Bet Pennsylvania +25.5 Our NCAA Basketball Pick Against Villanova

Willie Bee

Monday, December 28, 2015 12:11 PM UTC

Monday, Dec. 28, 2015 12:11 PM UTC

A Big 5 matchup is part of Monday's NCAA basketball odds as the Villanova Wildcats host the Pennsylvania Quakers who are huge underdogs on the road.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Penn +25½ 
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker


Within every college basketball hoops campaign, there are three seasons. The non-conference schedule tips it all off, including some of the early-season tournaments like the 2K Classic Benefitting The Wounded Warrior Project and Maui Invitational. Next comes the conference schedule for all 351 teams and, finally, March Madness that begins with league tourneys and continues through the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.

Five teams in and around the City of Brotherly Love get to play a fourth fixture each season, and two of them are matched up Monday night in Big 5 action. The Pennsylvania Quakers and Villanova Wildcats square off at 7 PM (ET) from The Pavilion on Philadelphia's northwest side, and the NCAA basketball odds are very one-sided with the home team giving up 25½. Bookmaker was among the first sports books to post a total for the contest, that number currently sitting at 132.

This season marks the 61st in Big 5 history to decide the Philly collegiate champion, and Monday marks the third game for both Penn and 'Nova in this year's series. The Quakers are 1-1 so far with a loss to Temple and win over La Salle; they'll complete their Big 5 play in a few weeks when Saint Joseph's visits Palestra. The Wildcats are 2-0 with victories vs. La Salle and Saint Joseph's, and will not finish off their Big 5 slate until a Big East road trip to Temple in mid-February.

Villanova is looking for its third consecutive clean-sweep in the series, and has won or tied for the city crown seven of the last 10 years. The Wildcats have also beaten Penn 12 straight times for a commanding 44-18 advantage in this rivalry. They've covered six of the last nine, four of those with double-digit spreads, and the last three meetings never reached the totals which ranged from 133½-148½.


Quakers 1-4 On The Road This Season
Steve Donahue's first season as head coach at Pennsylvania (5-6 straight up, 3-2 against the spread) didn't exactly get off to a good start when guard Tony Hicks announced he was leaving the team in October. Hicks, the team's leading scorer the past two seasons, is finishing his degree at Penn and will then transfer.

The Quakers haven't missed Hicks on the offensive end of the court, the team scoring about eight more points per game than a year ago. Four players, led by senior center Darien Nelson-Henry's 13.3 PPG, are averaging double figures per game, and Nelson-Henry also tops the team on the glass (9.4 rpg).

That extra offense hasn't helped much, however, thanks to the Quakers allowing more than 70 points a game. Perimeter defense has been especially weak without Hicks on the floor.


'Nova Has Big East Opener On Deck
In a lose one, win one rut the past few weeks, Jay Wright and Villanova (9-2 SU, 7-3 ATS) hope to snap that trend Monday before hosting the No. 6 Xavier Musketeers this Thursday, a game we'll also be previewing for SBR. The Wildcats fell 86-75 at Virginia about 10 days ago, defense also failing them that game, but managed to bounce back from defeat with an easy 78-48 win over Delaware last Tuesday as 25 point favorites.

The win over the Blue Hens was bittersweet since forward Kris Jenkins had to leave early due to an injured right knee. An MRI taken over the weekend revealed it was just a sprain, and the junior is doubtful for tonight's game.

Villanova had to dig out of an early 10-point deficit against Delaware, doing so with sound defense and some sniping from beyond the arc. Freshman Jalen Brunson is beginning to heat up from 3-point range, connecting on eight of his last 16 attempts, and he could be the biggest factor in covering this large spread tonight. I'm going to take the points, however for my free NCAA basketball pick.

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