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Syracuse vs. Virginia 2016 odds: Cavaliers favored vs. Orange in Elite Eight clash

Two of the nation's top defensive teams meet in the Elite Eight as favored Virginia takes on underdog Syracuse on Sunday.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Virginia Cavaliers are 16-3 straight up over their last 19 games including an 11-3 against the spread record over their last 14 games. The Cavaliers will try to punch their ticket to the Final Four this Sunday with a win over the Syracuse Orange.

Virginia is an 8-point betting favorite in Sunday's contest according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. In 16 games as a favorite of eight points or more this season, the Cavaliers were 15-1 SU and 8-8 ATS.

The Iowa State Cyclones eventually wound up with 71 points in their Sweet 16 matchup against the Virginia Cavaliers, but the outcome of the game wasn't ever in doubt from early in the first half. The No. 1 Cavaliers jumped out to a 17-3 lead on the Cyclones, holding on for a 45-31 lead at the half and eventually an 84-71 final score as a 6-point favorite.

It was another dominant performance from the nation's top defensive team, bringing Virginia's record over its last nine games to 8-1 SU and 7-2 ATS.

The Cavaliers have played against Syracuse one time in each of the last three seasons. Virginia is 3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS over that stretch with an average margin of victory of 13 points per game per the OddsShark College Basketball Database.

Syracuse ran away with its first two games of the tournament, crushing No. 7 Dayton 70-51 and No. 15 Middle Tennessee 75-50. But in the Sweet 16 against Gonzaga, the Orange trailed for much of the game and were down five points with under three minutes to play.

But with some key stops and clutch baskets, Syracuse eventually came away with a 63-60 upset as a 4-point underdog. The Orange are 3-0 SU and ATS in the NCAA Tournament after entering March Madness in a 1-5 SU slump.

Sunday's total is set at 123.5 points. All three of Syracuse's tournament games have gone UNDER the posted total, and the UNDER is 12-4 in Virginia's last 16 games.

Virginia allowed the second fewest points per game in the nation this season with 59.8, but Syracuse's zone defense wasn't far behind allowing only 64.7 points per game. Points will be at a premium in this chess match between two of college basketball's best defensive squads.