Villanova-Xavier Betting Preview: Which Situational Spot is Worth Pursuing?

Villanova-Xavier Betting Preview: Which Situational Spot is Worth Pursuing? article feature image

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Villanova Wildcats guard Phil Booth (5), Xavier Musketeers guard Quentin Goodin (3).

Just three ranked teams are in action on Sunday, which includes No. 10 Michigan State at No. 7 Michigan.

The other one will suit up in Cincinnati, as No. 17 Villanova faces unranked Xavier after consecutive losses — both outright and ATS.

With the Wildcats’ recent slide, they’ve dipped to a No. 6 seed for the NCAA tournament on Bracket Matrix’s projections. A road victory would hand them 14 wins of the quadrant one or two variety, which would aid their chances of moving up the ranks.

Meanwhile, the Musketeers (14-13, 6-8) could use every possible win to have any chance at scratching a ticket into March Madness. So where’s the value in this meaningful Big East clash?

Let’s break it down.

>> All odds as of Saturday night. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NCAAB odds and win probabilities on your bets.

Villanova Wildcats at Xavier Musketeers Betting Odds

  • Spread: Villanova -6
  • Over/Under: 137
  • Time: 1:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: CBS

The Musketeers (10-16-1 ATS) have covered in three straight affairs, including two on the road, and they were straight-up wins as well. The most difficult part of assessing a matchup like this one is deciding whether to value the Wildcats’ bounce-back opportunity or Xavier’s revenge-game spot more.

In their last meeting on Jan. 18, Villanova notched a 10-point win while just hanging on for the cover (-9.5). Jay Wright’s unit shot a scorching 44.1% from behind the arc, too, but its perimeter offense has been a different story over its past two losses, combining to average a 27.4% 3-point clip.

Although the Wildcats could certainly improve on that percentage, Travis Steele’s unit has let up a mere 29.1% perimeter clip during their winning streak. Opponents have amassed an average 3-point scoring rate (33.7%) vs. the Musketeers, too, so it’s not as if their defense has been dreadful before their slight  turnaround.

Villanova’s offensive concerns have affected its play at the other end, letting up 1.11 points per points per possession amid its skid. One of its deficiencies comes inside the arc,  with opponents producing an above-average 50.4% 2-point scoring rate.

Guided by the 6-foot-9 Tyrique Jones, who’s averaged 16.3 points per game during their run, Xavier owns the 67th-highest scoring percentage (53.4%) from inside the arc. He notched a 21-point, 12-rebound performance in their last matchup.

Expect the Steele’s squad to dominate the paint, along with the glass (64th-highest offensive rebounding per), limiting the Wildcats’ transition 3-pointers.

If you’re interested in the total, the over is 4-3 in the Musketeers’ seven conference homes games. Nevertheless, I’d lean towards the under with Jay Wright’s bunch struggling to find its offense against an improving defense.

According to our Bet Labs data, Xavier has been a home underdog just 16 times since the 2012-13 campaign. Grab the points in this go-around, with Villanova in a letdown spot before facing Marquette on Wednesday.

THE PICK: Musketeers +6