Villanova vs. Xavier Betting Odds
Big East basketball has been superb this season.
The conference is great at the time and very deep, with every team having a shot in any given game.
This matchup features two of the conference’s best. Villanova was the pre-season favorite and is still one of the top-ranked teams. But Xavier is 12-2 and ranked themselves.
Villanova Wildcats Odds
Villanova has been a bit mercurial this season.
The ‘Cats were ranked as high as No. 2 in the pre-season, but they opened the college basketball season with losses to UCLA and Purdue in the first month. Nothing wrong with those big-name losses.
But the primetime loss to Baylor may have turned some heads. Villanova scored just 36 points in the 40 minutes of basketball, the lowest for the team in the Jay Wright era.
And to follow that up with a blowout loss to Creighton really turned some heads.
But the Wildcats calmed down, and they fought back to win their next four conference games. Villanova beat Xavier, Seton Hall, Creighton, and DePaul by a combined 60 points.
So, it might be safe to say Villanova is back in its rightful spot: Atop the Big East power rankings.
Villanova will continue to do what Villanova does. Wright’s team plays slow (351st in tempo), passes the ball crisply around the perimeter, and hucks it from 3 (21st in 3-point rate).
Everything runs through Collin Gillespie, who’s averaging 17 points and four assists per game. But upperclassmen Justin Moore and Jermaine Samuels round out one of the best three-man tandems in college hoops.
Xavier Musketeers Odds
It’s hard not to love Xavier basketball.
The Musketeers play big-boy basketball. The team is imposing on the interior, both defending the post and scoring inside the arc. Plus, the Musketeers are one of the best rebounding teams in the nation.
Another, perhaps underrated, Musketeer trait is their diligence in the free-throw lane. Xavier is the only team nationally to rank inside the top-20 in both free-throw rate and opponent free-throw rate. That can mean a lot when it comes to covering spreads.
And predictably, Xavier has been a covering machine this season. The Musketeers are 10-4 against the spread overall, 7-2 against the spread at home, and 3-1 against the spread as an underdog. Every time a line is posted for the Musketeers, I’m looking their way.
7-footer Jack Nunge has transformed the identity of this team. The Iowa transfer is second on the team in scoring, second in rebounding, and first in blocks. He’s been solid as a post scorer and deadly as a rim protector.
— Xavier Basketball (@XavierMBB) January 8, 2022
Villanova vs. Xavier Prediction and Pick
My pick: Xavier +1.5 (-110 at BetMGM)
This number is already starting to shift to -2 at some books, so the sharps are hitting the home side and I’d grab this number quickly.
In fact, while only about 50% of the tickets are on Xavier, over 90% of the handle is. The smart money is all over the home dog.
I believe it’s the smart pick. Xavier has been the most consistent team in the conference this season, especially from an ATS standpoint, while Villanova has been as inconsistent as teams can get.
Xavier also has the size and the perimeter defense to keep up with Villanova’s perimeter-oriented offense. Meanwhile, the Musketeers will have a huge size advantage on the interior, so look for Nunge to come up big in this game.