Baylor vs. Villanova Betting Predictions

Baylor vs Villanova Sweet 16
Baylor vs. Villanova Betting Predictions NCAA Basketball

No. 5 seed Villanova takes on No. 1 seed Baylor Saturday in Indianapolis. The Wildcats took the NCAA crown in 2018 with coach Jay Wright, but the Bears are too strong for them to get past the Sweet 16.

Baylor vs. Villanova Betting Odds

Villanova finished the regular season at 18-6 and took down Winthrop 73-63 in their Round One win. In Second Round action, the Wildcats hit on 15 3s against North Texas, beating the Mean Green 84-61 on Sunday to advance to the Sweet 16.

The Wildcats got 18 points from Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and 15 from Jermaine Samuels Jr. in the win. In all, eight different Wildcat players hit from beyond the arc, including guard Chris Arcidiacono, playing in place of the injured Collin Gillespie. Arcidiacono’s brother Ryan was a key player on Villanova’s championship winning team of 2016.

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl leads the Wildcats in scoring (16.0 PPG) and rebounds (8.3 RPG). His ability to put up points has helped to make up for the loss of Gillespie, who suffered a sprained MCL in a March 3rd win over Creighton. Gillespie was a big part of the Wildcats offense, averaging 14.0 points and 6 assists per game this season. Gillespie has been the Wildcats starting guard for three seasons, and was a reserve on their 2018 team that won a National Championship. His absence hasn’t been a factor so far in the tournament, but I expect the WIldcats will really begin to miss his veteran leadership when they go against Baylor.

Even without Gillespie, Villanova does have enough offensive threats to keep this game close. Caleb Daniels (39.8%), Cole Slider (40.7%), and Jermaine Samuels (38.2%) are all strong shooters from 3. They’ll need to keep up those numbers against Baylor, but it will be tough going against a Bears defense that is holding teams to just over 65 points per game this season.

Baylor has won by double digits in each of their first two tournament games. They took down Hartford 79-55 in round one, forcing 24 turnovers and holding the No. 16 seed team to 24 percent shooting from the field. The Bears then got 16 points from Daviom Mitchell and beat WIsconsn 76-63 on Saturday for their win in Round Two, their 18th straight. Baylor shot 8 for 17 from 3 and committed only four turnovers enroute to their fifth Sweet 16 under coach Scott Drew.

The Bears have a lot of offensive weapons, many of them guards. Jared Butler is averaging a team-leading 16 points per game this season and is shooting 41.5 percent from 3. Davion Mitchell shot six for eight from the field (two for three from 3) in Saturday’s win, and is averaging 14.1 points per game this season while shooting 46.1 percent from 3. MaCio Teague is their second leading scorer at 16.1 points per game, and if that wasn’t enough, Adam Flagler (8 PPG) (40.1% from 3) is also a shooting threat. To put it simply, Baylor has a lot of scoring options and as a team have averaged 83.8 points per game this season.

For much of the year, the Bears were a close match statistically with undefeated Gonzaga. Baylor then had six of their nine February games canceled or postponed in February due to COVID-19 protocols. They lost to Kansas upon returning to play on 3/2, and it appeared their season had lost momentum. However, they closed the season strong, winning four of five games. They appear to be back in mid-season form, and I think the only team that can stop them is Gonazaga.

The legal sports betting sites in New Jersey have Baylor as 6.5-point favorites. Baylor is 16-10 ATS this year, and I expect them to cover. I think Jay Wright gets enough out of his offense to keep it close, but Baylor will eventually wear the Wildcats down and pull away in the second half.

There are some game parlays available for this matchup at the legal sports betting sites in New Jersey. I’m looking at Baylor and over 139 at +150 odds (Sugar House). I’m predicting an 84-70 final so I think this is a good bet. If you’re looking for a straight ahead game bet, I like Baylor over 72.5 total points at -122 odds (888Sport). The Bears only scored under that amount three times this season, and I don’t see it happening on Saturday.

Baylor Villanova
888Sport
-315 +240
Sugar House
-315 +250
FanDuel
-270 +220

My Prediction

Baylor -7.5 Points
Villanova coach Jay Wright is no stranger to big Sweet 16 games. The Wildcats are making their eighth straight tournament appearance with him at the helm and won National Championships in 2016 and 2018. But this is not their year. Baylor appears unstoppable right now and headed for a showdown with Gonzaga in the final. The Bears get the win.

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Conor Allen lives in the San Francisco Bay Area where he roots passionately for the 49ers, Warriors and the UC Berkeley Golden Bear football team. After previously spending several years in the Boston area he is also not ashamed to root for the Patriots. Conor currently writes about college basketball for UsaLegalBetting and blogs about a variety of sports, including the NFL at https://herecomestheblitz8.blogspot.com. He enjoys performing improv comedy and trail running in his spare time.

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