Xavier vs. Villanova Odds, Picks, Predictions (1/7/23) NCAAB

Villanova has played more competitively after a terrible start to the season, but time is running out on the Wildcats. Kyle Neptune’s team can’t let the losses pile up early in Big East play and is under pressure to take care of business at home. Xavier is coming off a win over UConn and has one of the best offenses in the nation. Can Villanova slow down the Musketeers?

Let’s take a look at the odds and make some picks and predictions for Saturday’s matchup at Villanova.

Xavier vs. Villanova Odds

Villanova enters as a slight 2-point home favorite, sitting at -127 on the moneyline. The over/under is set at 146.5 points.

Villanova is interestingly favored in this one, a testament to how competitively they played against UConn and Marquette recently. This is also a Wildcats team that fell to Marquette at home earlier in the week, and with the way Xavier is playing right now, it feels like it’ll take an even better effort to pull out a win this time.

Xavier vs. Villanova Prediction & Pick

This line feels like it’s giving too much credit to Villanova’s home-court advantage. The Wildcats have managed wins over Oklahoma and St. John’s in front of their home fans since December, but Xavier represents a brand new challenge. The Musketeers have a massive shooting advantage, and their size gives them a decisive rebounding advantage as well.

Villanova’s defense has been pretty solid lately, so I wouldn’t expect gigantic numbers from Xavier’s offense, but it feels like there’s too much shooting ability on Sean Miller’s side for Villanova to be favored in this game. Xavier hasn’t lost since November and hasn’t lost to a team outside the top-12 at all this season.

While the Musketeers’ defense hasn’t been anything special, the offense has scored efficiently at home and on the road. Until Villanova proves it’s over the hump, Xavier +2 is the pretty clear pick for me.

Xavier vs. Villanova Key Matchups

Villanova has looked much better of late than it did early in the season, but there are still some cracks in the foundation with Justin Moore not yet ready to play. The Wildcats are still shooting just 33.7% from beyond the arc and haven’t seen much of an uptick of offense in Big East play. Villanova’s only saving grace offensively right now is the best free throw percentage in the nation. For what it’s worth, Xavier is near the middle of the pack in fouls committed.

The Wildcats aren’t a deep team, but the return (and strong play) of freshman Cam Whitmore has helped remedy that. Caleb Daniels and Eric Dixon have also played well offensively of late. The question just continues to be whether there’s enough high-end talent to compete in the Big East with Moore out. Villanova also doesn’t have much size and doesn’t rebound well as a result.

So what does Villanova do well? The defense has held up better than it did earlier in the season, holding Marquette under 70 points this week and doing enough to hang with UConn last week. Can it stop Xavier’s elite offense? The Musketeers, coming off a win over UConn, average nearly 84 points per game and shoot higher than 50% from the field. The three-point shooting has been excellent, led by breakout transfer Souley Boum who didn’t even play well in the win over the Huskies. Colby Jones and Jack Nunge have also shot well from beyond the arc.

Xavier isn’t overly reliant on the three because of Zach Freemantle’s presence in the frontcourt. The experienced forward can do a little bit of everything and was pivotal against UConn.

This Xavier team almost reminds you of past Villanova teams between its wealth of experience of three-point shooting. It’s not a deep team at all, relying heavily on its starters, but I’m not sure Villanova has the depth to take full advantage of that.

Dan is a lifelong sports fan and graduate of Boston University. He’s covered several sports on Instagram since he was 12 and now writes about everything from betting trends to breaking news for Lineups.

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