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