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Syracuse is under investigation by the NCAA for self-reported violations by the athletic department and won’t be eligible to play in the ACC tournament or the NCAA tournament this season. That ban leaves a lot up in the air when it comes to the motivation of head coach Jim Boeheim and his players in the final month and a half of the ACC schedule.
The Orange, at 15-7 SU and 6-12-1 ATS, will take the court for the first time since the postseason blockade against the Pittsburgh Panthers on the road Saturday. Oddsmakers admit the ban and its motivational factors will have an impact on SU but aren’t rushing to hand Syracuse a pile of points, mostly due to the fact that the Orange were sitting on the NCAA tournament bubble.
“College players are naïve, so they probably thought they’d have a chance, so now all hope is lost. How will the Cuse players play knowing all hope is lost?,” Peter Childs, an oddsmaker for Sportsbook.ag, tells Covers. “They could come out ‘us against the world’ and play their best game. Or they could come out down about the situation and just lay down. I believe it will be the ‘us against the world’ scenario.”
The Orange are expected to have a slim spread in Pittsburgh Saturday but the books will likely pad the Panthers’ points knowing the betting public will be looking to go against Syracuse in this tough spot.
“While we won’t overreact to this news and while I’ve said I believe they will come out playing hard, I do know our bettors and the betting public,” says Childs. “They will fade Cuse in their next few games, at the very least their next game versus Pitt. We will add at least a point toward Pitt knowing the mindset of our bettors.”
Syracuse has had a tough enough time covering against the Panthers regardless of their postseason situation, going just 5-15-1 ATS in their last 21 meetings with Pitt.