Wednesday’s College Basketball Betting: Butler-Marquette, Utah-Washington

Wednesday’s College Basketball Betting: Butler-Marquette, Utah-Washington article feature image

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Markus Howard

It is the “punish” portion of the college basketball season.

Teams with national championship aspirations need to win convincing games on their home court to make a statement to the NCAA Tournament committee.

We take a look at two of the top teams in the Big East and Pac-12 and see if Marquette and Washington can inch closer to that elusive conference championship and high seeding in the big dance.

Let’s examine Butler at Marquette and Utah at Washington.

>> All odds as of 9 a.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and win probabilities on your bets

Betting Odds: Butler Bulldogs at Marquette Golden Eagles

  • Spread: Marquette -5.5
  • Over/Under: 145
  • Time: 9 p.m. ET

Butler (15-11) has proven one thing this year — it’s remarkably mediocre. In conference play, the Bulldogs are 4-3 at home and 2-4 on the road. The same is true against the spread, where they are 11-13-1 overall including 3-4-1 on the road.

Marquette (21-4) is just half a game behind Villanova atop the Big East standings.  The Golden Eagles have been bolstered by a huge advantage at the new Fiserv Forum to a 15-1 home court record. They already enjoyed a huge win 76-58 on the road at Butler on Jan. 30.

Beyond the arc, Butler has struggled on the road. In their last three road games, the Bulldogs are shooting just 28.4% (23 of 81) from deep. They also possess the worst free throw percentage within the conference at 70.4%.

Marquette has been dominant at home and shut down the Bulldogs in Hinkle Fieldhouse. The Golden Eagles held Butler to 40% from 2P and 23% from beyond the arc. They also scored at will on offense and shot 50% (8 of 16) from 3P.

Marquette has everything to play for in this game and already has the blueprint on how to beat Butler. The Golden Eagles rank first in Big East play in 3P% and free throw percentage, while ranking second in effective field goal percentage.

Take the home team and give the points in an important win for Marquette’s regular season title aspirations.

THE PICK: Marquette -5.5

Utah Utes at Washington Huskies

  • Spread: Washington -8.5
  • Over/Under: 144
  • Time: 11 p.m. ET
  • TV: FS1

Utah (14-11) has played much better of late, winning three of its past four games. The Utes are 8-5 in the Pac-12 and have surprisingly won five of their six road conference games. They lost at home 69-53 to Washington on Jan. 10.

Washington (20-5) is the best team in the Pac-12 by a wide margin. They are currently 11-1 in conference with a three-game lead over Oregon State. The Huskies are a perfect 12-0 at home and 14-9-1 overall ATS.

This is simply a bad matchup for Utah. It faces a Washington team that ranks first within conference play in the following statistics:  adjusted defensive efficiency, effective field goal percentage, turnovers forced, 3-point percentage allowed, blocks per game, and steals per game. The Huskies’ only defensive weakness in allowing offensive rebounds, which Utah ranks middle of the pack during conference play.

Even worse? The Utes are only shooting 67.5% from the free throw line in conference play.

In the first matchup, Utah leading scorer Sedrick Barefield (16.2 ppg) had one of his worst performances of the season. The senior guard was only 2 of 10 from the field and scored six total points.

Washington has been great in Pac-12 play in 3-point percentage. The Huskies rank second (39.8%) from beyond the arc, shooting 41% (9 of 22) in their win at Utah.

The Huskies return home after a three-game road trip and have the Pac-12 title in sight. Senior forward Noah Dickerson (13.1 ppg, 6.8 rpg) is playing his best basketball of the season and is coming off an 18-point, 10-rebound performance at Washington State.

Washington is undefeated at home, so the choice is whether they will cover the 8.5 point spread.  With their zone defense, a huge home court advantage, and an efficient scoring performance already against Utah’s 270th ranked defense, the Huskies will enjoy a comfortable home win.

THE PICK: Washington -8.5