College Basketball Betting: Louisville at Virginia

College Basketball Betting: Louisville at Virginia

Another Saturday in the ACC means another huge showdown between college hoops powers. Tipping just after 7pm, No. 9 Louisville meets No. 3 Virginia in a matchup that might decide first place in the conference. The Cardinals have had issues against Top 25 opponents, losing three of their last four, but they did dispose of UNC in overtime on January 31. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers rebounded nicely following their loss to Duke by beating those same Tar Heels on the road last Monday night. This marks the first of two meetings between the schools, the second of which will be the regular season finale. Points will likely be at a premium as both teams rank in the Top 20 in scoring defense with Virginia checking in at number one. Here’s a preview and prediction.


With the exception of an early December victory over Ohio State, the Cardinals have fattened their tournament resume by knocking off weaker competition. However, they played top ranked Kentucky tough and fell by only a single point in Chapel Hill on January 10th. Rick Pitino’s defense has been solid all season, but it’s the offensive trio of Terry Rozier, Chris Jones, and Montrezl Harrell that makes Louisville dangerous. Rozier and Jones can both drop daggers from beyond the arc, while Harrell is as physical and imposing as any big man in the country. Harrell racked 22 points and 15 rebounds versus North Carolina and will need a similar performance to counter Virginia’s stifling defense. Harrell and sophomore center Mangok Mathiang gives them a slight advantage in the paint, so second chance opportunities are critical.

No team in the nation plays defense with the same intensity and discipline as Tony Bennett’s Cavs. They yield 50.9 points per game and a shooting percentage of 34.1%. The only opponent to eclipse 50% from the field was Duke, who also outscored them 14-0 on fastbreak points. Containing the Cardinals’ transition offense and collapsing inside on Harrell will be priorities for Bennett’s charges. By slowing the pace and making every possession count, Virginia is able to limit quicker, more athletic squads like Louisville. The savvy backcourt duo of Malcolm Brogdon and Justin Anderson have a significant size advantage over Rozier and Jones, which could be the deciding factor as long as they prevent them from running and gunning. Virginia does pretty much everything right and makes few mistakes in the process. If they can bottle up Harrell, expect one more notch in the win column.

Cardinals are 8-12-1 ATS overall and 4-3 ATS on the road. Cavs are 13-6 ATS overall and 6-5 ATS at home. Virginia is capable of blowing out anyone, but Louisville has the talent to keep the margin close.

Bet Louisville +7