and 3-4 ATS as home favorites of 6.5 to 9 points the last two-plus seasons.

The Orange could benefit from a major home court advantage in this affair, as more than 31,000 fans are expected for the game, which would be the largest crowd in college basketball this season.  Syracuse will need a major performance from freshman Tyler Ennis if it wants to cover this number, as he’s averaging 11.7 points and 3.2 rebounds per game.

Sports bettors will likely play the total, as the UNDER is 8-2 in the Tar Heels’ last 10 road games.

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