UConn vs. Providence Betting Odds, Pick, Preview: Value on Total Between Slow-Paced Teams
Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: James Bouknight.
- UConn and Providence face off on Wednesday afternoon in a matchup of struggling Big East teams.
- The Huskies hope they get star guard James Bouknight back from injury, which would provide a big boost to their lackluster offense.
- Kyle Remillard sees value on the total with the slow paces of both teams.
UConn vs. Providence Odds
|Moneyline||-140 / +120|
|Time | TV||Wednesday, 4 p.m. ET | FS1|
|Odds as of Wednesday afternoon and via William Hill.|
The UConn Huskies make the short trip down to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Wednesday afternoon to take on the Providence Friars. Both of these teams have had a tough opening to 2021 thus far.
The Friars opened the season at 7-3 but have since won just two of their last nine Big East games. UConn has had its fair share of struggles over the past month, as well, dropping three of the last four games.
Both of these teams have struggled to score the basketball, and that trend should continue in this matchup.
When UConn Has the Ball
The Huskies have really struggled to adjust since losing James Bouknight to an elbow injury that required surgery. Bouknight was averaging 20.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game before getting injured, and UConn hasn’t found consistent scoring options without him.
Head coach Dan Hurley said that his leading scorer is a game-time decision moving forward, and Bouknight has been applying pressure on the medical staff to allow him to play.
UConn was a seemingly well-balanced offense early in the year with Bouknight in the lineup averaging 75.5 points per game in their first six contests. He’s one of the most electric players in the country, proven in his 40-point explosion against Creighton back on Dec. 20.
Since his injury, Connecticut has not looked like the same team. Without Bouknight, UConn is just 3-3, averaging 8.2 fewer points per game as shown in the image below.
Junior guards Tyrese Martin and R.J. Cole have attempted to pick up the slack in 2021, each averaging more than 11 points per game. Last time out, UConn was helped by Jalen Gaffney coming off the bench to score 20 points.
The Huskies will need these three to be more aggressive and take on a leading role if Bouknight is indeed ruled out of this game.
When Providence Has the Ball
Ed Cooley admitted it’s been a frustrating year for Providence, which has wins over just Creighton and Marquette in its last nine conference games. Cooley blamed the lack of defensive intensity for this losing streak, but there may be more wrong with this team than just the defense.
Nate Watson and David Duke have been Providence’s dynamic duo this season. Watson averages 17.9 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. Duke is averaging 17.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.1 assists in his 19 appearances, and over the last five games, he has either scored or assisted on 44% of Providence’s buckets.
A.J. Reeves, Watson and Duke have accounted for 63.5% of the Friars’ points in Big East play this year. They need to get more consistent scoring from the rest of the team, which has not been an easy task this season.
Both of these teams play at a snail’s pace offensively. The Friars rank 297th in the country in adjusted tempo, and Connecticut sits 337th, according to KenPom.
Both of these teams rank near the bottom of the Big East in average length of possession, using the majority of the shot clock before getting a shot attempt.
Also of note is that Connecticut owns the No. 1 defensive efficiency ranking in the Big East allowing 97.5 points per every 100 possessions.
Although Providence’s defense has not been stellar to this point, this is a matchup in which it can frustrate the Huskies. That task will be easier if Bouknight doesn’t play.
Providence is the No. 1 defense in the Big East in defending the 3-point shot. Meanwhile, the Connecticut offense shoots the worst percentage in the conference inside of the arc.
Betting Analysis & Pick
This game should be a low scoring defensive game in which buckets will be hard to come by. Providence will attempt to lock down the shooters on the outside and force UConn to score inside the paint, something it’s been unable to do consistently without Bouknight.
UConn is going to lean on its top-ranked Big East defense to make life tough for Providence’s “Big Three,” hopefully forcing someone else to step up.
As someone who loves a good defensive, grind-it-out game, this is one that I’m going to enjoy watching. I have this number closer to 130 and see good value in backing the under of 133.
Pick: Under 133 (down to 130).