It’s a tale of two very different unbeaten teams. Despite boasting identical 3-0 records, the Tennessee Volunteers are double-digit favorites vs. the Syracuse Orange. Our betting picks get to the bottom of this disparity below.
The stands will be filled with fans in orange this afternoon as the Tennessee Volunteers take on the Syracuse Orange in the first round of the Maui Invitational in Honolulu.
Both teams come into the early season tournament with undefeated records. Tennessee has blown out its first three opponents and is once again favored in the college basketball odds over Syracuse, which needed a 24-point second-half comeback to beat the Colgate Raiders last week.
That’s just one of three lackluster performances for the Orange, who now face a substantial step up in competition in the form of the Volunteers. We’ll break down what to expect in this tournament matchup in our free college basketball picks for Tennessee vs. Syracuse on Monday, November 20.
Tennessee vs Syracuse best odds
Tennessee vs Syracuse picks and predictions
We may only be a couple of weeks into the season, but the Tennessee Volunteers look like a team that could make a deep run into March. The Vols have won all three of their games by double digits, with the closest contest being a 10-point road win over the Wisconsin Badgers.
The national media is certainly giving Tennessee plenty of respect, as it was ranked No. 7 in the last AP Top-25 poll. Senior Dalton Knecht is leading the way, scoring 19.7 points per game on 54.1% shooting so far this year. Junior guard Jordan Gainey (13.3 ppg) and senior guard Josiah-Jordan James (11.3 ppg) round out an experienced and balanced team that will give even the toughest opponents a difficult time on both ends of the court.
Syracuse’s own 3-0 start isn’t without any meaning. The Orange are playing under new coach Adrian Autry after 47 seasons of leadership from the legendary Jim Boeheim. However, even if Syracuse is finding ways to win, this doesn’t look like a vintage Boeheim version of this team.
Under Boeheim, Syracuse was known for playing tough defense — almost always in Boeheim’s signature 2-3 zone. Those days are over, as Autry has implemented man-to-man as his primary defensive scheme. So far, that hasn’t produced results, as Colgate, the Canisius Golden Griffins, and the New Hampshire Wildcats have all scored at least 72 points against the Orange.
That’s going to be an issue now that Syracuse has to play a potential national title contender in Tennessee. The Orange are allowing opponents to shoot 44.3% from the field, which already ranks outside the top 250 in the country despite not playing a notable opponent yet this year. Those same teams have blitzed Syracuse at a 35.1% clip from beyond the arc, something the Volunteers (37.8% from three-point range) are equipped to exploit.
Tennessee is averaging 80.7 points per game despite playing at a relatively slower pace. The Volunteers can expect to put together another big day on Monday against a Syracuse defense that doesn’t have the talent to stop Knecht or the rest of their guard-heavy lineup from getting the shots they want all game long.
It won’t be a surprise when Tennessee advances past Syracuse in the Maui Invitational, but the margin of victory might raise some eyebrows. I’m taking the Volunteers and laying the 12.5-point spread.
My best bet: Tennessee -12.5 (-108 at DraftKings)
Tennessee vs Syracuse same-game parlay
For my same-game parlay, I’m going to build on my prediction that Tennessee wins this game in what amounts to a walkover. That starts with taking the Volunteers to cover the hefty 12.5-point spread. I’m also going to take the Over at 146.5 points. Syracuse plays at a fast pace, which should keep the scoreboard moving all game long, especially with a Tennessee team already averaging over 80 points per game.
Finally, I’m adding in a bet on Knecht to score Under 16.5 points. While Knecht has been putting up big numbers early in the season, the Northern Colorado Bears transfer may not even be the focal point of the Tennessee offense all season long, and certainly won’t be averaging nearly 20 points a night. The Volunteers should spread the ball around this afternoon, making this a solid addition to our SGP.
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Tennessee vs Syracuse spread and Over/Under analysis
Tennessee opened this game as a 14-point favorite. That line has come down significantly, with the consensus spread now sitting at 12.5 points. While there’s -110 action on both sides of the line at most books, you can find -108 on the Volunteers if you’re looking to optimize your bets.
Syracuse may be undefeated on the season, but the Orange are also 0-3 against the spread. Tennessee has won all three of its games in blowout fashion and has also put up a 2-1 record ATS.
These teams aren’t in the same stratosphere in terms of talent. Tennessee has a mix of returning veterans and quality transfers, making it one of the best teams in the country. Syracuse is struggling against much weaker opponents and trying to find its way under a new head coach. The big number may seem scary, but Tennessee is still the play here.
The total for this afternoon’s contest opened at 146 points. The consensus Over/Under has settled in around 146.5, with some books going as high as a flat 147. While -110 is the best you’re going to do on the Over at 147, you can get -105 on the Under at 146.5.
Tennessee has been playing overmatched opponents early in the season, while Syracuse hasn’t found its rhythm on defense just yet. In both cases, that has allowed the Over to post a 2-1 record for each team this year.
I expect to see more of the same on Monday. Syracuse has been playing at a fast tempo to start the season, and I don’t think that speeding up the game will hurt the Volunteers in any way. If nothing else, the Orange have the ability to score, and while that won’t keep them in the game against Tennessee, it does mean that this could be a shootout where even the losing team puts up 70 points. I’m leaning towards the Over.
Tennessee vs Syracuse betting trend to know
Syracuse is 0-3 against the spread overall this season. Find more college basketball betting trends for Tennessee vs. Syracuse.
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Tennessee vs Syracuse game info
|Location:||Stan Sheriff Center, Honolulu, HI|
|Date:||Monday, November 20, 2023|
|Tip-off:||2:30 p.m. ET|
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