College Basketball Picks: Pitt at Villanova Odds and Betting Predictions
by Darin Zank - 2/12/2011
Big East basketball has already had a crazy year full of big games matching not just contenders for the conference crown, but for more coveted prizes come March. And Saturday night gives us another chance for a big-time Big East barnburner, as the Pitt Panthers, ranked No. 4 in the most recent AP poll, visit Philly to take on the 9th-ranked Villanova Wildcats within the cozy confines of The Pavilion (9 p.m. EST, ESPN).
Pitt began this season ranked in most top-5s and has lost just twice all season. They won their first 10 games before getting upset by Tennessee, and then won nine in a row before getting clipped by Notre Dame. Since then the Panthers have won three straight after beating West Virginia in Morgantown Monday night, 71-66.
Villanova started this season ranked in most top-10s, and at 19-5 they remain there. The 'Cats started 5-0 before also falling to Tennessee, then won 11 in a row after that. But Villanova is only 3-4 over its last seven games, and had a big-time blunder Wednesday night in New Jersey. Up by 13 with just more than four minutes to go, the Wildcats got outscored 23-9 down the stretch, losing on an improbable four-point play with under a second remaining.
So Pitt leads the Big East at 10-1, while Villanova is tied for fourth at 7-4. And remember, the top four teams in the Big East regular-season standings get double-byes into the quarterfinals in the upcoming conference tournament at Madison Square Garden.
In the something's-got-to-give department, Villanova has won 46 games in a row at The Pavilion. Meanwhile, the Panthers are 5-0 SU on the road in Big East play this season.
Pitt is 6-5 on the ‘over/unders’ in conference games this season, as their Big East battles have averaged 137 total points. 'Nova is 5-6 on its conference ‘over/unders’, as 'Cats Big East games have averaged 143 points.
Statistically speaking, these two teams are similar, but for one number. The Panthers are shooting 47.5 percent from the floor, Villanova 45 percent; both teams are holding opponents to 40 percent field goal shooting. While Pitt is dominating the boards at a rate of +12.7 rebounds per game, which leads all of Division 1 basketball, the Wildcats rank in the top 25 at +6 RPG.
But while 'Nova is shooting 77 percent from the free-throw line, the Panthers are shooting a troublesome 67 percent from the stripe.
On the injury front Villanova guard Corey Stokes (15 PPG) is dealing with a sore toe, and his status for Saturday's game is uncertain. And Pitt is missing guard Ashton Gibbs (16 PPG), after he hurt his knee last week.
This is the first of two scheduled meetings this season between these two teams; they also meet for their last games of the regular season on March 5 in Pittsburgh. And, of course, they could meet in the Big East Tournament and, who knows, maybe even in the NCAA Tournament.
As of Friday afternoon Pittsburgh is getting 12/1 odds to win the National Championship this season at Bodog and Sports Interaction. And Villanova can be gotten at +3,000 to win it all at Sports Interaction.
Pitt vs. Villanova Odds
The Wildcats have opened as three point favorites in this matchup, according to current college basketball odds. The total is 139.
Pitt vs. Villanova Betting Trends
Pitt is 6-2 ATS is last eight games.
Villanova is 1-4 ATS is last five games.
Seven of the last eight meetings in this series have played under the totals.
College Basketball Picks: Pitt vs. Villanova Predictions
The Big East has been a tough league to pick this year, with many of the upper-division squads taking turns knocking each other off, regardless of where the games are played. Pittsburgh, though, has been the exception. They are tough on defense, tough on the boards, smart with the ball, and they're solid on the road. Even with Gibbs' absence, we'll take the Panthers to spoil the party at the Pavilion Saturday night.
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