Wednesday’s College Basketball Betting Previews: Temple-Villanova, TCU-SMU

Wednesday’s College Basketball Betting Previews: Temple-Villanova, TCU-SMU article feature image
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USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Collin Gillespie and Desmond Bane

We’ve been gifted with another enticing college basketball slate Wednesday evening, with nine top-25 teams taking the court.

No. 21 Villanova, which has won 23 straight Big 5 games against Philadelphia-based teams, faces Temple. Then TCU battles SMU — its own in-state foe.

Which sides present the most value? Let’s break down each contest.

Temple Owls at Villanova Wildcats

  • Odds: Villanova -10
  • Total: 140
  • Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: Fox Sports 1

The Wildcats (4-4 against the spread) were in a wire-to-wire duel with La Salle in their last game, pulling away late in the second half for a 85-78 win. Luckily for Villanova, the Explorers aren’t known for generating havoc in the passing lanes. The same can’t be said for the Owls (3-4-1 ATS).

Temple, which has covered its past three games, owns the 38th-best opponents’ Turnover Rate (22.6%). It’s been aided by the Owls’ 13.4 Steal Percentage — the highest in college basketball. Villanova sits at No. 251 overall in Turnover Rate (20.8%), an area its primary ball handler Collin Gillespie has struggled with.

I’m expecting the 6-foot-8 Quentin Rose (4.1% Steal Rate) and 6-foot-4 Nate Pierre-Louis (3.9% Steal Percentage) to pressure the ball to help keep this a single-digit contest.

The Owls also have a slight size advantage on the Wildcats, giving way for their 22.2 opponents’ Offensive Rebounding Percentage (15th-lowest in Division I) to neutralize Villanova’s 38.4% Offensive Rebounding Rate (14th-highest in DI).

Temple is 6-4 ATS in the past three regular seasons while at least a 10-point underdog, per our Bet Labs data. Expect Fran Dunphy’s crew, led by Rose (17.1 ppg), to continue that trend.

The total has already seen a 2-point rise, and I’m still in favor of it with both teams presenting fairly efficient offenses.

THE PICKS: Owls +10; Over 140.5

TCU at SMU

  • Odds: TCU -1.5
  • Total: 145.5
  • Time: 10 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPNU

The Horned Frogs (2-4 ATS) responded to a 73-64 loss to Lipscomb with back-to-back dominating offensive performances, combing to average 1.25 Points Per Possession against Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan.

On the flip side, the Mustangs (3-6 ATS) have struggled to defend, yielding a 54.1 opponents’ Effective Field Goal Percentage. TCU should be able to take advantage with its 58.1 eFG% (No. 8 in DI), guided by junior Desmond Bane (16.3 ppg). The 6-foot-5, 215-pound wing has begun to rediscover his 3-point stroke, paving the way for an impressive showing against the 40th-worst perimeter defense in the country.

SMU has been sound at that end of the floor, paced by the 32nd-highest Adjusted Offensive Efficiency (111.5 points per 100 possessions). The return of the 6-foot-0 Jarrey Foster (knee) has assisted its attack, yet Bane’s athleticism should get the best of him with the Horned Frogs’ much-improved defense winning out, as well.

Jamie Dixon’s group has tormented opponents thus far, allowing the 19th-lowest eFG% (43.7%) in the nation.

TCU also ranks No. 56 in opponents’ Offensive Rebounding Rate (24.8%), and its size advantage should limit SMU’s success (38.0%) in that department.

The Horned Frogs are 21-19 ATS (52.5%) when favored by at least 1.5 points amid Dixon’s two-plus regular seasons with the program, and it’s 15-4 ATS in its past 19 games against SMU. Side with the road team once again.

THE PICKS: TCU -1.5; Under 146

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