Providence vs Xavier Odds, Picks: How to Bet This Top-25 Big East Clash
Dylan Buell/Getty Images. Pictured: Xavier’s Jack Nunge.
Providence vs Xavier Odds
-120o / -102u
-120o / -102u
Providence travels on the road to Xavier on Wednesday for a crucial encounter that could decide who will move into first place in the Big East.
The Friars have been on a roll the past two weeks, winning three straight games in conference play to move to 9-2 in the league. However, Providence has been doing most of its damage at the Dunk, where it’s a perfect 12-0. But away from home or on a neutral floor, it’s just 9-5 on the year.
This will be one of the Friars’ most difficult road tests of the season, so we’ll see if Ed Cooley’s guys are up for the challenge.
Xavier cracked the top 10 but has now fallen out of it after getting dismantled by Creighton, 84-67, on Saturday. The Musketeers have dropped only two games in conference play and have very impressive wins like a recent road victory at Connecticut and home wins over both Marquette and Creighton.
Can they take care of business as a short favorite at home and continue to build their resume for March?
Cooley’s team may not be the best shooting team in the country, but it crashes the offensive glass and gets to the free-throw line better than anybody in the Big East.
Providence has a 35.3% offensive rebounding percentage and 42.1% free-throw rate, which are both the best in the Big East.
The problem the Friars have run into in their two losses to Creighton and Marquette cold shooting. Providence went 8-for-37 combined from deep in those two games.
Providence typically doesn’t take a high number of 3-pointers. Instead, it runs a high number of isolation sets and takes plenty of shots at the rim.
Image via ShotQuality.
The Friars are finishing at a high rate at the rim overall, but they’re hitting only 55% of their shot attempts at the rim in conference play, which is sixth in the Big East.
They also are only putting up 0.85 PPP in isolation sets, which is well below the national average.
Defense has been the reason why Providence has jumped out to a 9-2 start in conference play. The Friars are third in the Big East in adjusted defensive efficiency and have been elite at defending the 3-point line, allowing just 27.7% shooting from deep during conference play.
Xavier doesn’t take a high number of 3-point shots and plays post-up ball at one of the highest rates in the nation. That’s something Providence has struggled to defend this season.
With that said, a lot of Xavier shot attempts are coming at the rim, where Providence has played elite defense. The Friars allow just 1.11 PPP in close, which is the 28th-best mark in the country.
The Musketeers have been outstanding during Big East play mainly because of their offense. Xavier ranks second in the conference in adjusted offensive efficiency because it’s attacked the rim well and knocked down its few attempts from behind the arc.
Xavier plays a fantastic inside-out game with bigs Jack Nunge and Zach Freemantle, who are both shooting over 56% from inside the arc.
This team plays post-up ball at the eighth-highest frequency in the country, which will be a big advantage against a Providence team that has been very average at defending the post.
Feed Freemantle! 🙌@zachfreemantle x @XavierMBB pic.twitter.com/HZB106jG1X
— FOX College Hoops (@CBBonFOX) January 21, 2023
Freemantle and Nunge are fantastic passers out of the post as well. They have the ability to draw double-teams, which gives Xavier’s guards a lot of open shots. In fact, the Musketeers rank first in the Big East in open 3-point rate. Guards Souley Boum and Adam Kunkel are both hitting over 39% from beyond the arc on the season.
Xavier’s issues have come on the defensive end of the floor. It ranks ninth in the Big East in adjusted defensive efficiency during conference play and sits in the bottom half of the conference in both 2-point and 3-point field goal percentage allowed.
Most important for this game will be its ability to defend at the rim and in isolation sets. The Musketeers have done a good job of defending at the rim, ranking 77th nationally, but they’re very average in defending isolation.
Xavier ranks top-four in the Big East in defensive rebounding percentage and free-throw rate allowed. So, if it can keep Providence off the glass and defend the rim at a high level, it’ll force the Friars into a lot of 3-point attempts.
Providence vs Xavier Betting Pick
The total is a tad inflated here for two offenses that have been running really hot during conference play.
The question for Providence simply comes down to offensive rebounding and getting to the free-throw line. If it can’t produce in those areas, it will be forced to take plenty of 3s, which it struggled to do against Creighton and Marquette.
Offensively, Xavier has a path to success by playing through the post. But it’s also going up against the No. 1 3-point defense in the Big East, so the offense isn’t going to run as smoothly if Freemantle and Nunge have off games.
Providence’s best path to success is to slow down the pace. Xavier ranks second in the Big East in adjusted tempo, while Providence is eighth. If the Friars try to play at the Musketeers’ pace, they’re going to get run out of the gym.
So, I like the value on under 154.5 points, which is currently available at FanDuel.
Pick: Under 154.5
What is QuickSlip?
QuickSlip is an Action Network feature that allows users to automatically pre-load their bet slip at FanDuel Sportsbook.
How would you rate this article?
This site contains commercial content. We may be compensated for the links provided on this page. The content on this page is for informational purposes only. Action Network makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the information given or the outcome of any game or event.