College Basketball Betting: Weekly Big East Handicapping Report
by Dave Schwab - 2/18/2015
The No. 6 Villanova Wildcats have been the team to beat in the Big East all season long, and they took a huge step towards locking up the regular season title with last Saturday's 68-65 victory against Butler as two-point road favorites. This completed the season sweep of the Bulldogs while opening up a two-game lead in the standings with the tiebreaker in hand. Butler remains the only other nationally-ranked team in this conference coming in at No. 19 in the AP's latest Top 25.
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.
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Big East Best Bets
Not only has Villanova been tearing it up on the court in its current seven-game winning streak, but it has covered the spread in all seven games despite being a heavy double-digit favorite in four of those contests. The total has stayed "under" in six of the seven games. The Wildcats are now 24-2 straight up on the year with a profitable 18-8 record against the spread. They are 10-4 ATS on their home court and 5-3 ATS in eight previous road games this year.
The DePaul Blue Demons have earned a permanent place on this list for their ability to consistently cover spreads, especially as heavy underdogs. They have managed to win just one of their last six games SU, but during this slide they have still gone 4-2 ATS as double-digit underdogs in four of those games. Last Wednesday, DePaul fell to St. John's 86-78 as a 9.5-point road underdog. It is now 6-7 SU in conference play but a highly-profitable 11-2 ATS in those 13 games. The total has gone "over" in four of its last six contests. This Wednesday night, the Blue Demons will be back in actionas 2.5-point home underdogs against Providence on 5Dimes' betting odds for the game.
Big East Bankroll Busters
Speaking of the Friars, they have worked their way to the top of this week's list of teams to go against after failing to cover in four of their last five games. This past Saturday they could not cover as 8.5-point home favorites in a 69-62 victory over Seton Hall. Before that, they dropped a 74-68 decision to Villanova as four-point underdogs at home. Despite the recent slide, Providence is still 13-9-3 ATS this season, including a 7-5-2 record ATS as a favorite.
Another team you can add to this week's list is Butler. Along with that SU and ATS loss to the Wildcats last Saturday, it also failed to cover in an 83-73 victory against DePaul as a 13-point home favorite on Feb. 7 and in this past Monday's tight 58-56 victory over Creighton as a 2.5-point favorite on the road. The Bulldogs are now 19-7 SU with a 15-5 record ATS. The total has stayed "under" in their last two games after going over in their previous four outings.
Big East Play of the Week
I missed the boat last week with Xavier losing to St. John's 78-70 as an eight-point home favorite. In an effort to redeem myself, I have turned my attention to this Saturday's Villanova at Marquette game. Tip off from the BMO Harris Bradley Center is set for 2:30 p.m. (ET), and the game will be broadcast nationally on FOX.
The Wildcats closed as heavy 14-point home favorites in the first meeting this season on Feb. 4 and covered the spread in a 70-52 victory. They opened up a 17-point lead at the half against Marquette and never looked back. Junior guard Ryan Arcidiacono led all scorers with 18 points, and Senior guard Darrun Hilliard II added another 12 points in the winning effort. These two have been tearing it up all season long, and Villanova, as a team, is averaging 74.7 points per game while shooting an effective 46.5 percent from the field.
The Golden Eagles brought a SU five-game losing streak into that first meeting, and since that loss they have dropped two of their last three games. This team has been a bankroll-buster since late January with a 1-6 record ATS. Marquette has now failed to cover in five of its last six games as underdogs. It will have a hard time keeping up with the Wildcats on the scoreboard with an average of 66.1 PPG, and defensively it's allowing the exact same amount of points.
Look for Villanova to open as a healthy nine- or 10-point road favorite in this Saturday's matchup, but given that the betting trends for both of these teams are complete polar opposites right now, I am laying the points and going with the Wildcats to stay hot win a SU win that covers the spread.
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