- Jeff Gold, ESPN Insider
With football season now over, college basketball has taken the spotlight for gamblers. That means it's time for your weekly chaser columns to turn to hoops, which has games every night across the country, so there are plenty of opportunities to try to beat the lines.
Every Monday, we'll take a look at the two games airing on ESPN from a gambling perspective, with a pick on the game from Ted Sevransky here on Insider.
Spread: Syracuse -1.5
These two teams are part of a three-way tie (along with Louisville) behind Georgetown for second place in the Big East. For either team to have a realistic chance at winning the conference, it must win tonight. This game has even higher stakes, as it will be the last time these two teams play a regular-season game as fellow members of the Big East.
Syracuse is coming off a defeat at home to Georgetown on Saturday in front of the biggest crowd in program history (35,012) on a day when the Orange retired Carmelo Anthony's jersey. The loss ended Syracuse's 38-game home winning streak.
Syracuse has four players averaging in double figures in points, but none higher than Brandon Triche's 14.8. Syracuse's typically stingy 2-3 zone is causing problems for opponents once again, holding the opposition to a .371 field goal percentage, best in the Big East.
Marquette is coming off a weekend loss to Villanova, but returns to its home floor where it has won 23 straight (14-0 this season), second best in the nation behind South Dakota State (30 in a row). Buzz Williams has led the Golden Eagles to four straight NCAA tournaments since taking over from Tom Crean. Over its past three games, Marquette has been tremendous on the glass, outrebounding its opponents by an average of 13.7.
Ted Sevransky says: "The Orange just aren't the same team right now as they were a month ago. They've lost four of their past eight in straight-up fashion, and were favored in three of those four defeats. Their biggest issue in all four losses has been a poor shooting touch. As a team, Syracuse shot only 34 percent from the floor in their double-digit home loss to Georgetown on Saturday.
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