College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for Providence vs. Northwestern: Value on Total at Legends Classic
Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images. Pictured: Nate Watson
- Providence faces off against Northwestern in the first round of the Legends Classic.
- The Friars won on the road at Wisconsin and will look to continue their success against the Big Ten.
- Kyle Remillard breaks down the game and offers up his best bet.
Providence vs. Northwestern Odds
-120o / +100u
-120o / +100u
Providence and Northwestern meet in the Legends Classic at the Prudential Center in New Jersey on Monday night.
Northwestern opened last season 6-1 and was one play away from starting undefeated before losing 71-70 against Pittsburgh. The Wildcats followed that stretch by losing 13 straight Big Ten matchups before finishing the season 9-15 overall.
The Wildcats are following a similar trend so far this season, as they have started out undefeated through four games. The best opponent they’ve faced is 264th-ranked High Point, though. The Wildcats have taken care of their opponents, winning by an average margin of 28 points.
They match up against the Providence Friars in what will be Northwestern’s first real test of the season. Providence finished last season 13-13 and was never able to get on a win streak, consistently trading wins for losses.
Ed Cooley’s squad is also undefeated through four games, but the Friars have a victory over a Big Ten opponent when they beat Wisconsin 63-58.
Both teams thrive on the defensive end of the court while playing at a slow pace offensively. That means there is value from a betting perspective between these two teams.
The Providence Friars move on with life without David Duke Jr., who is currently playing with the Brooklyn Nets. The Friars will miss Duke’s production, as he averaged 16.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game last season.
Ed Cooley is thankful for the extra year of eligibility for seniors as he returns Nate Watson, Noah Horchler and brings in Al Durham from Indiana.
Watson is six-foot-10 and averaged 16.9 points and 6.7 assists per game last season. He’s the offensive focal point for Providence as he bullies’ defenders in the post.
Providence wasn’t a great shooting team last year (with Duke), ranking outside the top 250 in effective field goal and 3-point percentage. The outside shooting hasn’t seen improvement this year, as the team is hitting 33% from 3 through four games.
The Friars have dominated inside the paint, though, as they are shooting 61.5% on 2-point attempts, which ranks 14th in the nation. Part of that is attributed to playing three teams that rank outside the top 200 in the nation.
One thing that is certain for Providence year in and year out is the defensive intensity under Cooley. The Friars own a top-80 defensive efficiency rating, according to KenPom.
The group plays at the 246th “fastest” tempo in the nation and makes teams use an average of 19 seconds off the shot clock, which is the 339th-slowest in the country.
The Friars have one of the most experienced starting lineups in college basketball, as the unit has combined to play in 481 games.
Northwestern has looked like a force through four games, but that is because the opponents it has played have an average KenPom rating of 312th.
Pete Nance, the undisputed leader for the Wildcats, is averaging 18 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. The six-foot-10 center is the rim protector that will have a battle with Watson in this matchup.
The Wildcats’ strength last season was keeping opponents away from the rim, as they finished inside the top 40 in field goal attempts at the bucket, per Hoop-Math. Chris Collins’ squad currently owns a ranking of 42 in defensive efficiency and has consistently forced opponents into tough shots.
Northwestern has turned the ball over on just 12.9% of its possessions this season, which ranks 10th in the country. The unit ranks fourth in the nation in assists to field goals made, as it has assisted on 42 of its 81 field goals this season.
Northwestern has had a cupcake schedule, but that’s about to change starting on Monday night.
Providence vs. Northwestern Betting Pick
This matchup is going to follow the blueprint of Providence vs. Wisconsin from last week. The defensive pressure will be elite from both sides and the offenses are going to be forced into tough shots deep in the shot clock.
Providence ranks 246th in the nation in tempo, while it forces opponents to use an average of 19 seconds off the shot clock. Northwestern sits at 235th in terms of tempo and 254th in making opponents utilize the shot clock.
Watson is going to battle with Nance on the low block all game. Providence doesn’t have many shooting options from outside and points are going to be at a premium in this slow-paced matchup.
This game should be played in the low 60s and the defenses will prove to be dominant over the opposing offenses.