Free Picks: Buddy and Friends Look to Slay the Cougars

Free Picks: Buddy and Friends Look to Slay the Cougars
Houston Cougars vs Syracuse Orange, NCAAB, Hinkle Fieldhouse

Buddy Boeheim has become a star in March. The son of legendary coach Jim Boeheim, Buddy is Syracuse’s leading scorer this season averaging 18PPG, but his March numbers have been even more impressive. Since the start of the month the 6’6 gunslinger is averaging 26PPG while shooting 54% from the floor and 48.5% from three. However, Boeheim is not the only Orange who has upped their game.

Zoning in on the Three

Robert Braswell who was usually playing 10 minutes or less a night has suddenly become a key part of the Syracuse rotation. Braswell has started to knock down his shots and creates lots of space for Syracuse’s offense by being active off-ball and being a reliable shooting option. His 6’7 frame forces Syracuse’s opponents to go bigger and he has gotten hot from the floor, Syracuse has been far better with Braswell on the floor than Alan Griffin.

Griffin a mainstay in Syracuse’s lineup has been playing less as Braswell has excelled. Braswell’s offensive rating during March is 145.8 points per 100 possessions (4th in the country). On the flip side Alan Griffin’s offensive rating is 108.6 points per 100 possessions, it may be bizarre but the Cuse’s recent success with Braswell can’t be argued.

Houston’s defense is one of the better units in the country, but Syracuse has gotten hot from the perimeter. A high quantity of threes has translated into success for the Orange with Syracuse going 9-3 SU and 8-4 ATS when shooting 25 three-point attempts. In all three of Houston losses this year their opponents attempted 20 threes. They are also 6-5 ATS in those same games, therefore coach Jim Boeheim’s plan will likely revolve around the three pointer both offensively and defensively. I think this will be a tight game, so one of my free picks is Syracuse +6 (-110 Bet10).

Like any other Syracuse team, this year’s squad plays zone defense. Attempting to eliminate the middle of the floor, the zone perplexes most teams as they are forced into shooting more threes than typically. Houston has shot 36.5% from three over their last 5 games, however as they are unable to attack the paint, the mental game could take over. As the zone is difficult to figure out that makes Syracuse a reliable 1st half option. Syracuse has led at the half in their last 7 games and I see this trend continuing against Houston. Surprisingly NCAAB odds have provided us with underdog value here, so my BetPicks best bet is Syracuse 1H ML.

 

Stats

  • Syracuse is 18-10-0 ATS in their last 28 NCAA Tournament games
  • Syracuse is 4-0-0 ATS at neutral sites this season
  • Houston is 4-2-0 ATS at neutral sites this season
  • Houston is 18-9-0 ATS as favourites this season

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Josh Saslove here, I am a passionate sports fan and have been consumed by sports for as long as I can remember. I have been a sports bettor for the past 4 years, starting out with betting on college basketball parlays. I currently write pieces for BetPicks, but have my own blog space as well, where you can find my past pieces. I am an avid fan of the Ottawa Senators, Toronto Raptors, Kansas City Chiefs and Toronto Blue Jays, so I know what it's like to cheer for the underdog. The 2017 ECF run by the Ottawa Senators and the Raptors 2019 NBA title are probably my fondest memories as a fan, as well of course the Chiefs Super Bowl win in 2020. I am also a big music fan and have been called Mac Miller by strangers on several occasions.

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