College Basketball Betting: Villanova at St. John’s

College Basketball Betting: Villanova at St. John’s

A key early season showdown in the Big East highlights the college hoop slate on Tuesday night when No. 8 Villanova pays a visit to historic Madison Square Garden to face No. 24 St. John’s. The Wildcats are looking to avoid back-to-back losses after dropping their first of the season to the surprising Pirates of Seton Hall on on Saturday. The defeat wasted a career effort from junior forward Daniel Ochefu, who notched 19 points and 24 rebounds, both personal bests. The Red Storm are also in need of a W as two straight losses have sent them tumbling down the Top 25 rankings. Here’s a preview and prediction of tonight’s action.


In what appears to be a down year for the Big East conference, the Wildcats are the cream of the crop. The November schedule resulted in a solid win against a good VCU team and a so-so victory against a bad Michigan squad. One of their biggest strengths is depth as eight players net at least 12 minutes a night, and five are averaging double-digits in scoring. The aforementioned Ochefu has been a beast on the blocks, posting three double-doubles and 22 blocks in 14 games; a low post battle with St. John’s forward Chris Obekpa is a matchup to watch. Three-point shooting fuels the offense with senior guard Darrun Hilliard II and junior Dylan Ennis combining for 43 conversions.

The Red Storm lost on Saturday to Butler without second-leading scorer Rysheed Jordan, who was sidelined due to a personal family matter. The good news is Jordan is expected to return to the starting lineup on Tuesday in front of a raucous home crowd. Leading scorer D’Angelo Harrison did his best to make up for Jordan’s absence by scoring 31 points before fouling out late. St. John’s is seeking its first conference win after an 0-2 start and can ill afford to fall too far behind in what will be a tight race in the standings. The Red Storm will rely on a stingy defense that yields 60.6 points per game and ranks 6th in the country in blocked shots; Obekpa is one of the very best rim protectors with 55 rejections thus far. This marks the second game against Top 25 competition after being beaten on a neutral floor by then No. 10 Gonzaga 73-66 in late November.

College basketball home court advantage in conference matchups is significant. There’s something about a rabid student body fan base going nuts on a weeknight that gets a team going. Wildcats are 9-4 ATS overall and 2-1 ATS on the road. St. John’s is 6-4-1 ATS overall and 5-3-1 ATS at home.

Bet St. John’s +4.5