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Villanova vs. Seton Hall College Basketball Betting Odds & Pick: Back Pirates over Untested Wildcats

Villanova vs. Seton Hall College Basketball Betting Odds & Pick: Back Pirates over Untested Wildcats article feature image

Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured (left to right): Jared Rhoden, Sandro Mamukelashvili, and Shavar Reynolds.

  • Jay Wright's Villanova Wildcats will take the floor against Kevin Willard's Seton Hall Pirates for the second time this season on Saturday afternoon.
  • The Pirates fell to the Wildcats the last time these teams played each other, but Seton Hall should be able to keep it close this time, according to Shane McNichol.
  • Check out McNichol's full betting analysis complete with a pick and updated odds below.

Villanova vs. Seton Hall Odds

Villanova Odds
Seton Hall Odds
-220 / +175
142.5 (-108 / -113)
Time | TV
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET | FOX
Odds updated as of Saturday at 1:25 p.m. ET and via Parx.

When Seton Hall paused its basketball program with COVID-19 concerns on Nov. 11, the Pirates were sitting in a relatively comfortable position in the Big East.

Seton Hall was 9-5 on the season and 6-2 in conference play, faring much better than expected in what was poised to be a transitional season following the graduation of Myles Powell.

The virus canceling three games set Seton Hall up for a brutal welcome back to the court, as it played three straight against the best teams in the Big East.

So far, the Pirates have failed that test, losing a squeaker at Villanova and blowing a double-digit lead late to Creighton.

Now, Seton Hall gets a second crack at Villanova — this time on home turf in South Orange, New Jersey. Can it right the ship with an upset to keep pace with the Big East’s best?

When Seton Hall has the ball

Jay Wright’s primary task when game-planning for the Seton Hall offense is making a plan to stop Sandro Mamukelashvili.

The 6-foot-9 senior has been a revelation this season, relishing a chance to create offense in space, rather than as a secondary piece as he’d been in previous seasons.

Because Seton Hall generally plays Mamukelashvili next to a traditional center, Wright likely can’t assign Jeremiah Robinson-Earl to guard Seton Hall’s best player.

That leaves Villanova with either 6-foot-7 Jermaine Samuels trying to wrestle with a bigger opponent or the slower Cole Swider trying to stay in front of Mamukelashvili. Neither is an ideal option.

Elsewhere in the Seton Hall lineup, head coach Kevin Willard has a conundrum of his own.

All season, Harvard transfer Bryce Aiken has been used by Willard as a spark plug off the bench while Aiken battled injuries. Against Creighton, Aiken finally looked like himself, posting 21 points and box plus/minus of +25.5, easily a team-high.

Yet, Willard still only played Aiken for 18 minutes, removing the fifth-year senior with just north of five minutes to play.

By the time Aiken returned for the game’s final seconds, Seton Hall had allowed an 18-6 run, turning a nine-point lead into a deficit that the Pirates would never overcome.

Aiken has struggled shooting the ball this year, posting career lows in effective field goal and true shooting percentages. There’s an expectation for his shooting to rebound to the mean, however, after making 35% of over 400 3-point attempts at Harvard.

Willard’s hesitancy to commit to Aiken, especially in crunch time, is worth monitoring.

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When Villanova has the ball

Two things will determine Villanova’s ability to score in this game: turnovers and penetration.

To date, Villanova has been the least turnover-prone team in all of college basketball, recording a turnover on only 11.9% of possessions and just 8.09 times per game. Both those marks lead the nation.

The Wildcats are smart and experienced, yet there’s a real chance those numbers regress toward the mean. Villanova has played only two teams that rank in the top half of college basketball in forcing turnovers. While that has not been Seton Hall’s strength this season, some defensive pressure could lead to a few extra possessions.

Defensively, Seton Hall’s best performer is senior Myles Cale. The long-armed 6-foot-6 swingman is tasked with guarding opposing players who fill a variety of roles, from point guards up to small forwards.

When Seton Hall played Villanova just last week, Cale was primarily used to slow down penetrating guard Justin Moore, rather than Villanova’s leading scorer, Collin Gillespie.

With Wright’s dribble-drive focused offense, that left Gillespie to attack lesser defenders in isolation or off of a pick-and-roll. He feasted, racking up 22 points on just 10 field goal attempts.

With over a week to process the film from that game, will Willard make an adjustment? If so, will Moore or another Villanova perimeter player be able to attack as efficiently as Gillespie could?

The chess moves by each coach will go a long way in determining Villanova’s ability to penetrate into gaps and create scoring chances.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

There are two factors leaning Seton Hall’s way in this matchup from a bettor’s perspective.

First, the Pirates will host this game in New Jersey, where they have played much better than their road performances.

At home, Seton Hall is 5-2, with the two losses inside this game’s point spread — in overtime against Providence and in last week’s heartbreaker against Creighton.

Away from home, the Pirates are just 4-5. In a difficult conference game like this, even with limited crowd noise coming from the family members in attendance, home court still matters.

The second key factor comes from Villanova’s schedule.

This is the Wildcats’ most difficult game in over two months. Wright has more than earned the benefit of the doubt over the last decade, though this year’s team still has plenty to prove. Villanova is just 2-1 against the KenPom top 50, with only one of those three games being played on the road.

Villanova wants to cement its place as one of the country’s best teams, but the 4-point spread here is enough to back Seton Hall.

If it were to drop at all, I’d have concerns about betting the Pirates. If the line climbs, though, Seton Hall becomes even more attractive.

Pick: Seton Hall +4 or better.

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