The Big East started the week with three teams ranked in the Top 10 of both major national polls and featuring one of the biggest matchups in college hoops
on Tuesday's slate. The No. 7 Xavier Musketeers prevailed as 1.5-point road favorites in a huge 75-68 victory against the No. 10 Providence Friars. The
17-3 Villanova Wildcats are still the highest-ranked team in the conference at No. 6 in both major polls, but that could very well change come next week
with Xavier's big win.
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The following is my weekly betting report for the Big East in terms of my top betting team to go with right now as well as a look at which team has been hard on a bettor's wallet in recent games. I will also give you my free Big East Top Play for one of this weekend's games.
Big East Best Bet
Xavier will probably grab all of the headlines for Tuesday's win, but there is one up-and-coming team in the Big East that should be grabbing bettor's attention right now. The Creighton Bluejays are coming off a tough 74-73 loss to the Georgetown Hoyas this past Tuesday night. However, after covering as 3.5-point road underdogs they improved to 5-1 against the spread in their last six games.
Creighton is now 5-3 straight-up in conference play with a profitable 6-2 record ATS. It is the highest scoring team in the Big East this season with an average of 82.5 points per game and it is shooting 47.7 percent from the field, which is a close second to Butler (47.8 %) at the top of that list.
The Hoyas may have lost that game ATS, but they still deserve an honorable mention for their SU 6-2 record in Big East play. They have now failed to cover in their last two games, including a nonconference loss to Connecticut, but this followed a profitable 6-1 start ATS in their first six Big East games.
Big East Bankroll Buster
Villanova may be the top-ranked team in the conference right now, but the Wildcats have not been friendly to bettors with a 1-5 ATS record in their last six games. They fell from No. 4 in both polls following this past Sunday's 82-76 loss to Providence as heavy 12.5-point home favorites, and they are now 10-9 ATS on the year.
Marquette has been another costly team to bet on lately in the midst of a fading 1-3 SU record over its last four games. The Golden Eagles did manage to get past St. John's 78-73 their last time out, but after failing to cover as 5.5-point road favorites, they are 2-6 ATS in their first eight Big East games while going 3-5 SU.
Big East Play of the Week
I went with Xavier over Seton Hall as last week's top Big East pick and had to settle for a "push" on Bookmaker's eight-point spread. This week's top play centers on this Sunday's Villanova game on the road against the St. John's Red Storm in a noon (ET) start on FOX.
While the Wildcats may not be the best bet in the Big East right now, they are still one of the best teams in the nation on the court. This Sunday's betting matchup could present the perfect opportunity to cash in on a complete mismatch on the court.
Villanova is actually a middle-of-the road scoring team in the conference with an average of 75.6 PPG, but the primary strength has been a shut-down defense that is ranked sixth in the nation in points allowed (61.7). This average has ticked up slightly to 64.8 points allowed through eight conference games, but that includes games against the other top four teams in the standings.
St. John's continues to struggle through a disastrous season that has only gotten progressively worse with a SU 0-7 start in the Big East. Before covering in the loss to Marquette, the Red Storm was 2-4 ATS in their first six conference games as part of a costly 7-13 record ATS on the year.
They are at the bottom of the list in scoring among the 10 teams in the Big East with just 67.4 PPG, and defensively St. John's is allowing an average of 74 points a game. This number has ballooned to 81 PPG in conference play, with none of the teams scoring fewer than 74 points in those seven losses.
The Wildcats will have had an entire week to stew about that loss to Providence last Sunday. Even though I expect Bookmaker to list Villanova as a double-digit road favorite for this Sunday's game at Madison Square Garden, I also expect this team to flex its muscles a bit to cover the large spread.
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