The No. 11 seed Syracuse Orange have embraced the role of underdog in the 2021 NCAA Tournament and will be in that position again when they square off with the second-seeded Houston Cougars in a Sweet 16 Midwest Region matchup on Saturday in Indianapolis. The Orange (18-9) own a 9-2 record as a double-digit seed in the NCAA tourney, reaching the Sweet 16 as an 11th seed in 2018 and advancing all the way to the Final Four as a No. 10 seed in 2016. Red-hot Houston (26-3) has ripped off nine consecutive victories, blowing out Cleveland State before rallying to overcome Rutgers in the second round.

Tip-off is at 9:55 p.m. ET at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The winner advances to play either Loyola Chicago or Oregon State. William Hill Sportsbook lists the Cougars as 6.5-point favorites, while the over-under for total points scored is 140.5 in the latest Houston vs. Syracuse odds. Before making any Syracuse vs. Houston picks, check out the March Madness college basketball predictions and betting advice from the SportsLine Projection Model.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every Division I college basketball game 10,000 times. Over the past four-plus years, the proprietary computer model has generated an impressive profit of $2,200 for $100 players on its top-rated college basketball picks against the spread. Anyone who has followed it has seen huge returns.

Now, the model has set its sights on Syracuse vs. Houston in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament 2021. You can head to SportsLine to see its picks. Here are several college basketball odds and trends for Houston vs. Syracuse:

  • Houston vs. Syracuse spread: Houston -6.5
  • Houston vs. Syracuse over-under: 140.5 points
  • Houston vs. Syracuse money line: Houston -300, Syracuse +240
  • HOU: The Cougars are 12-0 when Quentin Grimes scores 20 points
  • SYR: The Orange are on a 6-0 streak against the spread

Why Houston can cover 

The Cougars feature the American Athletic Conference Player of the Year in Grimes and the league’s Defensive Player of the Year in DeJon Jarreau. The duo combined for 39 of the team’s points in the 63-60 win over Rutgers and each knocked down a huge 3-pointer as Houston erased a nine-point deficit in the final five minutes. However, a defense that ranks second nationally in points allowed at 57.9 also was instrumental in the victory.

The Cougars held the Scarlet Knights to two points over the final 4:55 and second-leading scorer Marcus Sasser atoned for a dismal offensive performance (four points) with a pair of steals in the last 31 seconds. Houston’s biggest concern entering the matchup vs. Syracuse has been the health of point guard Jarreau, who played through a hip pointer vs. Rutgers. Jarreau told reporters Thursday that he’s good to go and will not be limited Saturday.

Why Syracuse can cover

Leading scorer Buddy Boeheim has been spectacular since the start of the ACC Tournament, averaging 28.3 points and shooting 60 percent overall (39 of 65). He has been just as proficient from behind the arc, knocking down 24 of 43 3-point attempts and becoming the first player since Stephen Curry in 2008 to hit at least five treys in four straight conference games. Boeheim also is the first player with at least six 3-pointers in his first two NCAA Tournament games since 2008.

Alan Griffin was second on the team during the regular season with an average of 15.3 points but he has scored a total of six in the last three games. Griffin’s woes have paved the way for added playing time for reserve Robert Braswell, who is averaging 9.3 points on 14-of-22 shooting over the last four games. Forward Quincy Guerrier bounced back from a dud in the opening round with 12 points, seven rebounds and five blocked shots vs. West Virginia

How to make Houston vs. Syracuse picks

The model is leaning over on the total, projecting the teams to combine for 145 points. It also says one side of the spread hits over 50 percent of the time. You can only see the pick at SportsLine.

So who wins Houston vs. Syracuse? And which side of the spread hits over 50 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine right now to see which side of the spread you need to jump on, all from the computer model that has crushed its college basketball picks.

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