Odds & Pick for Providence vs. Xavier Basketball: Back Underdog Friars In Big East Battle
Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: David Duke.
- Two teams in the middle of the Big East standings battle in Cincinnati on Sunday as Providence takes on Xavier.
- The Musketeers started the season 8-0, but since have lost two of their last three games in Big East play. Can they bounce back in this game?
- BJ Cunningham previews Providence-Xavier and shares his betting pick below.
Providence vs. Xavier Odds
Two teams in the middle of the Big East standings battle in Cincinnati on Sunday as Providence takes on Xavier.
Providence has had a roller coaster of a season, as the Friars currently sit at 7-4. They narrowly lost the last time they were in action at home to Creighton, 67-65. The Friars came into the season projected to finish in the top half of the Big East and a win on Sunday could be the boost they need to make those pre-season projections come true.
Xavier started the season 8-0, but since have lost two of its last three games in Big East play. The Musketeers were suppose to finish near the bottom of the Big East, but seem to be outplaying those projections so far this season.
When Providence has the ball
For Providence to find success on offense, it has to get the ball inside the paint. They have one of the best big men in the Big East in Nate Watson, who is averaging 18.5 points and is shooting over 60% from the field.
The main reason Providence needs to get to rack is because over 58% of its points come from 2-point range, mainly due to the fact that they are terrible from 3.
Providence shoots a dismal 28.6% from behind the arc, which ranks 299th in the country. The Friars need to get the ball down low as often as possible on Sunday.
Providence is likely going to struggle scoring in the paint because Xavier is one of the best teams in country defending inside the arc. The Musketeers are allowing only 43.5% from inside the arc and have over a 10% block rate on the season.
Where Xavier struggles is turning opponents over, as it has one of the lowest turnover percentages in the Big East. Providence rarely turns the ball over, so Xavier will need to defend the paint well and keep Providence off the offensive glass to be successful on defense.
When Xavier has the ball
After losing its two best players from last season, Xavier has seemingly gotten better by virtue of a solid recruiting class and the transfer portal. Where the Musketeers have made the greatest leap is behind the 3-point line, where they are shooting over 35% this season. However, they’ve struggled mightily shooting the ball from deep in conference play, at only 28.3%.
For the most of the season, Providence’s defense has been its Achilles heel. However, their last two games, the Friars improved drastically, allowing only 0.95 points per possession.
They’ve been fantastic during conference play on the defensive glass and defending the 3-point shot. However, they allow almost 50% from inside the arc, so they’ll need to improve if they are going to stop Xavier’s front court.
Betting Analysis & Pick
For Providence to win this game, it is going to have keep Xavier in check from deep. If the Friars force Xavier to shoot under 30% from 3, they should be able slow down the Musketeers’ offense.
The key on offense for Providence is shooting a high percentage from 2-point range, since Xavier’s strength on defense is defending the paint.
I only have Xavier projected as a 2.54-point favorites, so I think there is some value on Providence at +4.5 or better (FanDuel).
Pick: Providence +4.5 or better