College Basketball Betting – North Carolina Tar Heels at Syracuse Orange

Written by:
Phil Simon
Published on:

Teams routinely in the NCAA Tournament are in need of a victory to improve their at-large chances when the North Carolina Tar Heels visit the Syracuse Orange for a pivotal ACC tilt on Monday night. UNC picked up its biggest win of the season last time out rallying for an upset over No. 11 Florida State, the Heels’ third win in four games. The Orange are trending the other direction having lost two straight. The Heels have owned the series recently winning 10 of the last 11 meetings, including an 81-75 payout in mid-January. is offering a generous CASH welcome bonus (max cash bonus $1600)

North Carolina Tar Heels at Syracuse Orange
Date and Time: Monday, March 1, 2021, 7 p.m. ET
Location: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY
Opening College Basketball Odds: North Carolina -1, O/U 148.5
North Carolina at Syracuse TV Coverage: ESPN

Odds Analysis

The Heels hope to build off their win over Florida State and ride that momentum into the ACC Tournament and hopefully the NCAA Tournament. They’ve been playing good basketball winning nine of 12 before that run was squelched by Marquette last week. They’ve won 10 of 13 games since the start of 2021 and they are 6-3 ATS in their last nine outings. The Heels hit the board as a 1-point favorite against Syracuse, a team they beat 81-75 at the Dean Dome on Jan. 12. It was UNC’s 10th victory in the last 11 games against Cuse going 6-4-1 ATS in that span. The good news for the Orange is that they get this game in their gym where they’ve won six in a row and 11 of 12 this season while going 6-6 ATS. With losses at Georgia Tech and Duke, they Orange are now 13-8 SU and 8-13 ATS overall.

North Carolina Tar Heels

Their early season failures may have cost them, but the Tar Heels are doing their best to close on a hot streak. They were just 5-4 SU and 3-5-1 ATS in their first nine games before getting hot. The Heels went 9-3 SU and 6-6 ATS over their next 12 games before hitting a pothole against Marquette. Maybe they were overconfident with their run off success and a 99-54 throttling of Louisville in the preceding contest. Or possibly they weren’t ready for Marquette since the game was scheduled just a few days before being played. The Heels made adjustments to their schedule with several games postponed due to COVID issues.

The response against the Seminoles was impressive, though. And the Heels got a boost from an unlikely source. Walker Kessler scored 20 points playing a season-high 24 minutes as the Heels rallied from 16 down to pull out the 78-70 upset. The freshman hadn’t played more than 15 minutes in any game this season but he’s been a key contributor lately. He scored a total of 46 points in his first 19 games and has gone over that amount in the last four games. Kessler tallied 10 points in each of the previous three games before doubling that amount against FSU adding eight rebounds and four blocks. And for a team that doesn’t shoot free throws very well, the Heels knocked down all 10 from the stripe in the final two minutes to hold off FSU.

Syracuse Orange

Scoring the basketball hasn’t been an issue for the Orange, who average over 76 points while shooting 44 percent from the field. They scored more than 70 points in each of their last two games and lost them both by allowing over 80 points in each contest. So, you can see where the problem lies. Coach Jim Boeheim has used a relentless zone in the past that has frustrated opponents to no end. That hasn’t been the case this season, and it hasn’t been true for the last few years. In fact, three of the last five seasons have been the worst statistically under Boeheim with this season among them. The Orange are 94th nationally in defensive efficiency.

The good news is that the numbers are significantly better when the Orange play at home. They’ve allowed more than 70 points just three times in their 12 home games with the UNDER going 9-3. There is balance in the rotation with all five starters scoring at least 10 points per game. That’s a bit misleading though since they play a bulk of the minutes. Only one reserve, Kadary Richmond, averages more than nine minutes of run time. Still, for the Orange to be successful they have to defend. “A couple of guys are more interested in their offense and you can’t win that way. We have to pay better defensively to win. Period,” Boeheim said.

Bet North Carolina at Syracuse at

Syracuse desperately needs a win and the Orange have played better at home, so there’s a chance they pull off the upset. It wouldn’t be a major upset since the opening line has them at +1, but it would be an upset nonetheless if the spread doesn’t change. It is hard to ignore the direction the clubs are going and UNC’s dominance in the series, which is why I’m leaning towards the visitors in this matchup.

College Basketball Score Prediction: North Carolina 73, Syracuse 68

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- Phil Simon,

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