The Saint Joseph’s Hawks visit the Villanova Wildcats on Saturday night, as both teams open their Atlantic 10 Conference play. The hosts are massive favorites on BetAmerica, so I’ve prepared the best betting pick and tips for Saturday’s clash at Finneran Pavilion in Villanova, Pennsylvania.
The Wildcats enter this game as No. 7 in the AP Top 25 Poll, searching for their ninth consecutive win over the Saint Joseph’s. The Hawks, on the other side, hope to upset the odds and grab their first victory in Villanova since 2004.
Saint Joseph’s Hawks continue their road trip
The 0-3 Saint Joseph’s Hawks haven’t played at home thus far, suffering a couple of losses at the neutral site along with an 81-77 defeat at the Drexel Dragons this past Thursday. The Hawks failed to cover a 1.5-point spread as a road dog and are 0-8 straight up and 1-5-2 ATS in their last eight road tilts.
Despite their winless record, the Hawks are No. 162 in the KenPom rankings. Saint Joseph’s is scoring 102.6 points per 100 possessions (116th in the country), but the Hawks have been awful defensively, allowing 103.1 points per 100 possessions (245th).
Senior guard Ryan Daly is topping the Hawks’ scoring chart with 20.7 points per game. He’s arguably the Hawks’ best player, and last season, Daly was posting 20.5 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per contest.
Keep your eyes on Taylor Funk, too. Junior forward is tallying 16.3 points and 7.0 boards a night while making 60.0% of his field goals.
Villanova seems keen to extend its dominance over the Hawks
After an 81-73 defeat to Virginia Tech on November 28, the Villanova Wildcats have won four straight games. They are coming off an 85-66 home victory over the Butler Bulldogs this past Wednesday, covering a 12.5-point spread and improving to 6-1 on the young season.
The Wildcats are No. 3 in the KenPom rankings, right behind Gonzaga and Baylor. Villanova scores 116.3 points per 100 possessions (4th in the country) on 46.9% shooting from the field (95th) and 37.4% from downtown (71st). On the other side, the Wildcats allow 90.5 points in a return (32nd) on 44.6% shooting from the field (236th) and 35.7% from deep (245th).
Villanova mostly uses eight players in its rotation, and four guys average points in double figures. Senior guard Collin Gillespie has 15.6 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game, while sophomore forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl adds 15.4 points and 7.7 rebounds a night.
- 0-4 ATS in the last four road games against Villanova
- 1-6 ATS in the last seven games overall
- 7-1 ATS in the last eight games against Saint Joseph’s
- 4-0 ATS in the last four games overall
The Winner Prediction
Villanova is a much better team than Saint Joseph’s, and the Wildcats have to show their strength in games like this one if they want to improve in the AP Top 25 Poll. Therefore, I’m taking the hosts to cover a massive spread.
The Wildcats have covered in four straight outings and are 7-1 ATS in their previous eight matchups with the Hawks. The hosts have been playing in a good form lately, so I expect to see more of the same when they start their conference play.
Pick: Take Villanova -21.5 at -110
The under is 13-4 in the last 17 meetings between the Hawks and Wildcats, but the over has hit in the Hawks’ previous seven outings. Saint Joseph’s loves to play at a furious pace, averaging a whopping 75.5 possessions per 40 minutes (13th in the country), while Villanova tallies only 65.9 possessions per 40 minutes (350th).
This is a tough wager, as the Wildcats will dominate the Hawks defensively, but the hosts won’t mind to speed up their tempo in this matchup. I’m taking the over, hoping for a good shooting night by the Hawks, while their poor defense will certainly allow a bunch of baskets to the Wildcats’ prolific offense.
Pick: Go over 151.5 points at -110