The Syracuse Orange face off against the San Diego State Aztecs in the Midwest Region First Round, so I’ve prepared the best betting pick and odds for their Friday night’s showdown at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
According to BetMGM Sportsbook, the Aztecs are slight 3-point favorites to win this battle. They enter March Madness as the Mountain West Conference Tournament champions, while the Orange are one of the at-large teams in the bracket. These two schools haven’t met since 2012 when Syracuse beat San Diego State in the non-conference play, 62-49.
Syracuse exited in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament
The Syracuse Orange finished the regular season at the eighth spot of the Atlantic Coast Conference standings, tallying a 9-7 record in the conference play and 16-9 overall. They beat NC State in the second round of the ACC championship tournament, 89-68, but exited in the quarterfinals after a tough 72-69 defeat to Virginia.
The Orange are No. 40 in the NCAA NET Rankings and No. 41 in the KenPom rankings. They score 113.9 points per 100 possessions (22nd in the nation) on 44.1% shooting from the field while yielding 97.7 points in a return (90th) on 41.5% shooting from the field (76th).
Junior guard Buddy Boeheim is the Orange’s leading scorer with 17.1 points per game. He’s making 37.3% of his 3-pointers while shooting 42.5% from the field and 87.8% from the free-throw line. Junior guard Alan Griffin posts 14.7 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, while sophomore forward Quincy Guerrier adds 14.4 points and 8.8 boards a night.
San Diego State searches for its 15th consecutive victory
The San Diego State Aztecs are rolling on a tremendous 14-game winning streak following a 68-57 victory over Utah State in the Mountain West Conference championship game. They controlled the game for all 40 minutes and easily outlasted the Aggies thanks to another terrific defensive performance.
The Aztecs are yielding only 89.6 points per 100 possessions (11th in the country). They rank sixth in opponent field goal percentage (38.7%) and fourth in opponent field goals made per game (20.3).
On the other side of the ball, the Aztecs are scoring 110.8 points per 100 possessions (45th) on 45.5% shooting from the field (94th) and 37.5% from downtown (36th). Senior wing Matt Mitchell paces San Diego with 15.4 points and 5.5 rebounds per contest, while senior guard Jordan Schakel adds 14.3 points and 4.4 boards per game. San Diego State is No. 18 in the NCAA NET Rankings and No. 20 in the KenPom rankings.
- 3-6 ATS in the last nine games as underdogs
San Diego State:
- 5-0 ATS in the last five games as favorites of three or fewer points
The Orange have been playing well over the last few weeks. However, they lean on their offense too much, and that will be a problem against the Aztecs’ firm defense. San Diego State is one of the best defensive teams in the country, no doubt, but the Aztecs can score some baskets as well.
Syracuse is a solid defensive team. On the other side, the Aztecs have been terrific from beyond the arc all season. If they put on another defensive clinic and stay hot from beyond the 3-point line, the Aztecs will easily reach the second round.
Pick: Take San Diego State -3.0 at -110
I’m betting on the under even though the Orange will try their best to speed up things against the Aztecs. San Diego State records just 66.1 possessions per 40 minutes (298th in the nation) and leans heavily on its defense.
The Orange average 69.2 possessions per 40 minutes (139th). They could easily struggle against the Aztecs’ D, and the Orange have to bring their best defensive game in order to upset the odds, so going with the under seems like the right move.
Pick: Go under 139.0 points at -110