College Basketball Betting: Weekly Big East Handicapping Report
by Dave Schwab - 12/30/2014
With the start of the New Year this Thursday, the men's college basketball season shifts into conference play with an eye towards regular season and tournament championships a few months down the road. The Big East decided to get a jump on things by scheduling five head-to-head conference matchups on New Year's Eve starting at noon EST and running right into the New Year.
The following is a brief betting report for the first four games along with my Big East "pick of the night" using betting odds and trends as provided by 5Dimes. All the games will be broadcast nationally on FOX Sports 1.
No. 15 St. John's Red Storm at Seton Hall Pirates- Noon (ET)
The Red Storm have reeled off seven straight up victories, and they have a 5-1 mark against the spread in their last six outings heading into conference play. Their biggest win of the season came against Syracuse in a 69-57 romp as 6.5-point road underdogs on Dec. 6. The total has stayed "under" in seven of nine games with posted lines as part of a SU overall record of 11-1.
Seton Hall has caught the betting public's attention this season by covering ATS in 10 of 11 games with a posted line. The Pirates are 10-2 SU overall, and the total has stayed under in three of their last four games. They have lost the last three meetings against St. John's SU, but they have a 2-1 edge ATS with the total going "over" in two of the three games.
Butler Bulldogs at No. 6 Villanova Wildcats- 2:30 p.m. (ET)
Butler comes into its second season of play in the Big East with a 10-3 SU record that includes a late-November tournament win over Georgetown as a 3.5-point underdog as well as back-to-back losses to Tennessee and Indiana as a favorite earlier this month. Overall, the Bulldogs are 8-4 ATS, and the total has stayed under in seven of 11 games.
The Wildcats have been the pride of the Big East through the nonconference portion of the season with a perfect 12-0 run. They have covered in eight of the contests, and the total has stayed under in seven of the 12 games. Last season Villanova opened play in the Big East against Butler as a four-point road favorite, and it squeezed-out a thrilling 76-73 victory in overtime.
Marquette Golden Eagles at DePaul Blue Demons- 5 p.m. (ET)
The Golden Eagles have strung together a SU four-game winning streak with a 3-1 record ATS heading into this game. They have now covered in seven of their last eight games, and the total has gone over in five of those contests. Marquette has been able to cover as a double-digit underdog in losses to Ohio State and Michigan State, and in late November it knocked off Georgia Tech 72-70 as a three-point underdog.
DePaul has been on a downward spiral ever since it lost to George Washington 81-68 as a 10-point road underdog on Dec. 11. The Blue Demons went on to lose their next five games both SU and ATS even after closing as favorites in three of those contests. They are now 6-7 SU (4-8 ATS) on the year, and the total has gone over in nine of 11 games. Marquette has won seven of the last eight meetings SU, but DePaul does have a 5-2 edge ATS in the last seven games.
Creighton Bluejays at Providence Friars- 7:30 p.m. (ET)
This is the start of Creighton's second season in the Big East, and it is off to a SU 9-4 start with a 6-7 record ATS. The total has stayed under in seven of 10 games with a posted line. The Bluejays biggest win in nonconference play was a 65-55 victory on the road against Nebraska on Dec. 7 as seven-point underdogs. They are 1-2 ATS in three road games this year.
The Friars have won 10 of 13 games SU with a 6-3-3 record ATS. The total has gone over in seven of 10 games with a posted line. They actually earned a "push" against No. 1 Kentucky in a 58-38 loss as 20-point road underdogs on Nov. 30. Providence rolled over Miami (FL) its last time out in a 76-62 rout as a two-point road underdog. It has a 2-1 edge both SU and ATS over Creighton in last season's series, and the total went over in two of the three games.
Big East Pick of the Night
No. 25 Georgetown Hoyas at Xavier Musketeers- 10 p.m. (ET)
The Hoyas were barely on the national rankings radar before the season started, but an 8-3 SU start that includes victories against Florida and Indiana coupled with a tight four-point loss to Kansas has caught some attention, especially in the latest AP poll. They are 5-4-1 ATS, and the total has gone over in seven of 11 games. Georgetown has some talent on offense with an average of 75.1 points a game and a solid shooting percentage of 48.1 from the floor.
Xavier is also off to a strong start 9-3 SU with a 7-5 record ATS. The total has also gone over in seven of 11 games. Its scoring numbers look impressive as well. However, the main concern I have with this team coming into this Big East opener is that the Musketeers have yet to really extend themselves against any quality opponents. They have been favored in all 11 games, and the betting odds closed in double figures in five of those outings.
I think Marquette is going to have its hands full this Wednesday night as a likely home favorite against a better-than-expected Hoyas team. It does not help that the Musketeers have now failed to cover in five of their last seven games.
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