Las Vegas Picks Indiana Over Syracuse—Barely

Bookies currently have the Hoosiers winning by 5.5 points.

As the Hoosiers prepare to take on the Syracuse Orange this Thursday night in the Sweet Sixteen, the analysis from the talking heads has been unrelenting. The CBS Sports experts are split right down the middle about who will win. Almost all of the ESPN gurus have IU advancing. And a lot of people still want to talk about Keith Smart’s 1987 Shot. [See our “Where Are They Now?” photo album from that 1987 championship team.]

But at the risk of encouraging an unhealthy habit, we turned to Las Vegas for the betting line. The Hoosiers started the week as a 6-point favorite, and have been falling slowly as the money pours in, currently sitting at 5.5. The odds makers have had mixed success in this tournament. In the previous round, they had Syracuse by 7.5 points over California, and the Orange won by 6. But Indiana failed to cover its sizable 12-point spread over Temple, also winning by just 6.

How do they come up with these odds? A lot of it relies on sensible examination of the teams’ strengths and weaknesses. And then there are absurd variables like “How Indiana Plays on a Thursday This Season” and “Historically, Syracuse’s Record After Playing California.”

For those seeking a more qualitative analysis, here’s one: Syracuse will have no answer for Cody Zeller. The Hoosiers will win handily.