Fab Melo’s Suspension and Its Impact on Syracuse

Yesterday afternoon, Syracuse fans were devastated by news that sophomore center Fab Melo (7.8 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 2.9 BPG) will be academically ineligible for the NCAA tournament. That information spread quickly and immediately impacted the betting line for their matchup Thursday (3/15) against UNC Asheville as well as many future odds.

According to our College Basketball Betting Trends, Syracuse opened as a 16.5-point favorite and was receiving over 70% of spread wagers prior to Melo’s suspension. That lop-sided betting pushed the line to 17 at the market-setting Cris sportsbook. However, without their star defensive player, bets began to pour in on the 16th-seeded Bulldogs. The betting percentage dropped from a high of 74% yesterday afternoon to its current level at 62%. That swing caused the line to drop two full points to -15.

There was also immediate impact to the total for this game. Melo was the Big East Defensive Player of the Year this season and a key cog in the Orange’s 2-3 defense. His absence leaves ‘Cuse vulnerable in the middle which led the total to jump from the opening line of 144 to its current 147.5. It also caused a massive change in public perception as 75% of the public liked the under prior to Melo’s suspension — particularly uncommon as most bettors tend to bet the over. However, as this news broke public sentiment pulled a 180 with 56% of bettors now taking the over.

Lastly, it’s interesting to observe how Melo’s presence affected future odds. The table below shows the top seeds in the East and how their odds to win the championship shifted following news of Melo’s ineligibility.

Team Seed Odds Before Injury Current
Odds
Syracuse 1 9:2 6:1
Ohio State 2 8:1 11:2
Florida State 3 35:1 25:1

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