Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#615 UConn 135 vs.
#616 Villanova -9.5
Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 12:00pm EST
Written by Adam Rauzino

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#615 University of Connecticut
#616 Villanova University
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The #14 Villanova Wildcats will host the Connecticut Huskies in an inter-conference showdown Saturday afternoon from the Wells Fargo Center. The Huskies came up short in an 89-86 overtime home loss to Wichita State in their previous game, and the Wildcats outlasted DePaul for a 79-75 overtime win last time out. Villanova posted a dominating 81-58 home win against UConn last season.

UConn Looks to Avoid Fourth Loss in Last Five Games

The UConn Huskies head into this tough matchup a loser of three out of their last four games overall. They are coming off a tough 89-86 overtime home loss to #23 Wichita State to fall to 1-2 in conference play. The Huskies are a team that relies on their defense to win games and their shooting has been suspect.

Christian Vital netted 23 points in the overtime loss to Wichita State. The senior guard has surpassed 20 points three times this season and owns an average of 14.3 PPG and 6.8 RPG. Josh Carlton is having trouble offensively, shooting 30% or lower in three out of his last four games. The junior center is coming off a double-double and he is averaging 9.9 PPG and 6.9 RPG. James Bouknight tallied 16 points in his latest game. The freshman guard is having an encouraging season in his first DI action, posting 9.8 points on a stellar 49.5% shooting percentage.

The Huskies are positioned 80th in DI in Ken Pomeroy’s college basketball ratings and own an 0-2 record in their two true road games. UConn is averaging 72.3 points on the season, ranking them 157th in the country. They are holding opponents to 64.8 points, placing them 78th overall.

#14 Villanova Topples DePaul, Seeks Fourth Straight Victory

The #14 Villanova Wildcats step outside of Big East play for this one. They enter this contest feeling good, winning three straight games highlighted by strong defensive play. The Wildcats did not cover the nine-point spread in a 79-75 home win against DePaul on Tuesday night.

Look out for Saddiq Bey in this game. The sophomore forward is hot, sinking a combined 12 three’s in his last two games which included 33 points against Georgetown. Bey features an average of 15.4 PPG on 51% shooting. Collin Gillespie is also in a groove, reaching 20 points in two out of his last three games. The junior guard has lifted his season average to 15.7 PPG on 41.8% shooting. Justin Moore is slumping, shooting below 24% in three straight games. The freshman guard stands third in team scoring with 10.9 PPG.

The Wildcats have climbed two positions to #14 in this week’s AP top rankings and will likely improve their ranking with another win here. Ken Pomeroy has Villanova placed 26th in his ratings. The Wildcats have yet to lose at home where they are sporting an 8-0 record, and they are averaging 75.7 points, ranking them 86th in DI. They are limiting opponents to 67.6 points, placing them 145th overall.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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I am taking the points with Connecticut in this matchup. UConn was very competitive in a narrow three-point loss to #23 Wichita State in their previous game. The Huskies feature a great defense which I expect to keep them in this game. Villanova’s defense has been an issue at times. Opponents are shooting over 44% against the Wildcats this season which places them down at 260th overall in field goal defense.

Furthermore, Villanova has been inconsistent from an offensive standpoint and have only averaged 70 points in their last five games overall.  The Huskies are limiting opponents to 39.8% shooting from the field and Villanova will have a challenge offensively in this one.

Prediction: Connecticut Huskies

Full-Game Total Pick

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Points should be at a premium in this clash. The Huskies lean on their defense to win games and they are tough to solve from three-point range. They are holding opponents to 30% shooting from beyond the arc which is significant as Villanova is a threat from deep. The under is also 8-3 in the Huskies’ last 11 games overall.

In addition, Villanova prefers to slow the game down. They are only averaging 70.8 possessions which ranks them 2221st in DI. UConn is not a high scoring team and has netted 67 or fewer points in three out of their last four games. The under is 5-1 in Villanova’s last six games overall.

Prediction: Under

Full-Game Prop Bet

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I expect the Huskies to contain the Wildcats scoring in this clash and a play on their team total offered on PointsBet is worth a look. Villanova has shot 43% or lower in three out of their last four games overall. Moreover, they have not fared well against the stronger defensive teams. The Wildcats only scored 64 points against Creighton and 60 against Marquette all within their last four games.

Prediction: Villanova Team Total Under

Half-Time Total Bet

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I am sticking with the under on the halftime total. Villanova is holding opponents to only 27.1 points in the first half on their home floor this season. Also, the Wildcats have cooled off in the opening half where they have only averaged 31 points in their last three games overall.

Prediction: Under
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Written By Adam Rauzino

Adam has been a sports fanatic his entire life, closely following hockey, baseball, basketball and football. Adam enjoys analyzing various stats, as well as studying Sabermetrics and analytics to take his picks to a whole new level. Adam has a passion for writing about various sports as well as personal finance and has brought his talents to us here at Winners and Whiners. He graduated with a diploma in business marketing and business finance.