Free College Basketball Picks: Villanova at Butler Odds
by Dave Schwab - 12/30/2013
The No. 11 Villanova Wildcats will look to bounce back from their first loss of the season with a victory over the Butler Bulldogs this Tuesday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse in each team’s debut in the new-look Big East. Tip-off for this New Year’s Eve conference clash is set for 7 p.m. (ET), and the game will be broadcast nationally on FOX Sports Network 1.
The Wildcats reeled off 11 straight up victories to start the season while covering in eight of nine contests with a posted line. They ran into a buzz saw this past Saturday in a 78-62 loss to No. 2 Syracuse as four-point underdogs on the road. The total has now gone “over” in four of their last six games.
Butler has also cruised through the nonconference portion of its schedule with a 10-2 SU start that includes a healthy 7-3 record ATS. The Bulldogs have covered in six of their last seven games with a posted line, and the total has stayed under in four of their last six outings.
Villanova at Butler Betting Storylines
What has to have Villanova sick about last Saturday’s loss to the Orange is how it blew a fast start that opened up a 25-7 lead midway through the first half. Syracuse tightened things up on defense, and the Wildcats came unglued with one mistake after another. It will be interesting to see how this talented-but-young lineup responds this Tuesday night.
A big part of any conference victory this season will be the trio of James Bell, JayVaughn Pinkston and Darrun Hilliard. Bell leads the team with 16.2 points and 6.3 rebounds, while Pinkston is a close second with 15.3 points and five rebounds a game. Hilliard is the third player scoring at least 13 points a game and the team’s best pure shooter. He is hitting 49.5 percent of his shots from the field and 36.8 percent from three point range.
The Bulldogs have won their last five games SU after posting back-to-back losses to No. 6 Oklahoma State and LSU. They covered the spread in those two losses as part of their recent run ATS. They are averaging 75.3 points a game while holding teams to 64.5 points on the other end of the court. Butler is shooting 45.7 percent from the field and 35.5 percent from beyond the arc and holding their own under the boards with 38.7 rebounds a game.
Kellen Dunham and Khyle Marshall have combined to score almost half the team’s points this season with an average of 35.1 a game. Dunham is shooting 42 percent from the field and an impressive 44.7 percent from three-point range. Marshall is also adding 6.7 rebounds a contest, but Kameron Woods leads the team in rebounds with 9.6.
Villanova at Butler Betting Tends and Game Lines
The Wildcats are 19-7 ATS in their last 26 games against a team with a SU winning record and 6-1 ATS in their last seven games following an ATS loss. The total has gone over in seven of their last eight road games.
The Bulldogs are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games at home and 18-7-2 in their last 27 home games against a team with a SU winning record on the road. The total has stayed under in four of their last five home games overall.
This will be the first meeting between these two teams in recent memory.
Free College Basketball Picks Villanova at Butler Betting Predictions
On paper, Villanova is a slightly better all-around team, but I cannot help but get the feeling that it is walking into a trap in this contest after falling apart against Syracuse. The Bulldogs are positioned well to be a major factor in the Big East title race this season, and the best way to gain some early attention is take down the conference’s only ranked team. Stick with Butler to play two solid halves to secure the SU win as a slight underdog at home.
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