Seton Hall is 13-4 against-the-spread this season, but it's lost four games in a row to Butler. The Pirates will try to slay that streak when they visit the Bulldogs Sunday afternoon.
Pirates-Bulldogs Betting Odds
Most NCAA basketball odds we checked with opened this game with Butler favored by -6.5 points, the total offered at right around 127, and both those numbers were holding steady in the early betting.
Those who like Seton Hall to win this game outright could get +255 on the moneyline at 5Dimes.
Butler returned four starters this season from a team that went 14-17 last season, but a return to the NCAA tournament seemed iffy. However, if the tournament started today the Bulldogs might make it.
Butler started 10-3 this season, with wins over North Carolina and Georgetown, the losses coming against Oklahoma, Tennessee and Indiana. The Bulldogs have since alternated wins and losses almost perfectly in conference play, losing at Villanova, winning at St. John's, losing to Providence, beating Xavier and Seton Hall, losing at Georgetown and, last time out, Wednesday night, beating Creighton 64-61.
The Bulldogs only shot 34 percent from the floor Wednesday night, but only turned the ball over nine times, while getting 19 turnovers from the Bluejays.
Seton Hall, meanwhile, returned two starters this season from a team that went 17-17 last season. The Pirates' chances of going back the Big Dance for the first time in eight seasons also seemed very iffy.
Seton Hall started 10-2 this season, beating nobody of any particular note, losing to Wichita State and Georgia. The Pirates then won their first two Big East games, over St. John's and Villanova, both as underdogs on the betting line. The Hall then lost at Xavier, won at Creighton, again as an underdog. But the Pirates have dropped their last two games, 12 days ago at home in overtime to this Butler team, and last time out, Thursday night, at home to DePaul 64-60, going down outright as a nine-point favorite.
The Pirates shot just 30 percent from the floor Thursday, and made one of 16 shots from beyond the arc. They led by eight points with about five minutes to go, but pissed it away.
Big-picture, Butler is 4-3 in the Big East, Seton Hall 3-3, both chasing league-leading Georgetown at 6-2.
Pirates-Bulldogs Recent History
Butler took the first meeting between these teams this season, 12 days ago, winning at Seton Hall 79-75 in overtime as a two-point underdog. The Bulldogs led by seven with about three minutes to go, blew that lead, but won in the extra time.
Butler only shot 42 percent from the floor that night, but held the Pirates to 39 percent shooting. However, even as the teams combined to shoot just 41 percent from the floor, that game played OVER its total of 128 in regulation.
Last year Butler took two of three games from the Hall, and covered all three.
Pirates-Bulldogs Key Stats
Seton Hall is shooting just 43 percent from the floor this season, 35 percent from long range and just 65 percent from the FT line. On D the Pirates are holding opponents to just under 40 percent shooting.
Butler is shooting 44 percent from the floor, 34 percent from 3-point land and 67 percent from the line, while holding foes to 41 percent FG shooting.
Totals Betting Trends
Butler is 7-10 on the OVER/UNDERS this season, as Bulldogs games have averaged 131 points.
Seton Hall is 7-9 on the totals, as Pirates games have averaged 133 points.
Seton Hall G Isaiah Whitehead, who's averaging 12 points per game, has missed the last month with a sore foot, and will miss this game.
Pirates-Bulldogs Free Pick
Butler owns the recent rivalry with Seton Hall, but these teams are closer than this spread. This looks like a case in which the home team is just favored by a little too much. Also, the Pirates blew a game last time out; we expect a bounce-back effort. We'll go with the underdog as our NCAA basketball pick, plus the points.
Free College Basketball Pick: Seton Hall +6.5 at 5Dimes