College Basketball Odds, Picks for UConn vs. Butler

College Basketball Odds, Picks for UConn vs. Butler article feature image

Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images. Pictured: Dan Hurley (UConn)

UConn vs. Butler Odds

Saturday, Dec. 17
7 p.m. ET
UConn Odds
-105o / -115u
Butler Odds
-105o / -115u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

The UConn Huskies look to remain perfect on the year against the Butler Bulldogs in their first Big East contest on the road Saturday at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Where does the betting value lie in this one with UConn priced as a solid road favorite? Let's dig in and find out.

Connecticut Huskies

After Houston's loss to Alabama at home last Saturday, there is a legitimate case the best team in the country is this one traveling to Indianapolis to face Butler Saturday night.

Adama Sanogo has emerged as a dominant force on track to be a first team All-American. Dan Hurley, despite his expressive antics, has again proven he is one of the nation's best leaders. In eleven games, UConn's closest margin is a 10-point victory over a solid Oklahoma St. team.

A key piece of UConn's success early has been the development of junior Andre Jackson. Although he has only started in three of the 11 victories, Jackson has been a defensive tone-setter and an excellent passer as a wing. Per Evan Miya's BPR metric, Jackson is rated as the fourth-best player in all of college basketball thus far.

UConn has had a full week to prepare for their conference opener after a 53-point drubbing of LIU last Saturday. Considering Creighton's recent struggles without Ryan Kalkbrenner, UConn is a prohibitive favorite to win the Big East.

Predictions certainly do not dictate outcomes, but it is still interesting to note that KenPom does not project the Huskies to be an underdog for any game on the remainder of their schedule. However, coach Hurley's team will certainly have a bullseye on its back for every contest from here on out, which usually brings out the best effort of each opponent.

Butler and its home atmosphere will surely present a formidable challenge to the Huskies' effort to keep their record spotless.

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Butler Bulldogs

Thad Matta's first year in a reunion with Butler has been successful in seemingly bringing the program back to the level that Brad Stevens and Chris Holtmann established.

Resounding losses to Tennessee and NC State have been quickly put in the rear view as Butler enters Saturday's contest sporting a four-game win streak. The victories against tournament hopeful Kansas State and Ivy league favorite Yale should provide confidence for Matta's Bulldogs. Those victories also help provide context to the difficulty Butler's visitors face when playing at Hinkle.

Senior guard Eric Hunter will provide the veteran leadership and poise needed to have success in high-profile matchups. Hunter is a fifth-year transfer from Purdue, and has played in dozens of big games in his career. His list of accomplishments includes a selection to the Big 10's all-defensive team last season.

His defense has certainly proven to be a transferable skill in his new role at Butler, as he's led the team's backcourt as a premier on-ball nuisance. Even hosting arguably the nation's best team, the moment is not likely to be too big for Butler's de facto "quarterback."

The likely counter to UConn's star in Sanogo will be NC State transfer and center Manny Bates. Bates is averaging a career high 14 points in a bounce-back year for him. What's more is that Bates' athleticism may be a true challenge to Sanogo on the defensive end.

The portal has provided Matta and Butler the opportunity to change the program's identity overnight, getting back to the defensive prowess that made the Bulldogs special in the 2010s.

UConn vs. Butler Betting Pick

The full defensive effort of Butler should be on display early as the Bulldogs will look to feed off the energy of their home crowd. Given both teams have had a full week to prepare and think about this game, I could easily see some tension and overthinking creeping in early.

As the game progresses, I would expect the flow of both offenses to improve. My preference, consequently, is to take the first half under versus the full game. By doing so, I can also avoid the risk of losing an under due to the potential of overtime.

Pick: UConn/Butler 1H Under 68

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