Having already sewn up the Big East regular season crown, the Villanova Wildcats prepare for their final college basketball odds road game of the season Tuesday night at the Creighton Bluejays.
The regular season Big East title is already in the bag for the Villanova Wildcats, a nice luxury to have for head coach Jay Wright and his staff. Despite that luxury, we shouldn't expect the Wildcats to take it easy this week against their final two opponents on the conference slate.
That's because Villanova still has plenty to play for well beyond any regular season hardware. The Wildcats are up to No. 4 in both of the latest polls, and suddenly smack-dab in the middle of a the discussion for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.
They'll play their final road game of the campaign Tuesday in Omaha against the Creighton Bluejays, FOX Sports 1 televising the affair starting at 9:15 PM (ET). The first number to go out on the NCAA basketball odds was Villanova -8½ before quickly adjusting to -10, a few shops even listing 10½ on game day.
'Nova Looks For Payback Season Sweep Of 'Jays
Now in their second season competing as conference rivals, we could see a second consecutive sweep in the series...only this time for Villanova. Creighton swept last year's matchups in resounding fashion, topping the Wildcats by at least 21 in both while averaging more than 98 points in the games to send both battles well 'over' the totals.
As it turns out, those are Creighton's only two wins vs. Villanova who holds a 6-2 lead in the overall series after scoring a 71-50 victory against the Bluejays in Philadelphia about five weeks ago. The Wildcats zoomed to a 15-0 start while limiting Creighton to only 14 points in the first half, and the game never really had a chance to reach a closing 135½ point total after that.
The teams enter this one with conflicting trends on the NCAA basketball odds as 'Nova has seen its last three jump the totals while Creighton's last three all failed to reach the mark.
Spread The Wealth Working Well For 'Cats
That victory over Creighton began a 10-game win streak for Villanova (27-2 straight up, 20-7-1 against the spread), each dubya on the floor also a payday for Wildcat backers. Only two teams -- Davidson (+13.5 units) and Bowling Green (+12.5) -- have provided college basketball bettors with a bigger return than Villanova (+12.3).
A steady offense has been the key for the Wildcats who lead the Big East in scoring (74/9 ppg), field goal percentage (45.8%) and 3-point shooting (41.2%). And Villanova is doing that with only one player among the top 20 in the conference in the points column. Darrun Hilliard leads the Wildcats averaging 14.4 PPG, five others scoring at least 8.9 a night.
Tough Rebuilding Year For Bluejays
Creighton (13-16 SU, 12-14-1 ATS) is currently on a 4-4 run alternating wins and losses, which may not sound impressive to man but is far more palatable to head coach Greg McDermott after losing nine straight. The good news for college hoops bettors is the Blue Jays have gone 5-2-1 in the eight games since being blown out by Villanova in January.
It certainly didn't help losing sophomore guard Isaiah Zierden to a season-ending knee injury just before facing the Wildcats. Still, the Bluejays were having to replace a lot of offense from last year's squad, and nobody has really stepped up to do that.
Betting against a streak is not my general M.O., and I don't see any reason to buck that in this one. Let's go with the Wildcats as our college basketball pick to keep the good times rolling.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Villanova -10 at 5Dimes