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College Basketball Odds & Picks for Butler vs. Villanova: How to Live Bet This Big East Battle

College Basketball Odds & Picks for Butler vs. Villanova: How to Live Bet This Big East Battle article feature image

Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Jay Wright

  • Villanova is 12.5-point favorites over Butler in Wednesday night's Big East battle.
  • Wildcat head coach Jay Wright has done another great job with his team, but the Bulldogs will have to play defense to keep it close.
  • Roberto Arguello discusses why live-bettors should pay attention to rebounding to find value in this showdown.

Butler vs. Villanova Odds

Butler Odds +12.5 [BET NOW]
Villanova Odds -12.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +700/-1100 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 133.5 [BET NOW]
Time Wednesday, 7 p.m. ET
TV Fox Sports 1
Odds as of Wednesday afternoon and via BetMGM. Get an INSTANT $500 deposit match at BetMGM today.

The Butler Bulldogs (1-0) face the No. 7 Villanova Wildcats (5-1) in an early Big East battle in Philadelphia at 7 p.m. ET Wednesday. 

The Bulldogs have played just one game — a 66-62 win over Western Michigan — heading into their Big East opener, while the Wildcats are finding their form after some challenging non-conference matchups.

Villanova has played five of its six games against teams in KenPom’s top 100, with its most impressive win coming 10 days ago over Texas, 68-64. 

While the Bulldogs are a team that won’t beat itself, the Wildcats are in rhythm and should pull away to win comfortably at home.

Butler Bulldogs

While Butler doesn’t have much of a sample size to draw conclusions from, the Bulldogs figure to have some similar strengths as recent Butler teams: limiting turnovers, not allowing second-chance points and playing great defense. 

The Bulldogs have finished in the top 50 in lowest turnover percentage in college basketball in five of the last six seasons, and they rank first in the country in turnover percentage after their lone game this year.

The Bulldogs have also done a nice job historically of limiting opposing offensive rebounds, and they also rank first in the nation in opponent rebound percentage after allowing Western Michigan just a single offensive board.

The Butler defense has also finished as one of KenPom’s top-50 most efficient defenses in seven of the last 10 seasons, and the Bulldogs rank 57th in adjusted defensive efficiency after one game this year.

Butler lost 62.9% of its scoring from last year, including its two double-digit scorers on Kamar Baldwin (16.2 points per game) and Sean McDermott (11.2 ppg). The Bulldogs rank 226th in minutes continuity from last year, but senior point guard Aaron Thompson has stepped his game up to try and make up for their absence on offense. 

Thompson was second in the Big East in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.5) and fourth in assists per game (4.7) last year. In Butler’s opener, Thompson scored 21 points while going 6-for-9 from the field with two rebounds, two steals, four assists and just one turnover.

Thompson’s 143.1 offensive rating ranks 51st out of 2,024 players eligible nationally. Thompson is also an elite defender, as he was named one of 10 semifinalists for last year’s Naismith Men’s Defensive Player of the Year Award. If Butler covers or wins against Villanova, it will need a good — or great — game from Thompson. 

Butler’s supporting cast also needs to be efficient to pull off the upset. Butler also found 15 points and nine rebounds in its previous game from South Carolina graduate transfer guard Jair Bolden, who set a career-high for rebounds in his 98th college game.

Bryce Nze, a preseason All-Big East second-team member, is the Bulldogs’ leading returning scorer (9.2 points per game). He also led the team with 6.6 rebounds per game (sixth in the Big East) in 2019-20.

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Villanova Wildcats

Villanova should beat Butler at home, but the Wildcats will need to win on the boards if they hope to cover the 11.5-point spread. 

Villanova is 4-0 when it wins the rebounding battle. But its lone loss came in a game in which it was out-rebounded by Virginia Tech.

The Hokies had a perfect storm performance when they out-rebounded Villanova, but they also went 10-for-20 from beyond the arc. Rebounding will be key against a stingy Butler defense that doesn’t allow many easy buckets historically. 

Villanova has been elite offensively and great all-around, as it sits third in KenPom’s rankings. Villanova ranks fourth in adjusted offensive efficiency, and the Wildcat defense has been solid, sitting 27th in adjusted defensive efficiency.

The Wildcats are an experienced squad who return almost everyone except first-round NBA Draft pick Saddiq Bey. Jay Wright’s squad ranks sixth in minutes continuity. 

Villanova has been elite offensively because of its talent, depth and great coaching. Senior guard Collin Gillespie (15.2 points per game) and sophomore forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (15.0) lead the team in scoring, but the Wildcats have six players who average more than 6.5 points per game.

Villanova doesn’t turn the ball over, and it creates extra shots for efficient shooting offense with Robinson-Earl and senior forward Jermaine Samuels on the boards. Wright has done another spectacular job with this team, which should contend for a third title in its last five tries.

Betting Analysis & Pick

Without much information on Butler, it’s hard to find much value on the board before the opening tip. Villanova should win comfortably, but I don’t love the idea of laying 11.5 points against a Butler team that won’t give away many points in what should be a low-scoring game.

The Bulldogs should keep this game close for much of the first half, and I like the value of live-betting the Wildcats should the line get below six points as long as the Wildcats are winning on the boards. If Butler is dominating the glass, I like it at +10 or better. 

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