Monday College Basketball Odds & Picks: Xavier-Villanova, Seton Hall-DePaul
Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Seton Hall Pirates guard Myles Powell (13).
Eli Hershkovich is an Action Network contributor and produces/hosts the You Better You Bet Podcast on RADIO.COM Sports.
League plays gets underway in the Big East on Monday night, as No. 10 Villanova hosts Xavier and Seton Hall travels to DePaul.
Let’s try to find where the value lies.
Xavier at Villanova
- Spread: Villanova -5.5
- Over/Under: 139.5
- Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
- TV: FS1
Villanova (4-6-1 against the spread) is 6-0 straight-up in its past six home games against the Musketeers (4-8-1 ATS), including four of them at the Pavilion.
Even though Xavier has delivered some slow starts away from home, leading to losses against Florida and Wake Forest, Travis Steele’s bunch should be playing with additional motivation after falling to Villanova in last season’s Big East tournament semifinals.
In that one, Musketeers forward Naji Marshall was whistled for a controversial offensive foul in the closing seconds to send the game to overtime.
In this matchup, the Musketeers’ perimeter defense (42nd-lowest opponents 3-point clip%) should limit a Villanova attack that relies on its shooting from behind the arc. It’s generated the 59th-highest 3-point scoring rate in the country.
Xavier presents the athleticism and length to match up with Villanova’s floor-spacing lineup, as each of its forwards (Cole Swider, James Robinson-Earl) can shoot 3s.
The Musketeers (63rd-highest 2-point scoring rate) should have an edge inside at the other end, as the Wildcats have let up 37th-highest 2-point scoring percentage. Look for Xavier’s Paul Scruggs and Marshall to have success off the bounce, as well as big man Tyrique Jones around the rim.
The Pick: Xavier +5.5
Seton Hall at DePaul
- Spread: Seton Hall -1
- Over/Under: 139.5
- Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
- TV: FS1
The biggest storyline in this one is whether Myles Powell (concussion) — Seton Hall’s star guard — will suit up. He’s listed as questionable after missing the Pirates’ past two games.
Without forward Sandro Mamukelishvili, who’s out for roughly another five weeks after suffering a broken wrist on Dec. 8, Seton Hall’s attack will struggle to create off the dribble against a much-improved Blue Demons’ defense if Powell misses a third-straight contest.
I’m expecting a motivated DePaul bunch in a prove-it home game for its conference opener, similar to how it’s delivered hot starts over its past two games. Hence, it could present a live betting opportunity on Seton Hall, especially once Kevin Willard’s crew settles in.
The Pirates will have a size advantage whether or not Powell suits up, led 7-foot-2 big Romero Gill, the 6-foot-10 Tyrese Samuel and their bigger guards.
If they can keep the Blue Demons outside the paint, they should be able to turn them over, as Dave Leitao’s squad is averaging a below-average 20.4% turnover rate. Seton Hall has racked up the 44th-highest opponents’ turnover percentage (22.7%), too.
Powell’s absence would leave the Pirates’ perimeter offense depleted once again, but their ball pressure should allow them to push the pace in transition and get some clean looks around the rim.
I’d also lean towards the under if Powell spends another evening on the bench, as both units boast a top-50 Adjusted Defensive Efficiency.
The Pick: Seton Hall live +5.5 or better