College Basketball Odds, Picks & Predictions for Yale vs. Butler (Tuesday, Dec. 6)
Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Chuck Harris (Butler)
- The battle of the Bulldogs will take place at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Tuesday evening as Yale and Butler square off.
- Yale is 8-1 so far this season, but Butler will be its stiffest test of the non-conference slate.
- How should we bet this matchup? Keg has you covered with a preview and his best bet.
Yale vs. Butler Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
We have a battle of the Bulldogs on Tuesday as Butler looks to remain undefeated at home this season.
However, Yale has proven to be anything but an easy non-conference win.
Yale has jumped out to 8-1 on the season, with its only loss coming in a hard-fought game against Colorado. Against the Buffaloes, the Bulldogs led by as many as 12 before losing by three as a 9.5-point underdog.
Yale comes into this game following a 77-72 victory over Stony Brook on Saturday. It was the first time this season the Bulldogs have failed to cover the spread.
Butler is 5-3 so far, but posted its best win of the season last week, taking down Kansas State by 12 as a 2.5-point favorite.
The Yale defense has caused problems for teams all year, but three of the Bulldogs’ eight wins have come against squads ranked outside the top 300 (per KenPom), while two came against non-Division I teams.
Pulling off the upset at Butler could be enough to prove Yale is the top dog, but does it have what it takes?
Yale’s 8-1 start to the season is its best since 1945-46, and while it is impressive, many saw this Yale team as a legitimate threat in the preseason.
This Bulldogs squad has been nearly unstoppable dating back to before the Ivy League took the ’20-21 season off. Since the beginning of the ’18-19 season, this Bulldogs team has posted a record of 72-28.
The core of this Yale team is made up of three guards — John Poulakidas, Bez Mbeng and August Mahoney — who all play complementary roles to the Bulldogs’ leader in minutes and points, Matt Knowling.
Knowling is hitting 68% of his shots, as he paces the team with 17.3 points and 25.9 minutes per game.
The Bulldogs aren’t reliant on just this core group of four. Yale ranks in the 89th percentile with 29.8 points per game coming off the bench.
While their offense has been impressive — averaging 73.4 points per game and posting an effective field goal percentage of 57% — their defense is what truly sets them apart.
Yale is the seventh-best team in the nation in points allowed (55.9 PPG) and ranks 15th when it comes to opponent effective field goal percentage (42.4%).
The Bulldogs’ pace plays a big factor in their defense, as they’re currently ranked 255th in Adjusted Tempo. The Bulldogs’ ability to slow the game down has limited opposing teams to just 52.9 field goal attempts per contest.
One key area Yale may be able to take advantage of against Butler is forcing turnovers. Yale is averaging seven steals per game while Butler’s opponents have averaged 7.9 against it.
Butler is also giving up a 191st-ranked 13.3 turnovers per game while Yale has been able to force 13.6 a game on average.
Butler’s defense has been solid, holding teams to an effective field goal percentage of 47.9% and allowing just 64.1 points per game.
And I think Butler will be able to limit Yale to some extent. However, to win this game — and more importantly cover the spread — it’ll need its offense to be hitting on all cylinders.
The Bulldogs boast five different players who are all averaging double digits in points. They’re led by Chuck Harris, who paces the team with 15.6 points per game. He’s been at his best at home, where he’s averaging 19.8 per contest.
Yale’s efforts to slow the game down shouldn’t affect Butler much, as it plays at a similar pace (222nd in Adjusted Tempo). A lack of shot attempts won’t be much of an impact either for a Butler team that ranks 12th nationally in overall shooting percentage at 49.7%.
One area that may be of concern, however, is rebounding. Butler ranks outside the top 300 in offensive rebounds and is 153rd when it comes to defensive rebounds per game.
Yale, on the other hand, is 167th in offensive rebounds and ranks inside the top 25 with 26.9 defensive boards per game.
If Butler can’t win off the glass, I’m not sure it can win this game.
Yale vs. Butler Betting Pick
I’m not sold on Butler’s offense yet this season. I believe its turnover issues and Yale’s advantage when it comes to rebounding can cause a decent amount of issues for this offense.
However, given Yale’s lack of competition, I’m in no rush to back its offense to prevail as a top dog either.
This Yale team has yet to see a defense that will challenge it like Butler will — its closest competition so far has been Hawaii, a game in which the Bulldogs scored just 51 points in regulation before going to overtime.
I think Yale is in for another defensive rock fight — much like it had against that Hawaii team — and I expect this game to stay under the total.
I’d feel comfortable taking the under in this matchup at 130 or better.