Syracuse vs. Michigan betting odds preview: Orange Final Four underdogs

Ronald Martinez

Michigan is favored over Syracuse on the Final Four odds menu, but coach Jim Boeheim has dominated his coaching counterpart John Beilein over the years. Can the Orange upset the Wolverines as 2-point underdogs Saturday night?

Syracuse and Michigan haven't met very often over the years, but their head coaches have and Jim Boeheim is 9-0 against John Beilein.

Now that their teams meet on the biggest stage in college basketball, the Orange and Big Blue do battle in the second of the two NCAA tournament national semifinal games Saturday evening at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta (8:50 pm ET, CBS).

Earlier this week many college basketball bookmakers opened this game with Michigan favored by two points, the OVER/UNDER proffered at 131, and both those numbers have held steady in the early wagering.

"Boeheim has beaten Beilein at Richmond, at West Virginia and at Michigan over the years and Syracuse won all nine of those meetings," said Jack Randall of OddsShark.com. UM last defeated Syracuse at a Christmas tournament in 1997.

If Syracuse wins, they will buck a recent Final Four trend that has seen favorites go 9-6-1 ATS since 2005.

It's hard to believe but Syracuse (30-9 SU, 20-15 ATS) is playing in the Final Four for the first time since Carmelo Anthony and the boys won the national title 10 seasons ago. The Orange started 18-1 this season, but lost seven of their last 12 games. The 'Cuse then reached the championship game of the Big East tournament, but lost to Louisville.

The fourth-seeded Orange then began this Big Dance with a blow out of Montana and a tough win over Cal, then knocked off top-seeded Indiana 61-50. And last Saturday Syracuse held Marquette to 39 points to win the East Regional.

Michigan (30-7 SU, 18-16 ATS), meanwhile, is playing in the Final Four for the first time since the Fab Five lost the national championship game to North Carolina 20 years ago. The Wolverines started 20-1 this season, rising to No. 1 in the polls.

But Michigan then lost five of its last 10 regular-season games and got knocked out of the Big Ten Conference tournament in the quarterfinals by Wisconsin.

The fourth-seeded Wolverines then began this NCAA tournament with a solid win over San Diego State and a surprising demolition of VCU. Michigan then pulled off one of the great comebacks of recent tournament memory, rallying very late against top-seeded Kansas to win 87-85 in overtime.

Then last Sunday the Wolverines jumped out to a big early lead and rolled to a 79-59 victory over Florida to win the South Regional.

So Michigan is 4-0 ATS over its last four games, and 10-8 ATS versus teams that made the NCAA tournament this season.

Syracuse is 5-2 ATS over its last seven games, but only 8-11 ATS against teams that made the Big Dance.

These two teams met most recently two seasons ago, in an early-season tournament in Atlantic City, with the 'Cuse coming away with a 53-50 victory.

As of Wednesday night, Bovada.lv was listing the Wolverines at +300 in odds to win the national title game Monday night, while the Orange was getting +450.

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