Syracuse vs. Arizona State 2018 March Madness Betting Preview

Syracuse vs. Arizona State 2018 March Madness Preview

Written by on March 13, 2018

An argument can definitely be made that neither Syracuse nor Arizona State should be in the NCAA Tournament as both schools finished below .500 in their respective conferences. But they were the final two teams in and meet as 11 seeds on Wednesday in the First Four in Dayton. Let’s find out which team is a safer March Madness betting pick based on the latest College Basketball odds for this contest and their performance throughout the season.

Orange vs. Sun Devils 2018 March Madness Betting Preview

  • When: Wednesday, 9:10 PM ET
  • Where: University of Dayton Arena
  • TV: truTV
  • Stream: WatchESPN
  • Radio: TuneIn
  • March Madness Betting Lines: ASU -2

2018 First Four College Basketball Betting Pick: TS Tigers vs. NCC Eagles

Team Records

  • All: Syracuse Orange 20-13 / Arizona State Sun Devils 20-11
  • Home: Syracuse Orange 16-5 / Arizona State Sun Devils 15-4
  • Away: Syracuse Orange 4-8 / Arizona State Sun Devils 5-7
  • ATS: Syracuse Orange 14-17 / Arizona State Sun Devils 13-15-3
  • Over/Under: Syracuse Orange 14-17 / Arizona State Sun Devils 16-14-1

Why Bet on Syracuse?

The last time Cuse was in the tournament, it was a double-digit seed for the first time. That worked out well, as the Orange became the first No. 10 seed to reach the Final Four. Jim Boeheim’s bunch will have to work even harder to recreate that magic this year. This year, the NCAA Selection Committee rewarded Syracuse for its difficult non-conference schedule and key wins away from home. Syracuse’s non-conference RPI was 14th in the country. The Orange had quality road wins at Miami and Louisville. The non-conference schedule also included games against four conference champions — Kansas, Buffalo, Iona and Texas Southern. While Tyus Battle brings star power, Syracuse lacks consistent offense and is a poor shooting team. Their trademark zone should keep them in games, but at some point stopping opponents won’t be enough. Boeheim’s trademark 2-3 zone is good enough to keep Syracuse close in most games. The Orange’s long-limbed, active defenders often force foes to settle for contested shots, and as a result, Boeheim’s bunch ranked 16th nationally in scoring defense (64.5 points per game allowed). This will be the first NCAA Tournament appearance for every player on the Syracuse roster except one. Frank Howard, SU’s junior point guard, was a freshman on the 2016 Final Four team. He played a reserve role on that team, but this year, Howard has started every game and he’s been a constant presence on the floor. Howard is averaging 15 points and nearly five assists while playing 38.4 minutes per game. These teams have only met once before, also in the NCAA Tournament. On March 22, 2009, Syracuse bottled up a young Arizona State guard named James Harden as the Orange won 78-67 in Miami to advance to the Sweet 16. Harden had just 10 points on 2-for-10 shooting.

Likely Starters

  • Tyus Battle, 6-6, So. (19.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 84.3 FT%)
  • Frank Howard, 6-5, Jr. (15.0 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 5.0 apg)
  • Oshae Brissett, 6-8, Fr. (14.7 ppg, 8.8 rpg)
  • Marek Dolezaj, 6-9, Fr. (5.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 52.1 FG%)
  • Paschal Chukwu, 7-2, Jr. (5.4 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 2.7 bpg)

Why Bet on Arizona State?

No one had a better non-conference than Arizona State, which notched wins at Kansas and against Xavier and Kansas State on neutral floors. The hot-shooting Sun Devils at one point were projected as a top-three seed. But they sputtered in conference play, struggling to finish close games. Finishing the nonconference slate at 12-0 and earning a No. 3 ranking, ASU suffered its first loss to No. 17 Arizona to open Pac-12 play and went 8-10 to finish ninth in the conference before losing to Colorado in the Pac-12 Tournament opener on Wednesday. That gave the Sun Devils their fifth loss in the final six games. The Sun Devils come in as the March Madness Betting favorites against Syracuse. The only team that the Orange and Sun Devils both played was Kansas. Arizona State beat Kansas at Allen Field House. Syracuse lost 76-60 to Kansas on Dec. 2 in Miami. Senior guard Tra Holder leads the Sun Devils in scoring with 18.4 points per game. The 6-foot-1 guard also averaged 4.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. Holder shoots 37.1 from the 3-point line. Shannon Evans II forms the other half of Arizona State’s dynamic backcourt duo. The 6-foot-1 guard averages 16.6 points per game and shoots 37.3 percent from the 3-point line. ASU often uses a four-guard lineup and that takes a beating on the boards. The Sun Devils finished the season 240th in the country in rebounding margin at minus-1.0 per game. When the hot shooting ended, and they shot more than 50 percent in only two Pac-12 games, so did the winning.

Likely Starters

  • Tra Holder, 6-1, Sr. (18.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 3.4 apg, 84.1 FT%)
  • Shannon Evans II, 6-1, Sr. (16.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 3.5 apg, 85.3 FT%)
  • Kodi Justice, 6-5, Sr. (12.6 ppg, 45.7 FG%)
  • Romello White 6-8, Fr. (10.7 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 65.4 FG%)
  • Mickey Mitchell, 6-7, So. (5.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg)

Latest March Madness Betting Trends & Expert Prediction

  • Orange are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 NCAA Tournament games
  • Orange are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 neutral site games
  • Syracuse is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 Wednesday games
  • Sun Devils are 10-26 ATS in their last 36 neutral site games
  • Sun Devils are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 Wednesday games
  • Arizona State is 1-5 ATS in its last 6 games overall
That Syracuse zone is tough to prepare for. The Orange should be your March Madness Betting Pick to advance and face TCU.