Villanova Wildcats (14-8) +13, 130 O/U at Georgetown Hoyas (19-3) -13, 130 O/U, Verizon Center, Washington, D.C., 7 PM Eastern, Monday
by Badger of Predictem.com
If you were to look at the overall records only, Monday nights “rivalry game” on ESPN between the No. 6-ranked Georgetown Hoyas and the Villanova Wildcats wouldnt appear to be much of a contest. But this is a classic case of a game having more meaning than whats on paper, as the two schools hook up for another huge Big East Conference tipoff at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.
One would think that the Hoyas, with the high AP ranking and all, wouldnt have much trouble with Villanova, especially at home. That is the exact opposite though, as Villanova has beaten Georgetown six straight times as a rude visitor, going a perfect 6-0 on the Verizon Center floor. In fact, the Wildcats were the last team to beat the Hoyas at home (56-52, Jan. 8th, 2007), as the Hoyas have since won 18 straight at home.
The Wildcats recent dominance over Georgetown is contrary to how their season is going as a whole. Villanova needed a 3-pointer by Dwayne Anderson in the closing seconds to give the Wildcats a slim, 72-70, victory over Seton Hall on Saturday. The win snapped a five- game losing streak for the Wildcats that saw them drop from the top to near the bottom of the Big East standings.
Georgetown meanwhile has been sitting at the top of the Big East standings all season. The Hoyas were riding a six-game winning streak until they lost at Louisville on Saturday, 59-51, just their second loss in 11 Big East games.
Oddsmakers opened the game with the Hoyas as a 13-point favorite, with an over/under total of 130. Georgetown is also a strong favorite on the moneyline at most offshore sportsbooks, as the Hoyas are listed at -1050 with Villanova listed a +790.
Georgetowns offense isnt as high-powered as you would think a top-10 team should have on the floor. With center Roy Hibert (14 pts., 4 reb., 2 blks. Vs. Louisville), the Hoyas have a strong presence inside to run plays through in their back-door, Princeton- style offensive scheme. The Hoyas weakness is outside shooting, as their 4-for-22 shooting from 3-point range in the Louisville game indicates.
Villanova isnt exactly an offensive juggernaut either. They average 75.2 points per game on the season, and their output is slightly down (72.0) since they started Big East play. The Wildcats did get a career-high 21 points from Dante Cunningham in the Seton Hall game, and Anderson performed well in his first collegiate start with 13 points and eight boards including the game-winner.
Its defense where both of these teams get notches in the win column. Georgetown sports one of the top defenses in the land, with the No.1 field goal percentage allowed (35.8) and the 4th-best scoring allowed average (56.8 ppg). The Hoyas have allowed an opponent to reach 70 points only once all season, versus the current No. 1 Memphis Tigers.
Villanova also has a good defense, when it wants to play it. During the five-game losing streak the Wildcats allowed 80.6 points per game on a whopping 50.8 percent shooting. But the Cats may have finally figured things out in their last game, as they held Seton Hall to just 28.1 percent from the floor in the second half to pull away for the narrow victory.
Its no surprise that Villanova has covered the spread during their winning streak over the Hoyas. The Wildcats have covered in eight of the last 11 meetings overall, while the underdog is also 8-3 ATS in the last 11 head-to-head meetings.
Villanova has been a cash drain for bettors though, as they have failed to cover the number in six straight games, they are 1-10 ATS in their last 11 Big East games, and are 5-16 in their last 21 games going back into last season.
Georgetown is not much better for bettors, as their 8-11 ATS record shows. The Hoyas have failed to cover in their last three games, and are just 4-7 ATS in Big East play.
Badgers Pick: Defense wins ugly games this time of the year, and thats what I expect this game to be - ugly. Despite this game featuring two suspect offenses and two quality defenses, oddsmakers are still listing a total of 130. I suggest you lock in as high a total for this game as you can and bet on a lot of bricks. Take the under of 130.