College Basketball Betting: Weekly Big East Handicapping Report
by Dave Schwab - 2/25/2015
As the month of February comes to a close, the No. 6 Villanova Wildcats continue to build their case for one of the top seeds in next month's NCAA Tournament with a current nine-game winning streak. Bettors who have gotten on this money train over the past five weeks have cleaned up behind a perfect 9-0 record against the spread as well. Both No. 23 Butler and No. 25 Providence continue to cling to a spot in the current national rankings, but keep an eye on the surging Georgetown Hoyas to possibly make their way into next Monday's updated AP Top 25.
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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
There is no doubt that Villanova remains the overall best bet in the Big East, but bettors might want to take a closer look at the Hoyas in their next few games. They have been hit-or-miss all season long with an overall 11-13-2 record ATS, but in their current three-game SU winning streak they have covered as favorites against Seton Hall and the St. John's Red Storm. Next up on the slate for Georgetown is another matchup against the Red Storm this Saturday.
The one team the Hoyas did not cover against during their current run was DePaul. The Blue Demons have been no stranger to this "best bets" category this season with a 16-12 ATS record, and they covered as 14-point road underdogs in this past Saturday's 68-63 loss to Georgetown. DePaul followed that up with Tuesday's 75-62 loss to the Creighton Bluejays as a one-point home favorite, but it's still a solid 12-4 ATS in Big East play.
The Bluejays deserve an honorable this week for covering in their last three outings after going 4-8 ATS in their previous 12 conference games.
Big East Bankroll Busters
Butler is 3.5 games in back of Villanova in the standings at 9-5 SU in the Big East, but behind a 2-2 SU record in its last four games it has failed to cover all four times. This past Saturday, the Bulldogs were hammered by Xavier 73-56 as five-point road underdogs after failing to cover as 2.5-point road favorites in a tight 58-56 victory against Creighton on Feb. 16. Overall, they are an even 7-7 ATS in the Big East this season.
Marquette is another team that you might want to continue going against with just one SU win in its last 10 games to complement a 1-7 mark ATS in its last eight contests. The Golden Eagles will actually face Butler this Wednesday nightas 9.5-point road underdogs on 5Dimes' current betting odds. Something is going to have to give in that matchup given both team's records ATS lately.
Big East Play of the Week
I got back to my winning ways with last week's Big East top pick by riding Villanova in an 87-76 victory against Marquette, with the Wildcats closing as 9.5-point road favorites. While you probably cannot go wrong with a play on Villanova this Saturday against Xavier as a likely heavy favorite on the road , I am going to take my own advice with a play on Georgetown on the road against St. John's.
The Hoyas are starting to find that tournament form at just the right time behind an offense that has averaged 77.6 points per game during their current three-game run as opposed to a 71.8 point season average. Junior guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera scored a game-high 19 points in last Saturday's win against DePaul, and he continues to lead the team in scoring with 15.5 PPG. Georgetown has outscored its last three opponents by a combined 46 points.
The Red Storm have been able to bounce back from a dismal SU 3-7 start in conference play with a 5-1 record in their last six games, but that lone setback was to Georgetown in a 79-57 beatdown on Feb. 17 as seven-point road underdogs. St. John's defense had no answer for Georgetown's overall balance in that first contest and it was outrebounded 46-31. It ended the night shooting just 32.8 percent from the field verses a season average of 44.8 percent.
The Red Storm could possibly open as slight one- or two-point home favorites in the rematch and while the final score should be much closer this time around, the end result will be the same in another SU loss to Georgetown.
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