Live On Air

Streaming now: Prime Time Action

play Watch Live radio Listen Live

Syracuse faces tricky path in ACC tournament

Could Syracuse be a smart bet to go deep in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, which begins Tuesday in Greensboro, N.C.?

Normally, that location would be a reason it wouldn’t happen. Far from home. Hostile crowds when facing any team based in Carolina. 

But the sixth-seeded Orange drew a break when Tobacco Road residents Duke, NC State and Wake Forest landed in the other half of the bracket. If seeds hold, Syracuse would play Virginia Tech in Wednesday’s second round after a bye Tuesday, then No. 3 seed Louisville in Thursday’s quarterfinals. An upset of Louisville would bring No. 2 seed Virginia, No. 7 seed Notre Dame or No. 10 seed Boston College. 

Syracuse wouldn’t have to play Duke until the final, if both make it that far. 

There is a catch. “If seeds hold” means No. 10 seed Virginia Tech would have to beat No. 14 seed North Carolina. The Tar Heels would enjoy a home-state advantage over Syracuse if they take out the Hokies. 

Projections based on Ken Pomeroy’s market-respected computer rankings (tweeted from @kenpomeroy) give Syracuse only a 16.3% chance of reaching the semifinals, an 8% chance of reaching the final and a 2% chance of winning. That would put true odds at 49/1 for the Orange cutting down the nets. 

Pomeroy’s ACC favorites: Duke 40.6%, Louisville 23.7% and Florida State 17.9%. 

Syracuse would have to run the table to earn a trip to the NCAA tournament. With a 17-14 overall record, 10-10 in the disappointing ACC, the resume just doesn’t have enough high points. That should be enough motivation to create peak intensity. 

The problem is, that might not create peak defense. A tricky zone that’s usually the strength of the program just isn’t disrupting opponents this season. Pomeroy ranked Syracuse No. 133 nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency entering the week, which is scoring adjusted for pace and opponents. That after Syracuse ranked No. 30 last season and No. 5 the year before. 

So this isn’t: Anything can happen on a neutral court with that great Syracuse defense. It’s: How can this soft defense play well enough to cash your ticket day by day? Syracuse hasn’t won more than two games in a row since late January.

A win and cover Wednesday against a hopefully tired opponent? Surely possible. A deep run? Pomeroy’s projections are properly pessimistic. 

Here’s a quick look at VSiN’s estimated market Power Ratings for the ACC entering the tournament. You can use these to project tentative spreads for any matchup. They are based on point spreads in recent games. Feel free to adjust as a new set of neutral-court numbers settle this week:

— Duke 86, Florida State 84, Louisville 84, Virginia 82, NC State 80, Notre Dame 80, Syracuse 79, Clemson 78, North Carolina 78, Virginia Tech 76, Pittsburgh 74, Miami 74, Wake Forest 74, Boston College 70.

back to news

FREE Email Sign-Up

Get the latest sports betting news & VSiN programming updates with this free daily email from VSiN, The Sports Betting Network.


View All
  • Bulls' Futures Improve with DeRozan, Plus Wednesday MLB Sharp Report

    Bulls' Futures Improve with DeRozan, Plus Wednesday MLB Sharp Report

    Day 1 of NBA Free Agency was won by the Miami Heat, who improved from + 3500 to + 2500 to win the NBA Title after signing Kyle Lowry....
  • Mr. Ed's Saratoga on (about) $100 a Day (8-4)

    Mr. Ed's Saratoga on (about) $100 a Day (8-4)

    MONEY MATTER$: After three weeks, it appears Mr. Ed is better at predicting the weather than picking winners … No one promised Mr. Ed a rose...
  • youmans

    Sharps get in on preseason action

    When the NFL preseason kicks off Thursday, the only action Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger might get is a TV interview with a sideline reporter....
  • USATSI_16495000

    My favorite Olympic bets for Tuesday night/Wednesday morning

    It was a disappointing walk-off loss for Team Israel against the Dominican Republic in Olympic baseball. I thought we were going to get a nice winner...
  • reynolds

    Best bets for Memphis PGA event

    The PGA Tour took a week off for the Olympic Games but returns to Memphis for the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational with an elite field of just 66 players....
  • kuhn

    Analytical look at UFC 265

    (To view the charts accompanying this report, subscribe to Point Spread Weekly) Even with the loss of an Amanda Nunes title defense, the fight card...
  • finocchiaro

    Gane, Lewis offer UFC contrasts

    UFC 265 will be held in front of a packed house Saturday in Houston. This fight card is stacked with key matchups and clashes of styles featuring fighters...
  • hill

    Split ticket: 1 bet on NFL, 1 on MLB

    Surely some of you have these types of people in your life: “You bet on the NFL preseason?” Those who judge you for betting on the NFL exhibition...
  • tuley

    Tuley's Takes on NFL topics

    I celebrated my 55th birthday Monday, and my best gift every year at the Tuley’s Takes home office party is that football season is here! The...
  • makinen_cfl

    Getting reacquainted with CFL

    Football returns this weekend, not quite in full force. But unlike the NFL preseason game Thursday night, the results actually count in the Canadian Football...
  • andrews

    Outlooks for Steelers, Cowboys

    Don’t get caught napping! Pro football returns Thursday night with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys in the annual Hall of Fame Game...
  • makinennfl

    Betting trends for HOF game

    (To view the chart accompanying this report, subscribe to Point Spread Weekly) It’s not the Super Bowl or the regular-season kickoff, but the...

VSiN Logo Plus

Free Trial

Make a risk-free bet on VSiN!


  • Afternoon subscriber-only email with highlights and best bets from the day's programs
  • Point Spread Weekly, VSiN's digital magazine on sports betting
  • 24-7 Live video stream of VSiN programs plus replays
  • Any special sport-specified betting guides we do
  • All exclusive subscriber-only stories and data on
Sign Up Now
Google Play
App Store