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Syracuse vs Louisville Betting – Freedom’s Finale

Posted by Washington Tucker on 3/5/2010 2:52:44 PM

On one hand, the sports betting calculus should be very simple when Syracuse visits Louisville for a Saturday afternoon showdown in Bluegrass country. Back on Feb. 14, Louisville handed the ‘Cuse one of the two losses coach Jim Boeheim’s team has suffered this season. The Cardinals went to upstate New York and knocked off the Orange, 66-60. Since Syracuse has rebounded to win the outright Big East regular season championship, you’d think that the No. 1 team in the United States would surely gain a split of the season series. Then again, college basketball has been known to produce unpredictable results in the month of March. This game isn’t as easy to pick as many people might think.

  • What: NCAA basketball betting
  • When: Saturday, March 6th, 2:05 PM ET
  • Where: Freedom Hall – Louisville, KY
  • KeyStats: Syracuse forward Wesley Johnson has averaged only 11 points per game in his last 10 outings.

The Storyline – Syracuse vs Louisville betting odds breakdown

Sportsbook odds – if based only on pure numbers, percentages and probabilities – would recommend that Syracuse should be favored in this game. The Orange will be a No. 1 seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament, and that’s because Boeheim’s boys have a plus-16 average point differential, which is quite considerable over the course of the 30 games SU has played this season. Moreover, the odds of Louisville winning two games against Syracuse this season are small. It’s not an everyday occurrence when an 11-loss ballclub brings out the broom against a top-rated powerhouse, but that’s what coach Rick Pitino’s Cardinals will try to achieve this Saturday. Surely, the numbers and a look at the history books would tell you: Pick the Orange

There’s no doubt that Syracuse represents the logical choice in this game.
However, there’s always a time to go for the upset, and it’s precisely because Louisville has already beaten Syracuse that a lot of people won’t give the Cards much of a chance in this contest. A closer look suggests that Louisville has a great opportunity to double its pleasure against the Orange.

For one thing, Louisville is sitting right on the fence in the chase for an NCAA Tournament at-large berth. The Cardinals stand at 19-11 overall, 10-7 in the Big East. They already own one high-value win over Syracuse, but they lost non-conference games to Charlotte, UNLV and Western Carolina. UL’s resume still needs to be beefed up, especially after a decisive loss this past Tuesday at Marquette. Pitino’s pupils are already in a position to spill the tank on Saturday; their NCAA existence might depend on the result of this contest.

If you think that an NCAA Tournament bid is the only motivating factor for Louisville in this game, you would almost always be right. On this day, however, you’d be wrong.

What’s special about this game is that it’s the last game at Freedom Hall, a venerable arena that’s hosted six Final Fours. The crowd will be especially energized and the UL team will want to close this grand building in style. That’s a morsel of mojo that will be hard for Syracuse to cope with.

Offensive Matchups – Syracuse vs Louisville betting odds breakdown

The Orange average 81.8 points per game, while the Cardinals average 76.6 per game. Syracuse owns more reliable perimeter shooters, such as Andy Rautins (41 percent from 3-point range), and also has more depth than the Cards. Louisville counters with big man Samardo Samuels, who scored all eight of his points in the final eight minutes of UL’s win in Syracuse three weeks ago.

Betting Edge: Syracuse

Defensive Matchups – Syracuse vs. Louisville betting odds breakdown

The Orange allow just 65.7 points per game, while UL concedes 69.7 per contest. Syracuse’s famed 2-3 zone is a headache for opponents, and Louisville must be patient in trying to crack it. The Cards aren’t long on defense, but with the Freedom Hall crowd behind them, they should be able to bother Syracuse’s ballhandlers, force turnovers, and get run-outs for cheap baskets.

Betting Edge: Louisville

Notable Injuries – Syracuse vs Louisville betting odds breakdown

Syracuse’s Wesley Johnson will play, but he’s still nursing a bruised right hand that has affected his shooting touch in recent weeks. Johnson was just 5 of 20 from the field in the Feb. 14 loss to Louisville.

Betting Edge: Louisville

Betting Prediction –Syracuse vs Louisville betting odds breakdown

Syracuse should win, but Louisville will win. The combination of NCAA Tournament urgency and the Freedom Hall finale will give the Cardinals an uncommon amount of energy. Moreover, Syraucse – assured of No. 1 seeds in both the Big East and NCAA Tournaments, has very little to play for in this game. Another upset is quite possible in this Syracuse-Louisville rematch.

Craig's Pick: : Louisville

For more sports online betting tips and articles, check out the betonline.com Betting Edge daily.

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