College Basketball Betting: Weekly Big East Handicapping Report
by Dave Schwab - 3/11/2015
The 2015 Big East Tournament gets underway this Wednesday from Madison Square Garden with two play-in games between the final four seeds in the conference. The action really starts to heat up in Thursday's quarterfinals with the rest of the field in play.
The following is the Big East betting report for this week's tournament with a closer look at my free pick of the week.
Big East Best Tournament Betting Odds
It has pretty much been a one-team show in the Big East this season with Villanova streaking to a SU conference record of 16-2 as part of an overall record of 29-2. The Wildcats have also been a solid bet along the way at 22-9 against the spread. They finished the regular season on a SU 12-0 run while going 11-1 ATS. Bovada has listed Villanova as a heavy 2/3 favorite to take the Big East Tournament title as well.
The second-favorite on Bovada's futures list to win this week is the Georgetown Hoyas at 5/1. They come in as the second seed with a SU conference record of 12-6. The Hoyas closed out the regular season with five SU victories in their last six games, but they are just 3-5 ATS in their last eight contests. They are 7-11 ATS in conference play and 1-1-2 ATS this season in four previous neutral-site games. Georgetown was one of two Big East teams to beat Villanova this season in a 78-58 romp on Jan. 19 as a four-point home underdog. This was the Wildcats last loss of the season.
The Butler Bulldogs also posted a SU 12-6 record in conference play to earn the third seed for this week's tournament, and they are third on Bovada's future list to win at 11/2. The Bulldogs closed out the regular season with an impressive 68-64 victory against Providence as 3.5-point underdogs on the road. They are now 3-1 both SU and ATS in their last four games as part of an 11-7 record ATS in the Big East.
The betting odds to win this week start to drop off pretty fast from there with St. John's fourth on the list at 8/1 followed closely by Providence and Xavier at 9/1.
The longshots in the conference start with Seton Hall at 40/1. The Pirates were the other team to knock off the top-seeded Wildcats this season with 66-61 overtime victory on Jan. 3 as 7.5-point home favorites. Creighton (50/1), Marquette (75/1) and DePaul (200/1) round-out the 10-team field.
Big East Play of the Week
The final game in this Thursday's Quarterfinal Round pits Butler against the No. 6 seed Xavier Musketeers in a 9:30 p.m. (ET) tip on FOX Sports 1. Butler has been listed as a 1.5-point favorite in this matchup, with the total still "off the board".
We already know that the Bulldogs are coming into this week's tournament on a roll, and they will be facing a Xavier team that dropped two of its last three games SU while going 0-2-1 ATS.
The Musketeers followed up losses to St. John's and Villanova with this past Saturday's 74-73 victory against Creighton, but they could not cover as 2.5-point road favorites. They are 7-10-1 ATS this season in Big East play and 2-4-1 ATS as underdogs.
These two split the season series, with the home team winning each time both SU and ATS. Butler covered as a 2.5-point favorite in an 88-76 victory on Jan. 15, and Xavier returned the favor with a 73-56 romp on Feb. 21 as a 4.5-point favorite at home. The Musketeers have a 6-2 SU edge in the last eight meetings, and they are 6-1-1 ATS.
While the recent trends in this matchup definitely favor the Musketeers, I have to give the edge in Thursday's game to Butler given its current form. The Bulldogs have the overall edge in defense in this matchup, and they have a proven history of knowing how to win tournament games. Lay the 1.5 points and take Butler in the rubber match.
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