College Basketball Odds, Picks & Predictions for St. John’s vs. Villanova (Saturday, January 29)

College Basketball Odds, Picks & Predictions for St. John’s vs. Villanova (Saturday, January 29) article feature image

Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: Justin Moore (Villanova)

  • St. John's takes on Villanova in some Saturday afternoon Big East action.
  • The Wildcats enter as double-digit favorites, according to updated odds.
  • Doug Ziefel breaks down the top bet for this college basketball showdown below.

St. John's vs. Villanova Odds

Saturday, Jan. 29
4:30 p.m. ET
St. John's Odds
-115o / -105u
Villanova Odds
-115o / -105u
Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

There is no need for a requiem for the Big East, as the conference is lively and filled with multiple contenders. However, this matchup may be an example of what makes Big East basketball so fun to watch.

Jay Wright and his Villanova Wildcats play host to the St. John's Red Storm.

The Johnnies have played an entertaining brand of basketball and have found more success with it than not. This matchup will be a real test for their high-flying style of play, as the Wildcats are elite on the defensive end.

Could the Red Storm catch the Cats napping?

While the Johnnies may be up to the task, Villanova is rarely caught off guard, and that is due to the play of their leader, Collin Gillespie. He has led Villanova near the top of the conference and entrenched them in the national rankings.

Will Gillespie and the Wildcats continue their inter-conference dominance?

St. John's Red Storm

Red Storm's Guards Will Be Key

St. John's pace of play has been the key to its success this season. It is the third-fastest team in terms of average possession length, and it maintains that pace through the play of its two stars.

Julian Champagnie has been dynamite this season, so much so that he's even received some National Player of the Year love. The junior guard is the motor of this team, and when he heats up, the Red Storm can blow right by you.

Champagnie averages over 19 points per game and has proven to be a threat from behind the arc, where he shoots 37.3%. St. John's is 11-6 with him in the lineup, so his performance is strongly correlated to his team coming out on top.

His fellow teammate, Posh Alexander, has shown that he can take on many roles in the offense. Alexander does a little bit of everything, averaging 15 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game.

The one thing that makes these two so hard to defend is that they will pick each other up. In the games where Champagnie is slumping, Alexander has the ability to put up points, and vice versa.

It's clear that the Johnnies' guard play will dictate how this matchup plays out, and the forecast is grim.

Nova is sixth in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency. That is due to its suffocating style of man-to-man defense that it executes well without fouling.

Champagnie and Alexander are no secrets to Wright, so it will be interesting to see how they fare.

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Villanova Wildcats

Look For Nova to Establish Its Pace

Many St. John's games have turned into track meets, as its opponents have been willing to run with them. However, that will not be the case against this Nova team.

Villanova's offensive style is a stark contrast to that of St. John's. The Wildcats are 350th in tempo and like to execute sets in the half-court.

Much like the Red Storm, the Wildcats are also reliant on the play of their two guards. Gillespie is the heart of this team and the primary scoring option. He's averaging over 17 points per game on 45.7% shooting.

Much of that scoring comes from behind the arc, as the Wildcats are 33rd in 3-point attempts per game. Gillespie makes over 42% of his shots from deep.

Last, but certainly cannot be forgotten by the opposition, is Justin Moore. The junior guard has made a formidable duo with Gillespie, as he possesses a similar ability to knock down a shot from anywhere on the court.

How long Gillespie and Moore maintain the ball is almost as important as what they do with it in this matchup. Once the pace is in Villanova's favor, the Wildcats should thrive. St. John's is 304th in 3-point percentage allowed, and I'm expecting the 3s to rain down on the offensive end for Nova.

St. John's vs. Villanova Betting Pick

For all of the hype surrounding the offenses in this matchup, I plan to zig while others will zag.

The angle is that Nova's pace and defense will limit this St. John's offense. We have seen two typical results in Red Storm games: they score a lot, or their opponents do.

I'm banking on an under here.

Pick: Under 139.5

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Doug Ziefel
Jun 13, 2024 UTC