College Basketball Picks: Rutgers vs. Villanova

Jeff Grant

Monday, February 18, 2013 3:18 PM GMT

Monday, Feb. 18, 2013 3:18 PM GMT

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights will play the rest of the 2012-13 season without their leading scorer, as they prepare to take on the Villanova Wildcats at The Pavilion on Monday night.


Let’s take a closer look at the betting total for this Big East Conference matchup, with the opening tip scheduled for 9:00 p.m. ET on ESPNU.

Read our Free NCAA Basketball Picks of the Day article for another take on this matchup as well as others.

Fallen on hard times 

Rutgers has lost and failed to cover the spread in eight of its last 10 games, including a 75-69 setback to the DePaul Blue Demons as 1.5-point road underdogs last Saturday, while going UNDER the total for the eighth time in that span.

The Scarlet Knights will be without the services of guard Eli Carter, who suffered a season-ending leg injury last time out.  The sophomore had played in all 24 games (18 starts)—averaging 14.9 points on 38.4 percent shooting from the field. 

Dominating the glass 

Villanova earned a 70-61 win over the Connecticut Huskies as 4.5-point road underdogs last time out, as it finished with a 41-25 rebounding edge, while tallying a season-high 20 offensive boards. 

The Wildcats have out-rebounded 10 of 13 Big East opponents this year—success that will likely continue due to the Scarlet Knights owning a slim 30.8-to-29.6 edge in that category for the entire 2012-13 NCAA basketball season. 

Series history

The OVER has cashed in 10 of the last 11 meetings in this series, which is hard to ignore when looking over the college basketball odds page, especially since the last game fell below the number in special circumstances.

Villanova came away with a 70-49 victory as two-point favorites in last year’s conference tournament, but that game was played just five days after the two sides closed out their regular season schedule against each other. 

Beyond the arc

The Scarlet Knights are averaging just 14.2 attempts from the 3-point area this season, but I believe they’ll look for more perimeter scoring in this affair, considering the Wildcats are allowing conference foes to shoot 35.7 percent from beyond the arc.

Guards Myles Mack and Jerome Seagears should definitely have success on the offensive end in this matchup, as both are shooting north of 40 percent in this particular offensive category.

[gameodds]14/221258/43/us[/gameodds]

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers play the total as one of their sports picks Monday night, as the Wildcats have gone OVER the number in six of their last seven home games with the total being between 130 and 134.5.  Villanova has also allowed its last five opponents to shoot 39.4 percent collectively from beyond the arc.

College Basketball Pick:  Over 130 at Bookmaker

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