Wednesday Big East Tournament Betting Odds, Pick: How to Bet Xavier vs. DePaul Spread
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: Paul Scruggs and D.J. Williams
- Updated betting odds for Wednesday's DePaul vs. Xavier Big East Tournament matchup have the Musketeers listed as 6.5-point favorites with an over/under of 133.
- Xavier used the three-ball to win both games against DePaul during the regular season by an average of 9.5 points per game.
- Does that mean Xavier is worth a bet to cover tonight at -6.5? Check out our betting guide and pick below.
The Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden is a college basketball staple. It gets underway tonight as the bottom four teams in the conference kick off the tournament with a doubleheader.
For most of the four teams, there is little to nothing to play for. However, the Xavier Musketeers are likely playing for their NCAA Tournament lives as they can ill afford a loss to lowly DePaul. Bracketologists have Xavier currently anywhere from a No. 11 seed to one of the First Four Out. Thus, it would behoove the Musketeers to win as many games in the Big East Tournament as possible, starting on Wednesday night against the Blue Demons.
Wednesday College Basketball Odds & Picks
Xavier vs. DePaul
- Spread: Xavier -6.5
- Over/Under: 134.5
- Time: 9:30 p.m. ET
- TV: Fox Sports 1
Xavier (19-12) ended the season on a poor note, losing three of its last five games. The regular-season finale against Butler was an especially excruciating loss, as Bulldogs guard Kamar Baldwin hit the game-winning 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds left. That shot was the difference between Xavier having to play in the opening round of the Big East Tournament on Wednesday night as opposed to having a bye to the quarterfinals.
DePaul (15-16) did not resemble anything like a team that would finish in the basement of the Big East after starting the year 12-1. That stretch included big wins over Iowa and Minnesota on the road, as well as a home victory over Texas Tech. However, DePaul lost 15 of its last 18 games and often looked like a disinterested basketball team.
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Musketeers coach Travis Steele should not have trouble getting his team motivated to play a game that could determine its NCAA Tournament fate. Should Xavier advance, No. 2 seed Villanova awaits in the quarterfinals.
Xavier is an outstanding defensive basketball team, ranking 17th in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency per KenPom. Its biggest strength offensively is its ability to rebound its own missed shots. The Musketeers rank second in the conference, rebounding 32.4% of their missed shots.
The Musketeers have been without third-leading scorer Paul Scruggs for the last two games as he continues to nurse a hamstring injury. His remains listed as day-to-day and his status for Wednesday night is up in the air.
Without Scruggs, Xavier really misses another ball-handler who can take the pressure off backup point guard Quentin Goodin. Freshman guard Kyky Tandy is more of a spot-up shooter than someone who can consistently create his own shot. In the two games without Scruggs (both losses), the Musketeers committed a combined 27 turnovers.
DePaul will be coming into this game looking to attack. It ranks 15th in the country in average length of possession. The Blue Demons force opponents into turnovers on 20.5% of their possessions, good for second-most in the Big East. That could spell trouble for a Xavier team with one true point guard if Paul Scruggs cannot play.
Xavier won the two regular season meetings between these teams by an average of 9.5 points per game. The Musketeers shot the lights out from three-point range in both contests, going a combined 20-50 (40%) from long distance.
Look for DePaul to turn this game into a frantic pace while running Xavier off the 3-point line. If Scruggs does not play, DePaul should be able to speed up Goodin and company and force them into bad decisions.
History is not on the side of the Blue Demons. They are 1-8 in their last nine opening round games of the Big East tournament, suggesting they do not always play with the utmost urgency. However, Xavier has a lot more to lose than DePaul has to gain.
With its bubble hopes on the line, I expect Xavier to play tighter than normal while DePaul's defense creates havoc. The public will be backing the Musketeers in droves knowing how much is at stake for them and how bad DePaul is.
However, in a possible look-ahead spot to Villanova, the contrarian play of DePaul getting 6.5 points is the right side.
Pick: DePaul +6.5