College Basketball Betting: Weekly Big East Handicapping Report
by Dave Schwab - 1/14/2015
The Big East is two weeks into conference play, and it might be down to having just one team ranked in the next AP Top 25 following No. 21 Seton Hall's 79-75 loss to Butler as a 2.5-point home favorite this past Tuesday night. That lone team left in the rankings just so happens to be one of the best in the entire nation at No. 5. The Villanova Wildcats will bring a 15-1 straight up record into Wednesday night's matchup against Xavieras 11-point road favorites on 5Dimes' current betting odds.
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The following is this week's Big East betting report with a closer look at a few teams to go with as well as go against right now along with my free pick of the week.
Big East Best Bets
Last week I went with Providence as my Big East 'play of the week,' and the Friars came through by the skin of their teeth in a 60-57 victory over Georgetown as 2.5-point home favorites. They have now covered against the spread in six of their last seven games with posted betting odds as part of an overall record of 13-4 straight up and 9-4-3 ATS. Providence will be back in action on Wednesday night against St. John's as once again a 2.5-point favorite at home.
You have to go all the way to the bottom of the Big East standings to find another hot team to go with right now. The DePaul Blue Demons are an even 9-9 SU on the year with a 3-2 record in Big East play, but they have been able to cover in all five of those conference games. This past Tuesday, they fell to Georgetown 78-72 as seven-point home underdogs, and before that the Blue Demons covered as heavy 21.5-point underdogs on the road in an 81-64 loss to Villanova. Next up for DePaul is a home game against St. John's this upcoming Sunday.
Big East Bankroll Busters
Last week I singled out Creighton as a good team to go against, and the Bluejays did not prove me wrong in SU back-to-back losses to DePaul and Seton Hall as home favorites. They have now lost their last five outings SU, and they are 0-7 ATS in their last seven games heading into Wednesday night's matchup against Marquette. Creighton has been listed as a 5.5-point road underdog against the Golden Eagles.
Another team that you might want to think about going against is Georgetown. The Hoyas have now failed to cover in their last three games, and they are just 1-5-1 ATS in their last seven contests. Georgetown will be back in action this Saturday as a likely home favorite against Butler.
Big East Play of the Week
This week's top play is more of a Philadelphia Big 5 pick with Villanova taking on city rival Penn this Saturday night at the Palestra. We all know what the Wildcats bring to the table in this one with an offense that is averaging 77.1 points a game while shooting 47.8 percent from the field.
Villanova has shown some tremendous balance throughout its roster with five different players scoring in double figures. Senior guard Darrun Hilliard II has led the way with 13.5 points a game, and Josh Hart (10.1 PPG) continues to have a hot hand with an impressive 51.9 shooting percentage from the field. Daniel Ochefu and JayVaughn Pinkston have also been a force with a combined 20.4 points and 14.8 rebounds a game.
Penn comes into this long-running rivalry with just four SU wins in its first 12 games, and it is 4-3 ATS in seven games with a posted betting line. The Quakers have been known to field some pretty competitive teams over the years, but this season appears to be a continuing rebuilding process for head coach Jerome Allen after his team went just 8-20 last season.
The Quakers do have a solid duo of players in Tony Hicks (14.9 points and 3.5 assists) and Darien Nelson Henry (11.2 points and 6.3 rebounds), but they are going to have a tough time keeping pace on the scoreboard this Saturday night with a team average of 65.8 points a game while shooting 45.7 percent from the field.
This Big 5 showdown is a complete mismatch both on paper and on the court. While Villanova is sure to come in as a heavy double-digit road favorite against the Quakers, these Philly teams do not have a habit of showing any mercy against one another, so a play on the Wildcats is clearly the way to go in this one.
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