Realignment continues to create some intriguing matchups on the college basketball betting slate. But every once in a while, it's nice to see a good ol' clash between longtime conference rivals.
That's what we have Monday night when the Villanova Wildcats head to Georgetown to take on the Hoyas in a Big East battle. Verizon Center is the spot and FOX Sports 1 will provide the telecast starting at 9 PM (ET).
Backing the 'Cats means laying 5 to 5.5 points according to SBR's live college basketball odds. Oddsmakers still aren't confident enough to release an overnight total, but I'm working off 140 for the scoreboard hurdle.
Last season's lone matchup went to 'Nova by a 67-57 count in a mild upset. Georgetown was ranked No. 5 when the clubs met at the end of the regular season, and favored by a point in the contest.
The Hoyas were one of three top 5 teams the Wildcats beat at home during the 2012-13 campaign, and Villanova's victory stopped a string of three straight wins and covers in the series for Georgetown who owns the all-time lead, 42-29. That 124-point final just skipped 'over' the total, but the 'under' has been a winner in seven of the 11 previous clashes.
'Cats Bounce Back From Blowout Loss To Creighton
Villanova (17-2 straight up, 13-4 against the spread) sits just a half-game behind Creighton in the Big East standings, but you wouldn't think the two teams were close at all after the Bluejays walloped the Wildcats on their floor last Monday. Creighton blew past 'Nova, 96-68, on the strength of 21 3-pointers in a game the Wildcats were giving up 6.5 points.
Jay Wright's group then hit the road on Saturday for the first of three straight contests away from home, and snapped Marquette's string of 20 consecutive conference home wins with a 94-85 overtime decision. Villanova was up by 11 with just over five minutes to go before the Golden Eagles rallied to force the extra five minutes.
The victory left the Wildcats a perfect 4-0 on the road so far in Big East play, two of those triumphs requiring overtime. The only conference game away from home they failed to cover was at Butler where 'Nova escaped with a 3-point win in OT, just short of the 3.5 point spread.
Hoyas Mired In 4-Game Skid
Georgetown (11-8 SU, 7-11 ATS) is returning home following a 76-63 defeat at Creighton this past Saturday. The setback marked the fourth consecutive loss for John Thompson III and the Hoyas, and they just missed the cover as 12-point underdogs to extend their ATS skid to four as well.
The good news is the Hoyas are 8-2 at home, but the bad news is the two losses occurred the last two times they hit the Verizon Center floor vs. Seton Hall and Marquette. Georgetown is now being asked to bring that to an end against the likes of Villanova on Monday before taking on Michigan State at Madison Square Garden this Saturday.
Georgetown's five losses in the last six games coincide with the suspension of center Joshua Smith due to academics. The 6-10 transfer from UCLA was the team's 3rd-leading scorer (11.5 ppg) at the time of his suspension, and Thompson has had to turn to Moses Ayegba to try and fill the middle with more minutes.
I mentioned the 'under' trend in this series the last 6-7 years, but it's difficult not to notice Villanova's string of nine straight 'over' winners. Going high on the total is tempting, but I'll side with the Wildcats minus the points instead for my free college basketball pick.My pick: Villanova -5