Big East Tournament Championship Betting: Will Wildcats Claim Third-Straight Title?

Big East Tournament Championship Betting: Will Wildcats Claim Third-Straight Title? article feature image

Brad Penner, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Kevin Willard

  • The Villanova Wildcats are 4.5-point favorites over Seton Hall in the 2019 Big East Championship Game.
  • Eli Hershkovich breaks down the game and makes a pick against the spread.

Even though Villanova’s roster has a much different look to it than the past two seasons, Jay Wright’s unit can still accomplish the same feat on Saturday evening — another Big East tournament championship.

The Wildcats roared back from a seven-point deficit in the final three minutes of regulation before claiming a four-point outright win in overtime. Xavier managed to cover (+6), but Villanova continued to prove why its the class of the league with its comeback.

Meanwhile, Seton Hall overcame a 12-point first-half deficit vs. Marquette, participating in a game with 85 free throws, nine technical, three ejections and four players fouling out.

The Pirates hung onto a two-point victory after Golden Eagles guard Markus Howard, who dealt with hand/wrist issues in this matchup, missed a game-winning 3-point attempt in the waning seconds.

Where’s the value tonight, as Villanova attempts to overcome a steamy Seton Hall bunch? Let’s break it down.

Betting Odds: Seton Hall Pirates vs. Villanova Wildcats

  • Spread: Villanova -4.5
  • Over/Under: 135
  • Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: FOX

>> All odds as of Saturday morning. Download The Action Network App to get real-time CBB odds and live win probabilities on your bets.

The No. 3 seed Pirates (16-16 against the spread) have won four straight games — all straight-up and ATS, and one of them came at home vs. the No. 1 Wildcats (20-13 ATS).

Seton Hall thrived off its 18 offensive rebounds, leading to wide-open 3-point looks. Kevin Willard’s crew owns the fourth-highest offensive rebounding rate (31.0%), and Villanova has struggled to limit second-chance opportunities while letting up the second-highest 3-point scoring rate (37.3%) in Big East play.

You could make the case Myles Powell (22.9 points per game) and his offense will run out of gas after their bloodbath vs. the Golden Eagles, but the Wildcats exerted even more effort to come back against the Musketeers.

Look for him and his teammates to exploit their biggest defensive weakness once again, as they shot 48.1% (13 of 27) from the perimeter in their last meeting.

The Pirates also tallied the third-rated Adjusted Defensive Efficiency (102.8 opponents’ points per possession) in Big East play, guided by their third-ranked 3-point defense (34.6%).

Villanova relies on its perimeter attack more than any team in the conference, but it’s shot a mere 32.9% from behind the arc over its past eight games.

Expect Quincy McKnight’s elite on-ball to bother Wildcats point guard Phil Booth, similar to his impact on Howard’s 1-of-15 shooting performance in the semifinals, along with Booth’s squad struggling from distance as a whole.

If you’re interested in the total, these teams have combined to hit the under in 61.7% of their games this season. With both squads playing their third game in three days, I’d lean towards the under.

This matchup clearly favors Seton Hall, so grab the points in what should be a tightly-contested game — no matter which team comes out on top.

THE PICK: Seton Hall +4.5

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