Xavier vs Butler Odds, Picks: Friday Big East NCAAB Betting Guide
Pictured: Butler Bulldogs guard Chuck Harris. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Xavier vs. Butler Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
We have another Big East clash on Friday night as the Xavier Musketeers will make the trip to Butler to take on the Bulldogs.
Xavier is at the top of the Big East standings, so any slip ups in winnable matchups will have major implications.
As for Butler, it’s been a disappointing season to say the least, and barring a magical Big East tournament run, the Bulldogs will begin their offseason in early March.
Sean Miller has done a terrific job with this Xavier team, and their underlying metrics suggest the Musketeers are one of the best teams in the country. Will Xavier keep it rolling on the road? Let’s break down these teams:
There’s not a lot of negative things to say about this Xavier team. However, I do think they’ve been a bit fortunate. They rank fifth in offensive efficiency, 30th in shot quality and have prevailed with the 17th-ranked strength of schedule. Xavier loves to play fast on offense and is 23rd in tempo, per KenPom.
The Musketeers offensive balance is quite admirable as they get contributions from multiple players each and every night. Guards Soul Broom and Colby Jones are each averaging over 15 points per game. Cincinnati transfer Jack Nunge averages 14 points per game and Xavier was also getting tremendous contributions from Zach Freemantle before he went down with a foot injury.
However, Xavier has a -19.46 record luck number, per Shot Quality. In other words, the bigger the negative number, the more likely it is that a team is due for some regression.
Xavier is 164th in FT% and 193rd in turnovers, so that luck number may not come as a surprise. Of course, teams that play at a higher tempo are more likely to turn the ball over due to the amount of extra possessions, but Xavier’s numbers from the charity stripe can be its Achilles heel down the stretch.
This breakdown all hinges on the status of guard Chuck Harris, so be sure to monitor the injury report before putting in your wagers. Getting that out of the way, I actually don’t think this Butler team is as miserable as people think.
Yes, we can talk about their metrics. The Bulldogs are the 112th-ranked team in the country per KenPom and also rank 182nd in offensive efficiency. However, they do rank 66th in defensive efficiency.
With a rank of 246th in adjusted tempo, the Bulldogs philosophy is clearly to lean on their defense and limit opposition possessions. This is probably the ideal strategy when facing Xavier as it can score in bursts and run all night long. Limiting possessions and holding on as long as possible against the Musketeers will definitely keep the Bulldogs in the game late.
If Harris can’t go, I’m assuming this line will steam up a bit more. That will also cause the Bulldogs to rely heavier on the other backcourt members — Jayden Taylor and Simas Lukosius. Either way, Butler has +5.46 record luck per Shot Quality, which indicates they’re due for some positive regression.
Xavier vs. Butler Betting Pick
I really think Butler is live in this game.
I talked about the regression monster looming for Xavier, and it turns out some fortune is also due for Butler. Additionally, I think Butler’s style of play will allow it to hang tough throughout the course of the evening.
The market opened this game at Butler +6, which seems to me that they’re begging for Musketeers backers here. Xavier will likely be heavily backed by the public, so I would wait to bet this one until later tomorrow afternoon as we may get an extra point or so to work with. I’ll more than happily take a shot with Butler here, and it’ll certainly be a slam play if Chuck Harris is a full-go.
Pick: Butler +6 (Play to +5)
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