Villanova vs. Tennessee Odds, Picks and Predictions: Betting Guide to Top-20 College Basketball Duel at Mohegan Sun

Villanova vs. Tennessee Odds, Picks and Predictions: Betting Guide to Top-20 College Basketball Duel at Mohegan Sun article feature image
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Villanova vs. Tennessee Odds

Saturday, November 20
1 p.m. ET
ESPNEWS
Villanova Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-1.5
-115
140
-105o / -115u
-131
Tennessee Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+1.5
-105
140
-105o / -115u
+110
Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Villanova played in the early-season favorite for “Game of the Year” last week at UCLA. The Wildcats were the better team for the first 30 minutes and faded late before losing in overtime to the No. 2 ranked Bruins.

The Wildcats challenging non-conference schedule continues at the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. Jay Wright’s squad will match up with Tennessee in the opening round.

The other two teams in waiting are North Carolina and Purdue, making it four teams with aspirations of making deep runs into March.

Villanova and Tennessee haven’t met since the Battle 4 Atlantis in 2017, but it’s a chance for both teams to notch their first marquee, quadrant one victory of the season.


Villanova Wildcats

Villanova returns most of its team from last season’s Sweet 16 and Big East title roster.

Point guard Collin Gillespie is back from a knee injury that ended last season prematurely, and he’s shined so far. In his fifth year as a main rotation player and fourth season as a starter for Wright, Gillespie is as experienced as anyone in the country.

Justin Moore, Jermaine Samuels and Brandon Slater are all back with the program and all fit the classic Villanova 3-and-D mold of athletic shooters who can score at all levels and defend the perimeter well.

The loss of Jeremiah Robinson-Earl opened the door for Eric Dixon to slot into the center position. He’s more than capable of stepping out and hitting jump shots as the Wildcats go 5-out sometimes and stretch opponents across the floor.

The No. 1 issue for the Wildcats early in the season has already been exposed: depth. Villanova lost Cole Swider to the transfer portal and only had six players play meaningful minutes at UCLA last Saturday.

Caleb Daniels played 34 minutes off the bench, so Nova essentially has six guys playing starters minutes. Chris Arcidiacono played seven minutes off the bench in that game.

By the end of the outing vs. UCLA, the Wildcats looked mighty tired and had a lot of shots clank off the front of the rim. A 10-point lead evaporated and the Wildcats — typically used to having depth — ran out of gas in overtime.

Villanova does have plenty of shooting, as the Wildcats rank fourth in the country in 3-point percentage at 48.8%. But that’s going to regress at some point and the Wildcats don’t have the bodies to run with Tennessee. They’ll likely look to slow it down even more than usual.

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Tennessee Volunteers

The Volunteers are flying under the radar early in the season by virtue of an early 2021 NCAA Tournament exit and a few blowout wins against bad opposition.

The Vols steamrolled Tennessee Martin and East Tennessee State by 25+ points each, but will finally be tested on Saturday and Sunday in the Connecticut mini-tournament.

Unlike the Wildcats, who are experienced and have a thin bench, the Volunteers are young and deep. Tennessee ranks 30th in bench minutes and 290th in experience.

So far, it’s been the Kennedy Chandler show. The freshman point guard from Memphis is shooting 69% from the field and averaging 18 points per game. He’s made all but one of his attempted 3s and he’s joined in the backcourt by experienced shooting guard Victor Bailey Jr.

The youth of Chandler and experience of Bailey Jr. are a formidable duo and they partner well with big man Olivier Nkamhoua in the middle. He’s in his third year with the program and will be a difficult matchup for Dixon on the interior.


Villanova vs. Tennessee Betting Pick

As impressive as Chandler has been in his two games for the Vols, he’s in for a reality check and has some regression coming. He’ll face a much tougher defense and Wright will constantly throw different looks at him to make it difficult for him in his first big collegiate game.

The Wildcats are as experienced and as well-coached as any team in the country. While the defense has some holes that could be exposed later on this season, Tennessee’s offense isn’t as good as KenPom suggests, or as good as it has looked thus far through two games.

Shooting regression is coming for both offenses here, but Villanova can grind this game to a halt and force Tennessee to execute in the half court. I’m not convinced the Vols will be able to do that as consistently as Villanova will.

You’re getting a cheaper line on Villanova here because of how it collapsed at UCLA last week, but the Bruins have been late-game miracle workers for more than a year now. Villanova will learn from that collapse — as well-coached teams do.

The Wildcats can use multiple players in the post to run the offense out of. At a neutral site, Villanova is solidly the better team and should win by more than a possession in the end.

And if it comes down to free throws late with the Wildcats leading, Villanova has a decided edge from the charity stripe. I’m trusting the better coach, the more experienced roster and the veteran point guard in Gillespie in this spot.

Pick: Villanova -2.5 (-3 or better)

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