Wednesday College Basketball Odds & Picks: Seton Hall vs. Butler, Arkansas vs. Vanderbilt
Wesley Hitt-Getty Images. Pictured: Eric Musselman and Mason Jones
With ranked teams continuing to drop like flies, it’s an excellent time to give the dogs a closer look.
Seton Hall is playing much better and the points Butler is giving may be too many. For a wounded Vanderbilt team heading south, it appears the Commodores can’t get enough help from oddsmakers.
Here’s how I’m playing Seton Hall-Butler and Vandy-Arkansas.
Wednesday College Basketball Odds & Picks
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Seton Hall at Butler
- Spread: Butler -4.5
- Over/Under: 125.5
- Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
- TV: FS1
Since Myles Powell’s return from injury on Dec. 30, the senior shooting guard from Trenton has been an offensive catalyst for Seton Hall. During this recent winning streak, the Pirates have defeated four consecutive conference opponents by an average margin of 14.4 points per game.
Powell has played his part and then some, averaging 22 points per game across those four contests. His efficiency numbers could be better, but that just speaks to his ceiling being even higher.
He has a tendency to fall in love with the 3-point shot, for better or worse. If they do start falling, however, the Pirates offense will take that final step forward into an elite national tier.
What’s truly impressive in Kevin Willard’s 10th year in South Orange is the defensive progress Seton Hall has made. Opponents have been wholly unable to find their groove shooting against SHU with a 43.6% effective field goal percentage, 19th best in the country.
Butler has absolutely earned its lofty ranking this season, knocking off the likes of Minnesota, Florida, and Purdue. The Bulldogs’ resume even includes an impressive one-point loss to Baylor, their lone defeat all season.
For all the positivity, Butler’s play does offer gamblers an opportunity to fade in the form of their glacial tempo. Only five teams average fewer possessions per game than the Bulldogs, who check in at 65.5 per game. Butler amplifies the importance of each defensive possession and limits teams on the offensive glass (6.6, 18th).
Despite the Bulldogs’ defensive and rebounding prowess, their pace nearly led to upsets by St. John’s and Stanford this season. Riding the hot hand of Myles Powell with the points seems to be the favorable play in what should be a game played in the low 60s.
Pick: Seton Hall +5.5
Vanderbilt at Arkansas
- Spread: Arkansas -13.5
- Over/Under: 145.5
- Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
- TV: SECN
Bud Walton Arena has played host to the Razorbacks since 1993. The Nolan Richardson years solidified the venue as a tough place to play.
Since 2005, Arkansas is 116-96-2 ATS (54.7%) at home. But when you double click into that statistic, Arkansas has struggled mightily as a significant home favorite (-8 or higher) as of late. The Hogs are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 as a double-digit favorite over an SEC opponent.
This was all trending in Vandy’s favor until it was confirmed that Aaron Nesmith would be on the shelf for a significant amount of time. The stress fracture in his foot is a massive blow for Jerry Stackhouse’s team, who has been relying upon him in a multitude of ways. Without Nesmith as an offensive engine, the ‘Dores were crushed by Texas A&M 69-50 in their last game.
If Vanderbilt is hoping the 3-point shot will serve as an equalizer in this spot, they’re in for some bad news. Arkansas opponents make just 22.7% of their long-range attempts, which is the lowest percentage in the entire country.
Teams become so disillusioned with the three that they stop attempting them all together. On average, teams attempt just 17.3 (18th) per night and connect on 3.9 (2nd).
When you combine the inspired play of Arkansas’ backcourt, the personnel news on the Vandy side, and the unlikelihood of a flukey shooting night from three leveling the playing field, this game has gone from a pass to a play for me.
Pick: Arkansas -13.5