Xavier vs. Villanova Updated Odds, Prediction, Preview: Lay the Points With the Home Favorite Wildcats
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- Updated Villanova vs. Xavier odds list the Wildcats as a -5.5 favorite, down a point from the opening line last night.
- The total has also shifted over the past day, dropping from 137.5 to 136 for this crucial, early-season Big East contest.
- Get our full Villanova vs. Xavier pick and preview below.
Xavier vs. Villanova Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Tuesday’s meeting between Villanova and Xavier has massive implications for a December conference game.
Villanova lost its first Big East game of the season, on the road at Creighton. The Wildcats haven’t started conference play with two losses since a disastrous 2012 season that ended without a postseason berth.
This Villanova team won’t fall to those depths, yet an 0-2 start in conference would be a shock to the system. The Wildcats have won or shared seven of the eight conference titles since the Big East was re-shuffled in 2014. Losses to two of the league’s best would put Villanova behind the eight-ball.
A win here would also springboard Xavier into the national landscape. A road victory at Finneran Pavilion would elevate the Musketeers into the upper echelon of college basketball, with a real chance to make noise this March.
Does this underdog have a chance to shake things up?
This is the best team Travis Steele has coached during his four-year tenure at Xavier. The Musketeers can play inside and out on offense and are built to manufacture stops on the defensive end.
Super-senior Paul Scruggs is the focal point offensively, though, he has more help around him than his other five years in Cincinnati.
Junior big man Zach Freemantle is back from injury and makes for a very difficult matchup.
Iowa transfer Jack Nunge is a productive player in the paint and on the glass.
Nate Johnson leads the way in the scoring column, thanks to 47% shooting on over six attempts per game.
Sophomore Colby Jones is nabbing 11 rebounds per 40 minutes, despite standing at just 6-foot-6.
With a few additional pieces off of the bench and Steele starting to come into his own on the sideline, this Xavier team is built to compete in the Big East this season.
If there’s something missing, it’s a pure point guard, with sophomore Dwon Odom learning on the fly and posting a turnover rate over 30%.
Scruggs, Johnson and Belmont transfer Adam Kunkel can relieve that pressure for the most part, yet the lack of a floor general can look a lot more glaring in a road game against a top-tier program like Villanova.
This Villanova team has not looked like itself as of late.
In the Wildcats’ last three games, they have managed to shoot just 23% from outside the arc, on an eye-popping 33 attempts per game. Some of that is skewed by 50 shots from outside the arc against Syracuse, yet it’s been clear of late that Villanova has been reliant on the jump shot, not shooting it well and not looking for its best options on the offensive end.
If you’re looking to back Nova, you can assume the cold shooting woes have to wear off eventually. More importantly, Jay Wright’s offense has evolved over the past several years, leading to less reliance on the outside shot.
Yes, Villanova can still bury you with a barrage of 3s, but the Wildcats are at their best when Collin Gillespie and Justin Moore are finding their way into the paint.
Xavier should present a chance for the Wildcats’ offense to get right. Since Xavier joined the Big East, the Musketeers have traveled to Villanova seven times. Villanova has won all seven games by an average of 18.8 points.
This Xavier team is no pushover, but Wright has always had the answers against the X-men.
Xavier vs. Villanova Betting Pick
This Xavier team has a real chance to have a successful season. In this week’s State of the Big East check-in, I tipped off nabbing the Musketeers at +2000 to make a Final Four run.
Despite that, I hate this spot for them. Traveling to Nova isn’t easy for any Big East foe, especially on a mid-week, pre-Christmas trip to Finneran Pavilion.
Villanova is due to re-set offensively and find its groove, especially against a Xavier program that has offered limited resistance to the Wildcats in recent years.
I’m taking the Wildcats and laying points, expecting a shooting regression turnaround. If Villanova comes out cold in the first half but is within striking distance, I may even double-down on a live line.
This team is too good to continue to shoot so poorly.