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Odds & Pick for St. John’s vs. Villanova College Basketball: Target the Total in Big East Matchup

Odds & Pick for St. John’s vs. Villanova College Basketball: Target the Total in Big East Matchup article feature image

Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Collin Gillespie.

  • Villanova looks to avoid being swept this season by St. John's at the Pavilion on Tuesday night.
  • The Red Storm plays at one of college basketball's fastest tempos, while Nova doesn't operate at a snail's pace itself.
  • Kyle Remillard breaks down why he's backing the over in this Big East matchup.

St. John’s vs. Villanova Odds

St. John’s Odds +11.5
Villanova Odds -11.5
Moneyline +530 / -775
Over/Under 155.5
Time | TV 8 p.m. ET | CBS Sports Network
Odds as of Monday night and via PointsBet.

St Johns’ heads to Finneran Pavilion on Tuesday night in search of a season sweep over the Villanova Wildcats.

The Johnnies’ chances of playing in March dwindled after losing last time out to DePaul. The Red Storm will need to win the next three games to have any chance of an at-large bid, and that starts as an 11.5-point underdog against the Wildcats.

Jay Wright has had his work cut out for him in a season that has been riddled by COVID-19 issues. The Wildcats had a 27-day pause toward the end of December due to health protocols.

Villanova is 6-2 since returning from that layoff and is hoping to maintain positive momentum before entering the conference tournament. Its defense has been suspect at best the last two weeks, allowing 71.0 points per game over the last six contests.

Nova took down UConn in its last game through a surprisingly strong second-half effort on the defensive end. Villanova was able to bottle up Huskies star James Bouknight, forcing someone else to beat them.

These two teams met back in early February, when St. John’s was able to catch the Wildcats sleeping, winning 70-59.  We’re in line to see a much different game in the rematch Tuesday for various reasons.

When St. Johns has the Ball

St. Johns is 14-9 on the year and has a 6.2% chance of making the tournament, according to TeamRankings. The Red Storm will need to win outright in this game in order to keep any hope of an at-large bid alive. Otherwise, it’s the conference tournament or bust. 

The Johnnies have shown they can compete with anyone in the Big East, beating Villanova, Connecticut and Xavier this season. They have also shown the ability to lose to anyone, dropping games to Butler, DePaul and Georgetown. Those bad losses will most likely come back to haunt St. Johns on Selection Sunday. 

The Red Storm play with an extremely high pace and tempo, looking to get out and run whenever they can. St. John’s ranks 13th in the nation in tempo and ninth in average possession length. That may not be a great indicator of how fast this team truly plays since the Big East is riddled with teams that play at a snail’s pace. 

Offensively, St. John’s trusts the athleticism of its guards to drive to the hoop and dish to open shooters. That strategy worked in the first game when the Red Storm shot 43.5% on 23 3-point attempts.

When Villanova has the Ball

Villanova looked like a legitimate Final Four contender in the second half on Saturday against UConn in shutting down Bouknight, who averages 20 points per game. 

The Wildcats own the fifth-most efficient offense in the country, scoring 121.8 points per every 100 possessions, according to KenPom. That is aided by Nova leading the nation by turning the ball over on just 13.4% of its possessions.

In conference play, Villanova takes more 3-point attempts and assists on more buckets than any other Big East team, with 46.4% of shot attempts coming from behind the arc, converting at a 38.2% clip. In the first matchup, Villanova got clean looks but made just 8-of-30 attempts from 3-point land. 

Collin Gillespie is averaging 14.5 points per game and shooting 37.4% on 3-point attempts this season. He tore up Connecticut on Saturday with 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting. These two teams’ first matchup was Gillespie’s worst game of the season. He turned the ball over six times and made just 2-of-12 shots and was 0-for-8 from 3-point range. 

St. John’s brings full-court pressure defensively, that approach helped force 17 Wildcat turnovers in the first matchup. Villanova handled the Johnnies’ full-court pressure in the first matchup but was unable to execute on 3-on-2 situations when it got them.

Wright’s squad missed too many open looks and had a plethora of miscues in transition opportunities. Trust one of the best coaches in college basketball to make those adjustments for this matchup.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

Villanova is among the most efficient offenses in the nation, and against a subpar St. John’s defense, it should have no problem eclipsing the 80-point mark.

Gillespie will look to make up for his struggles in these teams’ first meeting and should have a strong outing. 

Villanova’s defense is allowing opponents to convert on 53.8% of field goal attempts, which is the worst in the Big East. St. Johns is going to get plenty of shots up against that poor defense with the lightning-fast pace it plays at.

Both teams will push the tempo, and I see this game being played in the 160s.

Pick: Over 155.5 (up to 156)

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