Villanova vs. Boston College Odds & Picks: Bet Eagles as Live Underdogs on College Basketball Opening Day
Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Jay Wright of Villanova.
- A top-five Villanova squad will battle Boston College to kick off the college basketball season on Wednesday.
- Mike Randle isn't scared by the Wildcats' high ranking, though, as he's flying with the Eagles.
- Check out Randle's full betting preview with updated odds below.
Villanova vs. Boston College Odds
|Villanova Odds||-14 [BET NOW]|
|Boston College Odds||+14 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-1430 / +800 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||141.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Wednesday, 9:30 p.m. ET|
Villanova opens the season as the third-ranked team in both the AP Top 25 and coaches polls, with its eye on a third Final Four appearance since the 2016 campaign.
The Wildcats face a Boston College team predicted to finish in 14th place in the preseason ACC poll.
Will this be the comfortable Villanova win the oddsmakers are predicting? Let’s take a look to see what’s on deck.
Villanova returns four starters from a team that has won seven of the last eight Big East regular-season titles, as well as the last three conference tournaments. Head coach Jay Wright has achieved any coach’s ultimate goal, which is positioning his team as a national title-contender every season.
The Wildcats return most of their players from a 24-7 season in 2019-20, led by seniors Collin Gillespie (15.1 ppg/4.5 assists per game) and Jermaine Samuels (10.7 ppg/5.5 rebounds per game). Sophomore Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (10.5 ppg, 9.4 rpg) is also back for Villanova.
When it comes to statistics, the Wildcats always rank among the elite. Last season, they finished 15th in adjusted offensive efficiency and 36th in defense per KenPom.
However, Villanova ranked near the bottom nationally and in the Big East when it came to forcing turnovers. The Wildcats were only 292th in defensive turnover percentage.
Injuries have played a role in Villanova’s preseason, with the club opening the 2020-21 campaign without guard Bryan Antoine and forward Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree. Collin Gillespie (hamstring) and sophomore Justin Moore (knee) also missed significant time in the preseason due to injuries.
Cosby-Roundtree (1.5 ppg, 2.2 rpg) was expected to provide quality front-court minutes off the bench with his defense and rebounding. The Wildcats also expect big things from Antoine, who is still battling a shoulder injury that limited him throughout his freshman year.
The key player for Villanova will be Robinson-Earl, who is a former five-star recruit. Last season, he nearly averaged a double-double for the Wildcats, en route to picking up Big East Freshman of the Year honors. Robinson-Earl will need to be the focus of the Eagles’ defensive game plan if they’re going to have any success in this game.
The Wildcats rely heavily on the 3-pointer to generate offense, producing 47.3% of their points last year from beyond the arc. Villanova ranked first in Big East play with 48% of its offense coming from long range. Look for Justin Moore (39.6%), Gillespie (35.7%) and Cole Swider (35.2%) to take multiple shots from deep.
If Villanova can get hot from downtown, this game against Boston College could quickly become a blowout. However, if the Wildcats come out slow, it will be hard to generate consistent scoring from their four-out, one-in set.
Boston College Eagles
Boston College’s 2019-20 season was wildly inconsistent. Dealing with injuries at almost every position, the Eagles actually have reason for optimism this season. The most important positive thing they can rally around is the return of Wynston Tabbs.
The Boston College guard missed all of last season after surgery on his left knee. Tabbs was enjoying a fantastic freshman season before missing the final 16 games after sustaining the injury.
Prior to getting hurt, Tabbs was averaging 13.9 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game. As a freshman, he was constantly in the high 30s in minutes played and made 85.2% of his free throws.
Tabbs will be joined in the starting backcourt by sophomore Jay Heath (13.1 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 38% 3P), in what should be one of the ACC’s most underrated guard tandems.
During Heath’s freshman season, he ripped off a string of 15 consecutive double-digit scoring performances, with a list of big efforts against top ACC competition. He had 18 points (2-for-4 on 3-pointers) and 17 points (3-for-5 from behind the arc) in two separate games against Virginia. Heath also went 4-for-4 from 3-point range in a 74-72 loss at Pittsburgh.
Senior Stefon Mitchell (7.8 ppg/8.7 rpg/2.3 spg/1.1 bpg) was named to the All-ACC Defensive Team, receiving eight votes for ACC Defensive Player of the Year. The versatile power forward notched seven double-doubles, including one for rebounds and assists.
The Eagles excelled at forcing turnovers under head coach Jim Christan’s man-to-man defensive principles. Boston College forced an average of 14.5 turnovers per game, which ranked 65th in the country. The Eagles played up to their competition with wins over Virginia and North Carolina, as well as a sweep of Virginia Tech.
Betting Analysis & Pick
The general betting consensus will be on a Villanova blowout. The Wildcats have the ability to get scorching hot from 3-point land, plus they can put up over 80 points on any given night.
However, this is a Boston College team that will be underrated nationally, especially with Tabbs missing all of last season.
Against the spread in 2019-2020, Villanova was just 10-14-1 as a favorite and 1-2-1 in neutral court games. The Wildcats hold a substantial talent discrepancy, but as we observed last season, early-season contests can favor lower-scoring matchups.
Playing at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., following a preseason interrupted by COVID-19 issues has me believing this will be a close game. Villanova will eventually pull away, but playing without Cosby-Roundtree and Antoine will keep the backdoor cover in play.
That said, I’m taking Boston College and the points on a line I expect to climb even higher before game time. I would also look to make a live wager if Tabbs and company can get the Eagles off to a strong start.
Villanova is going to win, but it will not be the blowout most expect. You should also keep an eye on Villanova as a live play in first half if the score is close.
Pick: Boston College +15 (-110). Play down to +14.5.