The Battle for the Big East peaks tonight as the Creighton Bluejays visit the Villanova Wildcats in an epic late-season college basketball showdown.
It looked like the Wildcats had the conference crown all locked up before a shocking loss to Butler last time out, and despite being 4.5-point underdogs, the Bluejays come into this one knowing they can win after defeating Nova 86-70 when they last met back in February.
Here are our best free No. 14 Creighton vs. No. 10 Villanova picks and predictions for NCAA hoops action on Wednesday, March 3, with tipoff at 8:30 p.m. ET.
Creighton Bluejays at Villanova Wildcats betting preview
Creighton: Devin Davis G (Out), Modestas Kancleris F (Out), Rati Andronikashvili G (Out).
Villanova: Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree F (Out).
Find our latest NCAA basketball injury reports.
Betting trend to know
Creighton is 5-1 ATS in its last six games as a road underdog, while Villanova is 1-3-1 ATS in its last five games versus a team with a winning percentage above .600. Find more NCAA betting trends for Creighton vs. Villanova.
NCAAB sharp money and line movement reportBy Patrick Everson
Villanova opened as 3-point chalk Tuesday afternoon at FanDuel, and the Wildcats stretched to -5 multiple times today. As of 7:30 p.m. ET, an hour before tipoff, the 'Cats are again at -5, with ticket count and money running 3/1 on Villanova. The total has stayed within a very small range, opening at 147, dipping to 146.5, rising to 147.5 and now sitting at the opener again. Ticket count is 3/1 and money just shy of 5/1 on the Over.Check out the full line movement for this game
Against the spread (ATS) pick
It appeared as though Villanova was going to cruise to a seventh regular-season conference title in the last eight years, but then suffered an embarrassing 73-61 defeat at the hands of Butler as 11.5-point favorites.
Now, the Wildcats lead the Bluejays by just two games in the Big East Conference with two games to go in the regular season.
The Wildcats' problem vs. Butler is what might hold them back from making a deep run this March – their defense. Nova ranks 77th in adjusted defensive efficiency in the KenPom ratings and is one of the worst teams in the country when it comes to opponent field goal and 3-point percentage.
Meanwhile, Creighton is also coming off an upset loss, dropping a 77-69 decision to Xavier as 4-point road favorites. But for the Bluejays, the loss can be attributed to an off-shooting night for leading scorer Marcus Zegarowski.
Creighton is generally a very good shooting team, ranking 27th in the country in field goal percentage and 12th in adjusted offensive efficiency. But what will make this game competitive is the Jays’ effort on the defensive end. They rank 42nd in adjusted defensive efficiency and 38th in opponent shooting percentage.
While you shouldn’t be shocked by a Villanova victory, this one has all the makings of a high-intensity back-and-forth battle. Take the points with the dog.
PREDICTION: Creighton +5 (-110)
The last time these two teams met, the total closed at 144 and they cruised over that number in Creighton’s 86-70 win back on Feb. 13. While the early money has come in on the Under, there’s reason to believe this one will go Over once again.
While the Bluejays may be the more balanced of the two teams, Villanova still has an elite offense. The Wildcats rank fifth in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency, and in the five games prior to the Butler loss, they averaged 79.8 points per game.
Mix in the Wildcats’ questionable-at-times defense, and a balanced Creighton offense that averages 78.6 points per game, and 146.5 looks low enough to attack the Over.
PREDICTION: Over 146.5 (-110)
Creighton vs Villanova betting card
- Creighton +5 (-110)
- Over 146.5 (-110)
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