Villanova seems like one of the easiest wagers of the day heading into the January 25th college basketball free pick – but that’s usually not a good thing. The Wildcats have won five straight and 10 of their last 11, yet are just a -1.5 favorite at Providence on Saturday.
The Friars meanwhile have dropped two in a row and 3 of 4, not to mention losing 9 of the last 10 in this head-to-head series. Is it ????Hammer Time???? on the Wildcats, or time to explore how Providence can pull this one off?
Villanova Streaking in the Right Direction
The Wildcats are on a roll heading into the January 25th college basketball free pick having won 10 of their last 11 games. That includes a very impressive 76-61 win over 16-4 Butler on Tuesday where Villanova was a -3.5 home favorite.
‘Nova’s win over Butler last time out showed that they had great depth. Five different players scored over a dozen points led by 20 from Jermaine Samuels. Butler has the 9th best defense in the country as well. That bodes well for Villanova’s offense heading into Saturday’s tilt with Providence, who has allowed 73+ points in consecutive games.
Is this game being held in Rhode Island the only reason Jay Wright’s team isn’t favored by more here? Sure Providence is an impressive 8-2 at Dunkin’ Donuts Center this season, but they’ve lost to Butler by 12 as +1.5 underdogs and struggled to a 63-58 win over last place St. John’s the last two. Villanova won last year’s meeting in Providence 65-59, part of a 3-0 record vs. the Friars last season.
Can Providence Find their Offense Saturday?
Not only does Villanova have a plethora of scoring options, they also have a stifling defense that has held opponents to under 64 ppg during their five game win streak. Providence shot a lowly 4-24 from three point range in a 64-73 loss at Seton Hall on Wednesday and also struggled with just 63 points against St. John’s, who is 1-6 in the Big East. Providence shot 4-17 from downtown in that game.
Providence’s best chance at the upset on Saturday is another solid outing from rising star David Duke who erupted for 36 points last week in a 2-point loss at Creighton. Between Duke and Alpha Diallo who is averaging 15.3 ppg the last four, Providence at least has the upside to keep this one close.
January 25th College Basketball Free Pick
Oddsmakers simply don’t give free ones away like 15-3 Villanova being just a -1.5 favorite. Over 70% of the public like ‘Nova yet the line has moved the opposite direction by a half point, opening at +2. The Wildcats have played the last four in a row at home and haven’t traveled in over two weeks which is maybe where their weakness lies. Not sure how, but the line says Providence pulls it off.
Pick: Providence Friars +1.5