Seton Hall vs. Villanova Odds & Pick: Bet the Pirates After Cats’ Long Layoff
Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Sandro Mamukelashvili (left) and Jared Rhoden (right).
- Villanova hasn't played in 27 days, but the Wildcats return on Tuesday night to take on Seton Hall in a Big East battle.
- The Cats have started conference play 3-0 ATS, which is a deviation from Jay Wright's past performances.
- Mike Calabrese breaks down the game and explains why he's backing the Pirates to end the streak below.
Seton Hall vs. Villanova Odds
|Seton Hall Odds||+9.5 (-105)|
|Villanova Odds||-9.5 (-115)|
|Time | TV||Tuesday, 9 p.m. ET||FS1|
After a 27-day hiatus, the Villanova Wildcats are finally back on the hardwood, hoping to extend their six-game winning streak.
During the COVID-fueled layoff, Nova’s tournament resume actually received a considerable boost. The Wildcats’ marquee win on the season came on Dec. 6 against the 17th-ranked Texas Longhorns in Austin, and since then, Texas has won seven of its last eight and risen all the way to No. 5 in the AP Poll.
Seton Hall has taken the floor four times since the last time Villanova played and posted a 3-1 record SU and 2-2 record at the betting window.
Sandro Mamukelashvili has been the Pirates’ offensive focal point, averaging 18 points and 7.5 rebounds during this four-game run. He’ll likely play a large role in this game, as the Pirates have surged and slumped depending on his play. In their nine wins, he’s shot close to 50% from the field; in their five losses that number falls to 42%.
Uncharacteristically, Villanova has allowed teams to play a highly-efficient brand of basketball against it this year. The Cats check in at 233rd nationally in opponent shooting percentage and force only 12.7 turnovers per game (239th).
Will that translate to a strong game from Mamukelashvili, and consequently, a tight game down the stretch, or will Nova’s fresh legs lead to a Main Line runaway at the Ski Lodge?
If you’re looking for reasons to buy Nova this season, you don’t have to look very hard.
The Wildcats can really score the basketball. and it’s evident that Jeremiah Robinson-Earl hasn’t even played his best basketball just yet. The sophomore big has as many single-digit performances as 20+ outbursts and has taken a back seat to the three-head backcourt of Collin Gillespie, Justin Moore and Caleb Daniels.
That aforementioned backcourt is what makes clamping down on the Nova attack so difficult. All three guards average 12.5 points per game or more, and as a trio, they’re shooting 40% from long range.
If Robinson-Earl can provide the Cats with more consistent inside scoring, they have a top-five ceiling from an offensive perspective.
While that offensive uptick could be considered a “nice-to-have” for Jay Wright, what really qualifies as a “must-have” is more help on the glass, be it from JRE or Jermaine Samuels off the bench. Nova grabs only 7.8 offensive boards per game (220th), which makes cold shooting nights even more damaging.
When you combine its issues on the offensive glass with its inability to turn teams over, you start to see how Villanova could drop a game or two to lesser opponents in conference play.
A Reliable Brand of Basketball
The Pirates were headed toward a top-five seed in the NCAA Tournament last March behind Myles Powell. He was the heart of the program and their offensive catalyst. It was supposed to be the program’s chance to take things to the next level, and then thud… the season was over.
Given the roster turnover, there were tempered expectations heading into Kevin Willard’s 11th season in South Orange. Yes, Seton Hall has been beaten by every team you’d expect it to lose to this season, but it has also handled its business as a favorite, save for a three-point loss to Providence.
As a college basketball bettor, I appreciate teams that are reliable, win or lose, because COVID-19 has created higher than usual levels of variance this season.
Seton Hall is a matching 9-5 SU and ATS, and as a 9.5-point dog with sizable momentum pairing against Villanova’s rust, this game stood out to me.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Villanova is off to a 3-0 ATS start in Big East play, but that’s deviating from Wright’s typical success level in conference.
Between 2015 and 2020, Nova was no better than a coin flip ATS (51.4%) in the Big East, and it’s feasted on the bottom of the conference so far. I think that’s creating some value on the Pirates in this spot, as I have this one as Villanova -7 in my power rankings.
I’ll take Seton Hall to keep things close and lean toward the under as Nova gets its sea legs back.
Pick: Seton Hall +9.5 | Lean Under 140.5.