College Basketball Betting: Villanova at Butler

College Basketball Betting: Villanova at Butler

First place in the Big East is on the line Saturday evening when No. 6 Villanova battles the 18th ranked Butler Bulldogs. The Wildcats took the first meeting on New Year’s Eve and boast a 22-2 record. Butler has been on a tear since mid January, winning seven of eight; a victory here would bolster their growing tourney resume and give them a share of the conference lead. ‘Nova has hopes of landing a number one seed in March, but their most impressive victory came against VCU way back in late November. That said, if they run the table, the selection committee will have to grant them serious consideration in a few weeks. Here’s a preview and prediction.

VILLANOVA AT BUTLER +1.5

Since getting blasted by the Hoyas on January 19th, the Wildcats have reeled off five straight, including a rematch thumping of Georgetown last Saturday. Senior guard Darrun Hilliard II continues to pace the attack, but backcourt mate Ryan Arcidiacono has been hot of late, scoring double-digits in seven of his last nine. Villanova does one thing really well and that’s shoot three pointers: five players have converted over 30 attempts from beyond the arc at above a 35% clip. Give this team open looks and they will make you pay. They are also balanced, fairly deep, and extremely well-coached by Jay Wright. If they have a weakness it would be a tendency to get sloppy with the ball, especially in road games. The ‘Cats are 3-0 versus the Bulldogs in Big East meetings and are one of the best in the country at producing points off turnovers at 18.1 per game.

Butler endured a stretch from mid December to mid January that saw them go 5-5. However, five consecutive wins has them back in the race to claim the Big East title. The dynamic junior duo of Kellen Dunham and Roosevelt Jones is one of the conference’s best one-two punch combinations. Neither was sharp in the first matchup, going a woeful 8-25 from the field. It goes without saying that both must be better for the Dogs to come out ahead. Helping the cause will be sophomore forward Andrew Chrabascz, who is averaging 15.8 points in the last five wins, highlighted by a career-high 30 at Marquette. Senior Kameron Woods is an absolute beast on the glass, totaling 38 rebounds in the last three games. With defenses concentrating on Dunham and Jones, Chrabascz and Woods will be major factors from here on out.

Villanova is 16-7 ATS overall and 5-3 ATS on the road. They are 8-1 against opponents ranked in the BPI Top 50. Butler is 14-8 ATS overall and 7-5 ATS at home. They have won their last five at home by an average of 13.6 points. The Hinkle Fieldhouse crowd proves to be the difference.

Bet Butler +1.5