The Syracuse Orange play host to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights this evening, as the NCAA Basketball odds makers have opened the home team as a 14 point favorite. Which side do we believe is worth adding to your picks tonight?

The No. 7 Syracuse Orange have cashed with a 7-2 spread record in their first nine ‘board’ battles, including a 5-1 ATS mark at Carrier Dome. Jim Boeheim’s squad opens Big East Conference play on its floor with Wednesday’s matchup against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, who are 3-1 ATS in their four contests away from home. Which side will stay hot here as January’s stretch begins?

Orange, Williams pull away at home 

Image previewSyracuse’s latest triumph came in Monday’s 96-62 spanking of the Central Connecticut State Blue Devils, collecting as a 27-point home favorite. The Orange drained 10-of-22 buckets from three-point land as part of a 50.6 percent day of field shooting.

Orange guard Michael Carter-Williams notched his seventh double-double in nine games, piling in 18 points and 13 assists. Williams’ mates C.J. Fair and Rakeem Christmas grabbed 10 boards each, leading Syracuse in outrebounding Central Connecticut State, 55-29. 

The lopsided battle’s combined 158 points leaped above the ‘total’ of 151 ½, bringing the OVER to 4-2 in Syracuse’s last six affairs with a ‘total’ set. Christmas added four of his side’s eight blocks, while the Orange hit 8-of-13 free throws.

Rutgers, Miller edge out Rider 

Rutgers notched a fifth straight win in Friday’s 68-56 victory over the Rider Broncs, holding on to cash as 10-point home ‘chalk.’  The Scarlet Knights held Rider to 30.4 percent field shooting, while being outrebounded by the Broncs, 30-28. 

Scarlet Knights guard Dane Miller logged a season-high 18 points, while adding five assists and his squad’s sole two blocks. Rutgers’ Wally Judge and Eli Carter united for 12 boards, with Carter hitting 6-of-6 free throws en route to 15 points. 

Rutgers connected beyond the arc at a sparse 1-for-8 clip, pulling out the ‘cover’ despite the Broncs sinking 22-of-23 free throws. Scarlet Knights mates Myles Mack and Mike Poole recorded two steals each, making up part of Rider’s 16 turnovers. 

Back the Orange at home

The NCAA Basketball betting lines at Bookmaker.eu opened Syracuse as a 16 ½-point home favorite. Early wagers on Rutgers drove the number south a ‘hook’ to 16.

For today's NCAA basketball picksI am laying the double-digit ‘chalk’ here, looking for Syracuse to open its conference slate with a statement victory. The Orange have a 6-2 spread record in their last eight games that followed a victory, while cashing at a sizable 13-3 ATS clip in their last 16 spots that followed scoring over 90 points. 

Syracuse’s Michael Carter-Williams leads the Big East in assists (10.2 APG) and steals (3.2 SPG), while Rakeem Christmas is third in blocks (2.3 BPG). Orange backers have collected at 5-2 ATS in Syracuse’s last seven meetings with Rutgers, with Boeheim’s squad holding the Scarlet Knights to 49.5 PPG in their last two non-overtime battles at Carrier Dome. 

Rutgers has had its share of momentum with the Big East’s third-best field shooting (48.3 percent), but takes a steep step up in class here. The Scarlet Knights have yet to be a double-digit underdog this year, but were held to 40.7 percent shooting as nine-point dogs against the Mississippi Rebels.

Look for Rutgers to find itself smothered again in this spot, adding a losing ticket to the team’s 2-6 ATS mark in its last eight spots against foes with winning records. 

NCAA Basketball Pick: Syracuse -16 (Bookmaker.eu)