Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Syracuse Orange Betting Odds: ESPN Big Monday Preview

Written by:
Carrie Stroup
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Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Syracuse Orange Betting Odds:  ESPN Big Monday Preview

Carrie Stroup here with your Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Syracuse Orange betting odds and I have a bonus betting preview for the big Baylor Bears vs. Kansas Jayhawks game (both January 16, 2012).  Bet this game at Sportsbook.com and receive up to $250 in FREE CASH.  In-progress wagering is available.  Open an online betting account right now

Sportsbook.com Line & Total: Syracuse -13 & 135.5

Opening Line & Total: Orange -15 & 137.5

No. 1 Syracuse looks to start the season 20-0 when it hosts a struggling Pittsburgh team that has dominated the Orange in recent years.

The Panthers may be last in the Big East at 0-5, but they have beaten Syracuse in eight straight regular-season games. They have not lost at the Carrier Dome since a two-point defeat in 2003, winning five straight meetings on the Orange home court. But this year has been a different story as Pittsburgh has six straight losses (1-5 ATS), including dropping games to Wagner, DePaul and Rutgers (by 23 at home). Syracuse is 6-0 (5-1 ATS) in Big East play, outscoring conference opponents by 17.0 PPG. But the Orange are just 7-5 ATS at home while the Panthers are 3-2 ATS on the road, allowing just 66.4 PPG in these five contests. And other than the Rutgers debacle where it shot 21% FG (12-of-57), Pittsburgh has kept games close, losing just one other game this year by more than 10 points, and that was back in November.


For the Panthers to stay in this game, SG Ashton Gibbs will have to come up big again. Not only did he score a career-high 29 points in Saturday’s 62-57 loss (ATS win) at Marquette, but Gibbs poured in 24 points with eight rebounds in his last visit to the Carrier Dome two years ago. After shooting 47% FG (49% three-pointers) in his junior season, Gibbs is making just 39% FG (35% on threes) as a senior. Part of the reason for his struggles is the absence of point guard Travon Woodall, who has been out with a groin/abdominal strain, and will not likely return for Monday’s action. Gibbs has been running the point instead of playing his natural 2-guard spot, and hasn’t been great with 3.3 APG and 1.8 turnovers per game.


The one area Pittsburgh should have the advantage in this matchup is rebounding. The Panthers are 22nd in the nation with 39.6 RPG, and have only been out-rebounded once in their past 13 games. Syracuse (37.1 RPG, 78th in nation) has been out-rebounded in six of its past 11 contests. Five different Pittsburgh players average at least five boards per game, led by Nasir Robinson’s 6.8 RPG. Gibbs (16.9 PPG) and Robinson (12.4 PPG) are the only Panthers to average double-figure scoring, but the team is shooting a respectable 46.2% (76th in nation) from the floor this year.

Usually when these teams meet, Pittsburgh has the edge in depth, as Syracuse has historically employed seven or eight-man rotations. But this year, the Orange have 10 different players averaging 12+ minutes. Because of all the fresh bodies, Syracuse has been able to force the third-most turnovers in the nation this year at 18.6 per game. This could be problematic for a Panthers team that committed a costly 10 second-half turnovers in Saturday’s loss to Marquette.

Forward Kris Joseph leads the Orange in scoring at 13.7 PPG, and he had a team-high 13 in Saturday’s 78-55 home win over Providence. Sophomore guard Dion Waiters is arguably the most valuable player on the team despite playing just 22.3 minutes per game off the bench. Waiters (12.9 PPG) has scored 12+ points in seven straight games, and has swiped 2+ steals in each of these seven contests. Seven-foot center Fab Melo also plays 22.3 MPG and leads the team in rebounds (5.4 RPG) and blocks (2.8 BPG). Point guard Scoop Jardine (8.4 PPG, 4.5 APG) started slow this season, but has 28 assists and just nine turnovers in his past four games.


Sportsbook.com Line & Total: Kansas -6.5 & 139

Opening Line & Total: Jayhawks -5.5 & 137

No. 4 Baylor will put its undefeated record to the test when it travels to Phog Allen Fieldhouse to take on No. 10 Kansas in a critical Big 12 matchup. 

Baylor has been an excellent bet so far this year going 6-3-1 ATS and 3-0-1 in road games. The Bears have done it with arguably the nation’s most balanced scoring attack, with five players contributing double-digit points behind Perry Jones III, who paces them with 13.8 PPG. The key matchup in this game will be the 6-foot-11 Jones against the Jayhawks’ Thomas Robinson, leading the team with 17.2 PPG and 12.2 RPG. Kansas struggles against teams that can physically match up with Robinson in the paint. Their first two losses came to then-No. 2 Kentucky and then-No. 6 Duke, two teams with strong interior players in Anthony Davis and Mason Plumlee. Furthermore, the Bears have proven they are strong road underdogs against the Jayhawks, going 6-0 ATS in their past six trips to Lawrence.

Jones leads Baylor on offense, but he receives help on the inside and outside. Quincy Acy (12.3 PPG) and his 57 FG% is strong threat on the interior, while adding 6.9 RPG to help Jones combat Robinson on the boards. Pierre Jackson (12.3 PPG, 51% FG) does the ball handling for the Bears, and even though he is an effective distributor (5.1 APG), needs to curb his turnovers, with 3.6 per game this season. He is very dangerous from beyond the arc though, making 1.7 threes per game at a tremendous 49.2% clip. Play on the Bears and their varied offensive attack to win here.

Kansas’ scoring is concentrated in Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor (15.5 PPG) both of whom average more than any Baylor scorer. Taylor also leads the team in assists (5.2 APG), but like Jackson, has issues with giving the ball away (4.0 turnovers per game). He is coming off a 28-point performance in Saturday’s 82-73 win against Iowa State, and if he can repeat that the Jayhawks should be in good shape. But, if he cannot get the ball to Robinson and Travis Releford (10.0 PPG) because of turnovers, the Bears will capitalize and take this game easily.

- Carrie Stroup, Gambling911.com Senior Reporter

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