Villanova at Butler Betting Prediction & Pick

Posted by Peter Boysen on January 3, 2017 in

The top-ranked Villanova Wildcats (14-0) visit the #18 Butler Bulldogs on Wednesday night as Big East action continues to get underway. The Wildcats won a tough game out in Omaha on New Year’s Eve, taking down the Creighton Bluejays, 80-70, after trailing by 10 points early in the contest. Butler (12-2) knocked off Providence, 78-61, at home on New Year’s Day. Butler is spoiling for a chance to pull off the big upset against the nation’s top team.  Let’s take a look at this matchup — and then check out our online betting odds for other action going on this week.

Villanova at Butler Betting Prediction & Pick

When: Wednesday, Jan. 4, 6:30 PM ET
Where: Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indianapolis
TV: Fox Sports 1
Stream: Fox Sports Go
RadioVillanova / Butler
NCAA Basketball Odds: TBA


Why should you bet on the Wildcats?

Villanova hasn’t dominated college basketball the last two seasons by falling into traps on the road. Creighton played an up-tempo attack to open the game against Villanova on New Year’s Eve, and they rode that pace to an early double-digit lead. It took slowing down the pace for Villanova to get back into that game. However, Villanova and Butler play a similar slowly paced game, which should favor the Wildcats. Butler has knocked off some tough teams at home, but none of them have the offensive efficiency numbers that Villanova has posted so far this season. Villanova hits 60.1% of their shots inside the arc, led by Mikal Bridges inside (78.3%).  This game is likely to come down to who gets the big stop late — which favors that stifling Villanova defense. If Villanova wins, that would make two straight road wins against top-25 teams, which would continue to bolster their resume going into March as perhaps the top seed.

Why should you put your money on the Bulldogs?

Villanova has traveled to meet Butler three times since the Bulldogs entered the Big East Conference, and each matchup has been close. In 2013, Villanova won by three in overtime; in 2014, they also won by three, but it took a last-second three from Darrun Hilliard. Last year, Villanova won by five at Butler, but this is the strongest Bulldog squad that Villanova has seen. Butler has already beaten Northwestern, Indiana, Cincinnati and Arizona. They did take two bad losses, against St. John’s and Indiana State, but those were both on the road. Butler likes to play a slow tempo, but they possess the ball well — and they shoot well (56.2% inside the arc, 39.4% behind it, led by Andrew Chrabascz, who hits 46.7% from downtown). Junior Kelan Martin leads the Bulldogs with 18.1 points per game, and he also hits 84.1% from the charity stripe. If the Bulldogs can lure Villanova into a shootout, they could win a high-paced game in front of a loud, sold-out house.

Betting Pick and Final Score Prediction

This is a Butler team that should push well into the bracket in March, but I don’t see them knocking off the #1 team in the nation — not yet. I like Villanova to come out with a 77-74 win.